BREEAM assessments help meet sustainability targets, but did you know they can have a significant positive impact on staff productivity and operational costs?
Created by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in 1990, the standard is an important consideration for new buildings and refurbishment projects. The design, construction and operation of a building is assessed against sustainability targets, with factors including carbon emissions reduction and adaption to climate change.
BREEAM, or the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, is used in more than 70 countries and over half a million certificates have been issued. Categories and the challenges they address include:
- Energy – More efficient systems and equipment make a significant contribution to sustainable operation
- Health and wellbeing – Assessing the safety of the environment helps enhance quality of life for occupants
- Pollution – Proper prevention and control of pollutants reduces a building’s impact on the local community
Costs and benefits
361 Degrees works closely with customers who want to bring their buildings and systems up to BREEAM standards, from installing heating and air conditioning equipment that supports a high rating to advising on the most efficient approach.
This not only demonstrates a commitment to sustainability, but also has a significant effect on profit margins and staff productivity. Sweett Group, a construction consultant, and BRE found office developers typically invest 2% more in pursuit of the highest BREEAM ratings. But the subsequent energy and water bill savings mean it takes less than five years to recover that cost.
As for the benefits for staff, the World Green Building Council says indoor air quality improvements can boost productivity by around 10%. There are many ways to achieve such improvements, but BREEAM standards focus on air quality and good lighting. As a result, comfort and satisfaction is notably higher in certified buildings.
The Future of BREEAM
Landlords and developers are increasingly realising the importance of sustainability certificates, as regulations demand adherence to certain standards. Failing to reach these targets will ultimately affect the value of properties, making them more difficult to let or sell.
Occupant wellbeing is also likely to become more important to BREEAM in the future, particularly in the wake of a partnership with the WELL Building Standard. Administered by the International WELL Building Institute, the standard focuses on improvements in human health.
Documents relevant to both BREEAM and WELL will only need to be submitted once, and BRE described human health and wellbeing as “the most important and fragile component of the ecosystem of the building”. It added: “It is important that not only does BREEAM evolve, respond and learn from new research, but it also listens to the need of the market.”