The New Green Building Certification on the Block



UWC Dilijan College in Armenia, the first BREEAM certified building. Source:

The two most recognized sustainable building certifications in the U.S., Energy Star and LEED, now have a new companion joining the movement within home territory. BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology), a 25-year-old sustainability evaluation method officiated by the U.K consultancy BRE, offers a practical and more affordable online self-assessment tool for building owners who want to elevate their commitment to sustainability. BRE is working in collaboration with BuildingWise to focus on evaluations for existing buildings and tackle the estimated 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. that are not being benchmarked using a “scientifically based” certification.

After taking the self-assessment, “a building owner manager could opt to move forward with a full-blown evaluation by a BREEAM In-Use Assessor or to invest in a verified certification.”

Simon Turner, president of environmental consulting firm Healthy Buildings and a certified LEED AP, said he believed the new BREEAM program will appeal to building owners who don’t “have the appetite for LEED” because of cost or resource concerns. “There’s definitely a market for a program that is practical,” he said.

Turner’s team is being trained on the principles starting in late August. “What I like about BREEAM is that they get a chance to inch up their commitment,” he said. “They don’t have to go all-in immediately.”

The reputation and credibility of BREEAM extends beyond Europe and is available in more than 70 countries. There are over 548, 600 BREEAM certified developments worldwide and 2.25 million buildings have been registered.

The push for creating green buildings — and providing it — is accelerating. In late June, the World Green Building Council launched an initiative to drive new support behind the idea of net-zero energy buildings, ones that produce all the power they need to operate, usually via some form of on-site renewable energy. The council is pushing for all new buildings and major renovations to have a net-zero goal by 2030.

The objective is an admirable one, but it’s up to sustainable building councils throughout the world to make that goal possible once they agree to commit to it.

Read the full article here.

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