Science-led sustainability solutions for your buildings with BREEAM

Kevin Wither, Head of Landlord Sustainability

If you’re committed to formally demonstrating your sustainability responsibility to the wider community with a well-known and industry recognised certification system, this article is for you.

Sustainability is important in today’s world, and people like to see the actions and commitments you’re undertaking to ensure your part in promoting planetary health. Schemes like BREEAM, Fitwel, LEED, and SKA have been established to help businesses demonstrate this to clients, colleagues and investors.

How does BREEAM certification work?

BRE Group is an organisation offering a leading suite of training, validation, and certification systems relating to sustainability, climate change, and net zero. The objective of BREEAM certification, offered by BRE Group, is to provide market recognition of buildings with low environmental impact, enabling landlords and tenants to demonstrate sustainability commitments to the wider community.

Buildings that undergo BREEAM assessment are benchmarked against the typical sustainability performance expected of new non-domestic buildings in the UK, and other BREEAM rated buildings, to achieve one of six ratings, from “Unclassified” to “Outstanding”. Peldon Rose were delighted to work on a design for Sopra Steria, European leader in digital services and software development. Their building had already received a BREEAM Excellency rating, one of the scheme’s highest accolades. The sky’s the limit in fit out if you start as you mean to go on.

Tailored to suit you

BREEAM standardisation, however, does not mean intransigence. What do we mean by this? Well, during the rating process, buildings collect credits on a “scorecard” in various areas of performance, and some of these can be adapted to best suit your project. In categories which are not seen as fundamental, like levels of biophilia, credits can be offset against each other, meaning compliance in one area can compensate for non-compliance in another. To ensure a level of necessary consistency, BREEAM sets firm standards of performance for key environmental issues such as energy, water, and waste management, which are seen as fundamental indicators of a building’s sustainability health. This flexibility is to accommodate differences in building style and priority but maintain a necessary level of standardisation, to make the scheme relevant for all.

Ensuring no loss of translation with NABERS UK

NABERS UK is another scheme delivered by the BRE Group, and is a system for rating the energy efficiency of office buildings in the UK. It’s a little more directed than the wider BREEAM accreditation, and helps owners and stakeholders understand how their buildings are performing in two key respects, Design for Performance, and Energy for Offices. What’s the difference between these two? Well, Design for Performance bridges the gap between design intent and outcome. The process involves committing to a NABERS energy target with subsequent validation by a Licensed Assessor throughout the development of a space. In this way, targets are not lost in the translation of practically implementing drawn designs.

Energy for Offices goes one step further, comparing the actual energy consumption of a building against a set of benchmarks, to rate efficiency in energy usage. This efficiency is determined by assessing variables such as heating and cooling systems, lifts, and lobby lighting.

The benefit of NABERS UK is that UK building owners can accurately track and communicate the energy performance of their buildings, helping them identify areas for saving and improvements.

Whether its BREEAM, NABERS, or other sustainability accreditation schemes such as LEED or Fitwel, Peldon Rose has inhouse experts who are certified to help you attain these standards. Want to know more? Get in touch and start your journey today.

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