Helping you achieve BREEAM

BREEAM is the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Environmental Assessment Method first launched in the UK in 1990. It sets best practice standards for the environmental performance of buildings through design, specification, construction and operation.

BREEAM is a measure which assures that the required standard of best practice is adopted for the building. It produces a score against nine criteria:


Land use and ecology.


Health and well-being.






Each of the criteria is scored and then multiplied by a weighting. There are minimum thresholds that must be achieved, and additions can be made for specific innovations. The resulting overall score is translated into BREEAM rating. BREEAM ratings include; unclassified, pass, good, very good, excellent and outstanding.

BREEAM’s initial focus is on newly constructed buildings, but the standard has developed further to include BREEAM In-Use which is focused on improving energy efficiency and sustainability of already existing buildings. The BREEAM In-Use scheme could help a client with the management and performance of the building once it is completed.

The BREEAM In-Use is available online and is reviewed annually to account for any improvements made on a single asset or a portfolio of assets. It benefits investors, owners, landlords, facilities managers and occupiers by:

reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency

enhancing asset value and increasing market demand

helping to attract tenants and occupiers

improving the wellbeing, productivity and satisfaction of people working in the building

helping bridge the ‘performance gap’ between modelled outputs and operational outputs

providing independent third party certification of a building’s sustainability

contributing to corporate social responsibility, business reporting and sustainable business leadership.

Additionally, BREEAM In-Use has a people element where users are rewarded for implementing policies, systems and procedures that encourage optimum use and management of the building.

Whilst BREEAM dominates the UK market, alternative methods of environmental assessment include; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the USA, Greenstar in Australia, HQE in France and CASBEE in Japan.



UK Government approves Hinkley Nuclear Power Station

The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been approved by Government today. The UK’s first nuclear plant for 20 years will be allowed to go ahead, but with new requirements on its owner, EDF. Ministers have also decided to impose ‘significant new safeguards’ for foreign investment in nuclear energy which will apply after Hinkley.

The revised agreement with EDF includes:

The Government being able to prevent EDF Energy from selling a controlling stake after Hinkley is complete, without prior notification

The Government being able to intervene in the sale once it is operational

Meanwhile, a new legal framework for future nuclear energy projects will mean that, after Hinkley, the Government will take a ‘special share’ in all future nuclear new build projects

Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Greg Clark said:

“Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the Government’s agreement. Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.”

The contracts for Difference for EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C power stations would provide a set inflation-linked price of £92.50 (2011/12 price) per megawatt hour for 35 years once the plant begins operating. When the wholesale price is below the agreed strike price the difference is paid to the generator, with the cost passed on to consumers.



Is there a Hinkley Point?

Utilitywise’s Strategy and Innovation director Jon Ferris has stated that “the UK could offset more than the expected output from Hinkley Point C by talking all the opportunities to save energy identified due to Esos, and at a much lower cost”. The Esos savings identified are not the end of the whole story but if we just take these it would save nearly 30TWh annually, or 10% of current UK electricity demand. So as ever energy efficiency, sometimes called the fifth fuel, makes a compelling case for serious consideration.