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.