What is a BREEAM property assessment?
In a bid to become more environmentally aware, many corporate organisations around the world now demand more eco-friendly and energy efficient office buildings. Therefore a growing number of new and redeveloped properties are built in order to achieve high ratings through standards such as BREEAM, or the US and Australian equivalents, LEED and Green Star.
But what are these standards – and what do they mean for businesses seeking office space in the UK?
For some businesses, going green means implementing recycling, car-sharing and energy-saving measures. But a growing number of companies are now looking to improve the overall efficiency of their office properties. This not only helps promote a more sustainable environment, but can also dramatically reduce the costs associated with facilities such as heating and air-conditioning.
As the main UK standard for ensuring that top eco-friendly measures are reached, BREEAM has laid out a set of rules by which architects and property developers adhere to.
What it means to be BREEAM
Set up in the UK in 1990, BREEAM was established by the BRE (Building Research Establishment), and stands for the ‘Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method’.
This standard is the first national scheme for environmental assessment of buildings, and now operates all around the world.
BREEAM assesses buildings based on a number of factors, including property management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, material and waste, land use and ecology, and pollution.
During assessment, properties score credits on each of these sectors according to performance. The credits are then added together to produce a single overall score. Assessors use this score to rate the property on 5 different levels: Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent or Outstanding. Upon confirmation of the score, a certificate is then awarded to the development.
The highest BREEAM classification – ‘Outstanding’ – is the most recent rating, introduced in June 2008. To date, very few properties have achieved the high classification. One such successful applicant is the G Park Blue Planet logistics warehouse in Staffordshire – which achieved an 85.49% rating, and exemplary credits in four areas – daylight, reduced CO2 emissions, construction waste management, and the use of low-carbon technologies.
The development will reportedly save ┬ú300,000 in running costs each year, as a result of the environmental features. Find out more here.
Green office space
BREEAM is the world’s most widely used means of eco-friendly offices, that is utilized for both new build designs and existing offices.
Assessing properties in this way is voluntary, but more and more businesses are recognizing the benefits that greener offices can bring. By creating or redeveloping office properties that reach a high BREEAM standard, companies are actively providing a more agreeable workspace for their employees, which includes the likes of increased natural light, ventilation, and efficient heating or air-cooling systems. This can lead to improvements in productivity and even staff retention.
Furthermore, firms benefit from reduced utility bills, such as the ┬ú300,000 per year saving generated by the G Park Blue Planet warehouse, mentioned above.
‘Doing your bit’
More greener, cleaner properties will ultimately lead to a healthier and more sustainable environment. Research by BREEAM shows that UK buildings account for over 50% of total UK CO2 emissions. This figure increases to 75% when taking into account CO2 produced by manufacturing, transportation of construction materials, and employees travelling to and from work.
Eco-friendly ratings such as those by BREEAM aim to help improve the way that new and redeveloped properties are created, from planning and design right through to construction.
For further details of BREEAM’s work, visit their website at www.breeam.org. For examples of recent acclaimed BREEAM properties, view our blog posts:
- Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham to gain top BREEAM standard offices
- Birmingham BREEAM offices “will become increasingly sought after”
- New office building in Northumberland scores high green points
- Birmingham office goes green
- Excellent BREEAM rating for Leeds office space
To find and compare office space in the UK or internationally, visit officebroker.com or contact one of our office experts direct for free, localised advice.