BREEAM: Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method
Topic of the practice
Standard for sustainable construction & environmental assessment method for larger construction projects
Good Practice Information
BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is, according to BRE, ‘the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a building's environmental performance’. It is a robust tool which deals primarily with non-domestic buildings of surfaces larger than 10,000m2.
The objectives of BREEAM are:
• To mitigate the impact of buildings on the environment;
• To enable buildings to be recognised according to their environmental benefits;
• To provide a credible, environmental label for buildings;
• To stimulate the demand for sustainable buildings;
• A standard that demonstrates progress towards corporate and organisational environmental objectives.
BREEAM addresses wide-ranging environmental and sustainability issues. It uses a scoring system that is transparent and easy to understand and influences design at the initial stages of the development. It considers the construction and management of buildings as well as sets and maintains a robust technical standard for all aspects of sustainable construction.
The assessment method was first proposed 2002, when UK proposed the programme for Sustainable Communities. It has been in use all over the UK since 2005 and has been adopted in many countries all over the world.
BREEAM buildings can be used to assess the environmental performance of any type of building (new and existing). Standard versions exist for common building types, less common building types can be assessed against tailored criteria under the Bespoke BREEAM version. The Bespoke tools include BREEAM Multi-Residential (halls of residence, sheltered housing, hostels etc.), BREEAM Offices (new buildings or refurbishments), BREEAM Retail (shopping centres, etc), BREEAM Education, BREEAM Prisons and many others. The following aspects of sustainable construction and eco/environmental considerations are assessed: (1) energy, (2) water, (3) transport, (4) land use and ecology, (5) pollution, (6) health and wellbeing, (7) materials, (8) management, (9) waste.
The good practice is fully transferable; supporting the FRESH good practice ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ in a comprehensive sense. BREEAM provides a platform for best practice in all facets of sustainable construction, particularly for major projects.
Evidence of success
The standard is internationally recognised as a robust approach to sustainable practices in construction as well as to buildings in use. BREEAM was the winner of the 'Best Program' Award at the 2005 Tokyo World Sustainable Building Conference as “the most successfully executed program for promoting sustainable practices, and influencing other initiatives, worldwide”. A significant proportion of the developments have achieved ‘Excellent’ or ‘Outstanding’ ratings. In addition, there is a good correlation between the pre-development and post-development ratings.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Dr. William Gaughran
University of Limerick
Annex completed on: 03-23-2011