BREEAM, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology — a sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings is introduced to the United States market today. BREEAM USA will be delivered through a partnership of BuildingWise, a US-based LEED certification consultancy and BRE, research, consultancy, training, testing and certification organizations delivering sustainability and innovation across the built environment and associated industries.
The collaboration allows BuildingWise and BRE to bring BREEAM to the United States. BREEAM USA will focus on the BREEAM In-Use standard to address the 5.6 million existing commercial buildings in the U.S. that are not currently benchmarking their sustainability efforts using a scientifically-based green building certification.
BREEAM USA CEO Barry Giles said, “We are so excited to finally bring BREEAM to the U.S. to open up the option for many of the existing buildings in this country that don’t currently use a building certification program because the available systems are seen as cumbersome, expensive and require prerequisites that many buildings find impossible to achieve.”
Designed by BRE (Building Research Establishment), the BREEAM rating system has a 25-year track record of driving efficiency improvements in new and existing buildings around the world. BREEAM In-Use is an independent, science-based and inclusive assessment that gives facility managers and owners a framework for improving the operational sustainability of their asset, reducing energy costs, and consequently carbon footprints.
During the assessment process, each category is sub-divided into a range of issues, which promotes the use of new benchmarks, aims, and targets. When a target is reached, credits are awarded. Once a building has been fully assessed, depending upon the total number of credits awarded, a final performance rating is achieved.
One of the first buildings to undertake BREEAM In-Use is the BLOC in downtown Los Angeles. Currently, the BLOC is being upgraded into the destination space for Los Angeles residents including a shopping mall and Sheraton hotel.
BREEAM certification provides benefits beyond lowering operational costs. BREEAM certification can prepare commercial property for increased resiliency against extreme weather and evolving legal requirements.
“Many of today’s buildings are not equipped for the future and underperform against their potential, wasting resources and unnecessarily impacting the environment,” said Gavin Dunn, Global Director of BREEAM. “In a real estate market that considers value based on a wide range of metrics these assets risk devaluation or becoming stranded. With BREEAM we provide a system that can cost-effectively be applied to any property to enable managers to improve and get recognition for the performance of their existing real-estate assets. Whether improving the performance of older inefficient properties, or ensuring new high-performance properties meet their potential, BREEAM eliminates wasted resources at all levels.”
For occupants, benefits include healthier and more productive workplaces. Standards like BREEAM help create workplaces with good indoor air quality, good lighting and daylighting levels, and higher perceptions of comfort than average offices.