What is BREEAM and how can it help your business?

Published on by Fleur Baguley – Principal Sustainability Consultant at AECOM.

Buildings of any sort can be costly to run. Legislation and enhanced compliance can further increase these costs. There is also an expectation to be met in terms of the internal environment for the staff or tenants who work or live in it.

Regularly reviewing the condition of a building and keeping ahead of market demand can be extremely beneficial as any failure to make the right investment could decrease the property’s value and marketability.

A BREEAM assessment can improve a building by helping to cut running costs and reduce environmental impact.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) is a leading environmental assessment method for buildings in the UK and internationally which aims to quantify and reduce the environmental burdens of buildings through a positive influence on their design, construction and management.

The scheme is designed to inspire innovative solutions that minimise environmental impacts as well as provide a benchmarking tool which strives to exceed compliance with regulation. The scheme can be adapted to any building type and can be used on new build developments, refurbishments or buildings already in use. Developers, designers, property agents and building managers are all benefitting.

Nearly half a million buildings already have a BREEAM assessment rating. These buildings have gone through an assessment based around issues such as health, comfort, environment, energy and pollution. Scores are totalled up and translated into a rating scale ranging from ‘Pass’ and continuing with ‘Good’, ‘Very Good’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Outstanding’.

Research has shown that targeting the higher BREEAM ratings incurs some additional capital cost but that this is typically less than 2%. However, while these sustainability levels and best practice standards can be challenging to achieve, research also shows that reductions in operational cost mean that increased capital expenditure can be paid back within 2–5 years through utility cost savings.

In practice, BREEAM supports the use of cost-saving technology. If you’re a developer or property agent, you can promote these benefits when you sell or lease a property. If you’re responsible for managing a building, you can cut operational expenses and provide a pleasant working or living environment for the occupants. For larger organisations, a BREEAM assessment can form part of your corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme and help towards achieving CSR goals.

Find out more from the BREEAM Organistation