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BREEAM - Environmental Performance

The Building Research Establishment (BRE)’s Environmental Assessment Method is a means of determining the environmental performance of any type of building, of any age, anywhere in the world. It is an internationally recognised process for assessing the credentials of a building against a variety of established environmental and sustainability benchmarks.

Environmental performance is not just related to heat loss and energy use, although that does have a significant influence in the calculation method. Credits are awarded in a number of categories, each of which is given a different weighting:

  • Energy (19% weighting)
  • Health & wellbeing (15%)
  • Materials (12.5%)
  • Management (12%)
  • Land use and ecology (10%)
  • Pollution (10%)
  • Transport (8%)
  • Waste (7.5%)
  • Water (6%)
  • Innovation (additional credits required)

Assessments are carried out by accredited assessors or auditors.

Credits for each section are multiplied by the relevant weighting to give section scores, which are then added together for an overall BREEAM score. Based on that score, the final rating is awarded: Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent or Outstanding.

In the UK, BREEAM offers a variety of schemes of different forms of construction:

  • BREEAM New Construction, for new non-domestic buildings
  • BREEAM Communities, for the masterplanning of communities
  • BREEAM In-Use, for the assessment of an existing building
  • BREEAM Refurbishment, for refurbishment and renovation
  • For the design and construction of new domestic buildings, the Code of Sustainable Homes provides a framework for assesment.

The BRE in Watford began developing BREEAM in the late 1980s, with the first version released in 1990 to assess new office buildings. Over a quarter of a million buildings have since been certified, and development of the method has been ongoing throughout. The aim with BREEAM New Construction in 2014 is to improve and evolve the scheme both technically and structurally, avoiding fundamental changes.