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Tim Bevan Centre for Sustainable Construction Using BREEAM to Assess the Environmental Performance of Buildings Introduction What is BREEAM? Drivers and users of the scheme Key benefits to the users Questions What is BREEAM? BRE Environmental Assessment Method

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Tim Bevan

Centre for Sustainable Construction

Using BREEAM to Assess the Environmental Performance of Buildings

  • What is BREEAM?
  • Drivers and users of the scheme
  • Key benefits to the users
  • Questions
what is breeam
What is BREEAM?
  • BRE Environmental Assessment Method
  • Benchmarks and checklists of performance
  • Positive credits - motivational and practical
  • Developed in partnership with commerce and industry
  • Progressively evolving and improving

BREEAM aims to;

  • Reduce the environmental impact of construction and building operation.
  • Recognise best practice.
  • Highlight the economic benefits to stakeholders and clients.
  • Provide comprehensive method of measuring and monitoring environmental performance.
  • Consider all areas of ‘Sustainability’ i.e. Economic, Environmental and Social.
keeping ahead of legislation

High Quality Sector



Regulatory minimum

Keeping Ahead of Legislation

UK Building Stock

Environmental performance


Different Stages of BREEAM

All BREEAM versions:

  • Applicable to new buildings at design stage.

BREEAM Offices & Retail version:

  • Applicable to unoccupied existing buildings.
  • Applicable to occupied existing buildings.
breeam criteria
BREEAM criteria
  • BREEAM provides a set of predefined criteria
  • Many of the criteria set specific performance targets
  • Others are more subjective and harder to quantify
  • Does not cover every possible design solution
environmental issues
Environmental Issues
  • Global Warming
  • Fossil Fuel Depletion
  • Ozone Depletion
  • Transport Congestion
  • Air Pollution
  • Waste Generation
  • Water Extraction
  • Acid Rain
  • Water Pollution
  • Mineral Extraction
  • First version developed in 1990
  • 1/90 New Offices
  • 2/91 New Superstores and Supermarkets
  • 3/91 New Homes
  • 4/93 Existing Offices
  • 5/93 New Industrial Units
  • Environmental Standard

Current Versions


BREEAM for Offices



NEAT (hospitals)

under development
Under development



future development
Future Development

Leisure facilities

Higher Education

EU energy directive

key drivers for using breeam
Key Drivers for using BREEAM
  • Demonstrate the sustainability credentials to planning authorities, investors and customers.
  • Reduced energy and other running costs.
  • Improved staff productivity.
  • Making buildings more lettable and potentially higher rental incomes.
  • Making buildings more attractive to potential customers or tenants.
  • Pre-empt legislation.
  • Setting targets for improvement.
  • Improved image & ethical investment policies
breeam users
  • Government – Property Construction Panel.
    • Prisons, job and pension centres, MOD, NHS, Local Authorities.
  • Non-Departmental Public Body
    • Housing Corporation
    • English Partnerships
  • Commercial developers
    • Land Securities
    • Grosvenor
  • Architects, M&E engineers, Directors of Estates.
how breeam is used by clients
How BREEAM is used by clients
  • Product labelling
  • As a specification tool
  • As a design tool
  • As a measurement tool within EMS
benefits to users building occupiers
Benefits to users: Building Occupiers
  • Improved environment; increase in building users productivity.
  • Reduced operating costs; climate change levy, energy, water and maintenance costs.
  • Increased flexibility.
improved environment
Improved environment
  • Indoor air quality
  • Control of thermal environment
  • Natural daylight levels and glare control
  • Control of artificial lighting
  • Degree of occupant control over ventilation, temperature and lighting
  • General ambience and aesthetic environment
  • Availability of transport for commuting, business and leisure use
  • Acoustic environment
  • Scale of working spaces, which can effect degree of ownership
  • Social meeting areas, rooms and other amenities
reduced operating costs
Reduced Operating Costs
  • Design of the building form and fabric to minimise system loads through use of daylighting, avoidance of unwanted solar gain.
  • Control of heat and ventilation losses
  • Avoidance of air-conditioning.
  • Provision of occupier control over temperature and ventilation
  • Interlocking between potentially conflicting systems such as heating and cooling.
  • Specification of efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems.
  • Zoning of heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting systems to take account of building orientation, daylighting potential, space.
  • Ease of monitoring of energy and water costs through the provision of sub-meters to key plant and systems.
increased flexibility
Increased flexibility
  • Careful zoning and adaptability of the basic services within a building to allow for changes in use patterns, and therefore loads.
  • Variable scales of floor plates to accommodate differing occupier demands.
  • Avoiding the need for inflexible internal load-bearing walls
  • Open-plan spaces, allowing lots of air and natural light whilst maintaining privacy and quiet working space.
  • Careful design of the acoustic environment to control background noise levels.
  • at a later date to allow for subletting or expansion into other areas.
benefits to users developers
Benefits to users; developers

1) Lower costs

2) Improved image

3) Fewer construction defects

financial costs vs environmental benefit
Financial costs vs. Environmental benefit

1) Lower costs

Energy Efficient Buildings are expensive

True or False?

study findings
Study findings
  • Most believe that energy efficient buildings are more expensive to build.
  • Environmental issues second only to location.
  • Save capital, running costs and improve corporate image
  • Value of hidden assets
specification details reference case
Specification Details - Reference Case
  • 8 storey office, rectangular deep plan
  • Central atrium
  • 4 pipe coil full fresh air air conditioning
  • designed to 1995 building regulations
  • 60% glazing throughout

Improving an Air Conditioned Building

Capital Cost

Energy Cost (per annum)

  • Cumulative capital cost savings of all measures = £55/m2 GFA
    • Fabric costs increased by 2%
    • Services costs decreased by 11%
  • Running cost savings of = £3/m2 GFA

(this represents a saving of almost 50% !)

This would be matched by a similar saving in CO2


From Air Conditioned to

Naturally Ventilated Passively Cooled

air conditioned to naturally ventilated savings
Air Conditioned to Naturally Ventilated - Savings
  • Cumulative capital cost savings of all measures = £200/m2 GFA - this represents a massive 20% of the total capital cost.
  • Operational Energy savings of £4.0/m2 GFA (50% of the total energy cost).
  • 48% Savings in CO2 emissions
  • Energy Efficient Buildings are expensive.

Not necessarily true.

2 improved image
2) Improved image
  • Environmental sensitivity in design
  • Sensitive construction to minimise disturbance to ecosystems, neighbours and avoid pollution
  • Measurement of impacts
  • Careful and accurate reporting of impacts
  • Publicising achievements
3 fewer construction defects
3) Fewer Construction defects
  • Clear responsibilities for commissioning of fabric and mechanical, heating, cooling, lighting, plumbing, electrical and ventilation systems
  • Sufficient time allocation for commissioning as above
  • Consideration of off-site construction techniques
to surmise breeam
To surmise, BREEAM:
  • Define the issues
  • Set the standard
  • Overcome barriers to opportunities to influence environmental improvement

Tim Bevan

Centre for Sustainable Construction

Using BREEAM to Assess the Environmental Performance of Buildings