Sustainability has never been more important than it is today, which is why an environmental assessment is required at every stage of a building project. In many situations, local authorities are now requiring that sustainability assessments be completed, so it’s critical to understand how they’re done.
The BREEAM certification is the most thorough environmental assessment. In this post, we’ll explain what BREEAM certification is, how buildings are evaluated for sustainability, and how your project may get a ‘BREEAM excellent rating.
What Is the BREEAM Certification System?
The BREEAM rating system was created to provide an indication of a building’s environmental performance, taking into account key elements such as energy usage, construction materials, and environmental impact. The BREEAM rating system is an independent third-party assessment that may be used on individual structures, construction and infrastructure projects, as well as broader communities.
The ‘BREEAM’ rating system was first established in the United Kingdom in the 1990s and stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. Although it was initially a voluntary assessment, local government authorities and councils now frequently utilize the process to assess a building project’s overall sustainability.
The BREEAM rating system has become the most prominent international rating system since its inception. The desire for an Excellent BREEAM accreditation is high, showing that a building project has been planned and implemented in such a manner that it causes the least amount of environmental harm. This not only aids architects and builders in gaining building permits, but it also contributes to the world in a beneficial way.
An Excellent BREEAM score is the highest possible grade, which may be obtained by scoring 85% or more. The pass mark for accreditation is 85 per cent. A structure will be unclassified if it receives a score below 30.
How Are Buildings Rated Through BREEAM?
BREEAM is an independent sustainability indicator, and this means that a structure may only be evaluated by a qualified and impartial BREEAM Assessor. This ensures that BREEAM’s demanding requirements are met while also establishing the measure with an internationally recognized level of integrity. A building’s two separate evaluations are generally completed by an independent BREEAM Assessor.
The first stage of assessment is carried out during the Design Stage of a construction project, and a certain level of accreditation may be necessary for planning applications to be approved. The second stage of evaluation takes place after the structure has been completed, providing a final measure of sustainability as well as areas for future improvement. In order to calculate a final BREEAM accreditation score, a BREEAM Assessor focuses on ten distinct aspects of sustainability throughout both stages.
BREEAM assessment has energy efficiency as a criterion. This entails assessing which energy sources will be utilized over the building’s lifetime, how much energy will be wasted,
and how energy efficiency may be enhanced. A BREEAM assessor will also consider how much carbon emissions a facility is expected to generate and ways to reduce them.
The management of a project is critical, and BREEAM examines how management teams approach sustainability objectives. At every stage of the process, from design through to completion, BREEAM assesses management policies in relation to the environment and best sustainability practices.
The amount of water required to construct and operate a building while it is in use is taken into account by BREEAM accreditation. The quantity of water needed to build a structure and the quantity of water required to keep it operational throughout its usage are both factored into this score. Water management strategies, as well as overall water consumption and waste, are all evaluated by BREEAM.
The amount of waste to be generated as a result of the construction project is assessed by BREEAM Assessors. This includes the waste output during the construction process and the waste that will likely be produced after it is finished. The aim in mind is to minimize trash as much as feasible, which is why projects are graded according to how successful they are in doing so.
A project should minimize the number of pollutants it outputs into the environment. The BREEAM accreditation method measures the total amount of pollutants that development will produce during its existence, with the aim of reducing pollution and, if feasible, eliminating any potential for pollution.
Health and Wellbeing
The BREEAM evaluation takes into account the health and well-being of those who will reside or work in a structure, as well as their physical attributes. Important categories in this category include health and safety, emergency procedures, ventilation, and light levels.
BREEAM assesses the sustainability of materials used in a structure’s construction and any future maintenance materials. The goal is to encourage sustainable design, and this includes consideration of the type and source of materials utilized as well as how they are employed.
BREEAM certification assesses how a project is linked to sustainable modes of transport. The goal is to stimulate integration into present public transportation systems, which will result in lower carbon emissions and more sustainable development.
BREEAM examines the influence of a project on surrounding land to ensure that development is sustainable. This category examines whether a site is a brownfield or greenfield, as well as the effects that a project would have on existing animal habitats and biodiversity.
The last category for evaluation is innovation. This broad area looks at how a project goes beyond the norm in order to stay sustainable. BREEAM Assessors will examine innovative new designs and systems that are being utilized and developed to improve the overall sustainability of a building or community in this category.
What Is BREEAM Excellent?
BREEAM Excellent is one of the most prestigious ratings that a structure or project may obtain through the grading system. A BREEAM Excellent certification is one of the best standards to aim for, demonstrating that a project is sustainable and environmentally friendly in design and operation.
According to LEED-NC, only about 10% of inspections earn the coveted Excellent designation. Although Outstanding is a higher criterion than Excellent, it’s considerably more difficult to achieve. According to BRE, just 0.9 per cent of projects attain this status, which is reserved for industry innovators.
How Do You Achieve BREEAM Excellent?
The most coveted accreditation is BREEAM Excellent. To obtain Excellent certification, you must first engage a BREEAM Assessor to oversee your application. A BREEAM Assessor will hold the necessary skills, knowledge, and license to certify your building or project under the BREEAM accreditation scheme.
To be rated BREEAM Excellent, an application must earn at least a 70 per cent grade. The percentage is calculated from the total number of credits assigned to a structure. Each of the numerous categories, such as waste or water, has its own set of potential points. The overall grade is obtained by adding up all of the credit totals across all categories.
To achieve BREEAM Excellent, a building must demonstrate its sustainability credentials across the entire range of categories, not just in one single area. However, certain categories are given higher weightings than others and this is based on what is deemed to be most essential in terms of sustainability. This weighting can vary depending on whether a building is residential or commercial
The most important areas of the BREEAM assessment to focus on for a BREEAMExcellent certification are:
The most important weighting in the BREEAM accreditation evaluation is energy. The percentage of points given to the energy category ranges from 22.5% to 35%. Energy efficiency is needed for Building Regulations approval, therefore it should be prioritized at the outset of design. To receive the maximum number of energy points, a structure must demonstrate that it is reducing its energy output and, as a result, its carbon footprint through the use of conservation methods.
The quality of your home is measured in terms of its energy efficiency, which includes the use of renewable energy such as solar PV and energy-saving methods such as insulation.
Incorporate Sustainable Materials into the Design
The materials used in a construction project, as well as the labour hours, account for a significant portion of credits. It is critical that a structure’s design incorporates environmentally friendly materials.
The materials utilized in the building’s construction will be assessed first. Recycled goods and materials that may be recycled again in the future earn you more points. The use of long-lasting and non-polluting materials is considered to have an extra sustainability benefit.
The assessor will examine where the materials came from, how carbon-intensive they are, and whether they’re local.
Innovation Is Key
Innovation credits will be required to achieve BREEAM Excellent. Innovation accounts for 10% of the available points, and it may make a big difference between Excellent and Outstanding. Innovation is a subjective term, but unique designs will be rewarded.
BREEAM is a method for assessing the environmental performance of buildings that we have been using for 16 years. Our qualified team of consultants has the competence and knowledge to guarantee that projects satisfy their sustainability criteria.
Our environmental managers work to identify areas for improvement and collaborate with design teams on a variety of projects in order to ensure that the environmental impact of their operations is as little as possible.