BREEAM Benefits for Construction
In our previous blog post, we answered the question: “What is BREEAM“ and showed you how the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method ensures that buildings are compliant when it comes to sustainable construction, operation and design. But what are BREEAM benefits for developers, owners and tenants?
With the aim to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment not just through the early design and development stages, but also throughout the construction stage, during and even after the building’s life span, BREEAM assessment covers every topic ranging from Energy, Land Use, Materials, Management, Pollution, Transport, Waste, Water to Innovation, Health and Wellbeing.
Not only does BREEAM determine a building’s level of sustainability, but also the economic, environmental and social benefits that it has for the people linked to the life cycle of that building.
BREEAM and WasteBasedBricks®
BREEAM assesses the performances of buildings over a wide range of environmental issues to produce a rating of either UNCLASSIFIED (<30% – non-compliant), PASS (*, >30%), GOOD (**, >45%), VERY GOOD (***, >55%), EXCELLENT (****, >70%) or OUTSTANDING (*****, >85%).
At StoneCycling, we’re especially interested in the positive effect a BREEAM certification can have on the use of materials on construction sites and the contribution to the circular economy.
Through the BREEAM assessment, the life cycle of materials, including the activities that go into the extraction of raw materials, followed by the design and formulation, processing, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, using and disposing of that product is considered.
By providing baseline targets, with contractors monitoring and recording waste quantities, BREEAM promotes resource efficiency and encourages the reuse and recycling of materials that are already on site. This way, the cost in relation to the quantity of materials ordered and waste transfer is minimised.
Through the responsible sourcing of materials through careful design and analysis, the durability and therefore lifespan of a building will also increase.
StoneCycling’s sustainable building materials can assist in meeting institutional or legislative requirements and aid in meeting sustainable floor space requirements.
Developers who use BREEAM get a higher score if they use the WasteBasedBricks® in the category “materials”, with the sub-categories “substantiated origin of materials” and “use of recycled material”.
While BREEAM does not directly address demolition waste reduction, it does encourage the use of recycled and secondary aggregates. Construction waste management is also highly weighted, with credits being awarded according to the amount of waste generated per 100m2.
The final score and the contribution of the WasteBasedBrick® to the project depends on the total design.
BREEAM certification is becoming increasingly important for a number of reasons:
1. Requirement by Authorities
In the United Kingdom alone, up to 70% of local authorities in cities across the country currently require a BREEAM certification [source].
This means that not adhering to BREEAM standards may prevent developers and property owners from carrying out building works if not compliant.
When it comes to public buildings, it is also a requirement as part of the government’s Construction Strategy to undergo an environmental assessment [source].
2. Increase in Demand
With the increased awareness of global climate change influencing attitudes and legislation, the demand for sustainable buildings has and is expected to increase year-on-year. BREEAM assessments can therefore make a property more attractive and of higher value to potential owners or clients.
Sustainability measures in buildings have become an integral part of the modern investor’s checklist and decision-making process. BREEAM enables buildings to be benchmarked in terms of sustainability, which make them appear more attractive, especially when considering long-term investments.
BREEAM says that a certified building is 8-12% more valuable than a standard building. The market observes a significant number of large portfolio owners go through a mass certification process just before they plan to sell or to be listed in the stock exchange [source]. This confirms the fact that the certification process improves the buildings and raises their value.
With a market share of 80% [source], BREEAM is the most widely used assessment method in Europe which makes this method even more valuable.
During a BREEAM assessment factors such as efficient heating systems, low water consuming components and energy efficient lighting are all taken into consideration. This will reduce the running and refurbishment costs of properties in the long-run.
With energy prices set to increase for the foreseeable future, the advantages BREEAM buildings have over conventional buildings is also increasing.
4. Social Benefits
A survey by the UK Green Building Council (BGC) revealed that over 71% of people who had used BREEAM assessments as part of their building development, reported that it had been socially beneficial to their project. This was mainly due to the improved image resulting from the certification for both the developer as the building itself [source].
Since BREEAM certificates are independent, they improve the perception of the stakeholders and show their commitment to corporate social responsibility policies regarding the environment.
Occupying a sustainable building contributes to the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda and also generates positive publicity.
5. Health Benefits
Some of the advantages of BREEAM rated buildings in comparison to conventional include increased safety, access to daylight and different amenities, the ability to control comfort conditions (e.g. lighting, ventilation, air speed), better thermal and acoustic comfort and better overall accessibility.
Business productivity is affected by many interrelated factors, some of which are influenced by the indoor environment of the building people work in. Research shows that the green design attributes of indoor environments that occur as a result of a BREEAM assessment can drastically improve productivity and occupant health and well-being [source & source & source].
6. Community Benefits
There are also benefits for the community surrounding a BREEAM certified building. There will be less local stress on the infrastructure. A sustainable building requires less energy, it retains large amounts of water during a storm, protects and supports biodiversity, pollutes less, supports alternative transportation systems, has a less disturbing construction site and offers the community functions, facilities, sometimes even public spaces.
BREEAM has the solutions to support a better future by driving improvement in sustainable design of master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings measuring performance; and providing insight and assurance. — BREEAM
7. Economic Benefits
If a building fails to reach required BREEAM targets stipulated by local planning authorities, developers may be in breach of contract, which could lead to an expensive legal case.
On the flipside, a healthy and productive indoor environment, considerably lower operating costs and enhanced marketability have contributed to rental rate premiums in most ‘green’ buildings with BREEAM certifications.
A study carried out by Maastricht University for RICS (Supply, Demand and the Value of Green Buildings) compares similar buildings with and without BREEAM certification across England and Wales. The results show that higher rentals are achieved by BREEAM-certified buildings.
Furthermore, a BREEAM rating helps real estate to retain its value, even if the owner or company has to move out five or ten years down the line.
Recently, new and interesting financial benefits, such as the possibility to issue green bonds or higher chances to obtain credits, have become available.
A large number of measures to increase the sustainability of buildings are eligible for Government subsidies, such as the energy investment allowance (EIA) scheme or the environmental investment allowance (MIA) scheme in the United Kingdom. The subsidies are so generous that the total investment for a BREEAM-certified building is often lower than that required for one without the BREEAM label.
European funding focuses heavily on the reduction of carbon emissions, (nearly) zero energy buildings and the protection of biodiversity, targets which are all included in a BREEAM certified building.
8. Environmental Benefits
Last, but definitely not least, BREEAM has helped to place greater focus upon having development strategies centred around minimising construction waste, finding ways to reduce CO2 emissions and improving the environment for wildlife in the surrounding area.
It is clear that the BREEAM certification not only raises awareness of the benefits of taking a sustainable approach in construction, but it also offers developers, builders and owners with a framework to help successfully adopt sustainable solutions in a cost-effective manner that provides market recognition of their achievements.
Investing in green buildings encourages better returns for people, profit AND planet!
We believe that BREEAM can help reduce the negative effects of construction and development on the environment and we would like to encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss the possibilities for your upcoming project. Have you already worked on a BREEAM project? We love to see it! Leave a link in the comments, so we can check it out.