How smart technology can help improve your BREEAM rating

Green building

The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) was first published in 1990 and quickly became the standard for assessing the environmental attributes of commercial buildings.

A set of four BREEAM technical standards now span everything from new-build premises to larger community projects:

  • BREEAM New Construction
  • BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit Out
  • BREEAM In-Use
  • BREEAM Communities

It is important to note that BREEAM certification is not limited to commercial buildings, but also applies to multiple-occupancy residential properties, especially those that feature private bedrooms and communal spaces such as kitchens and lounges. Buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction (Source: WBGC) This highlights the growing demand for sustainable building practices, not only in the commercial sector but also in the residential sector, and the benefits they bring to both the environment and the people who occupy the space.

BREEAM current and future regulations

BREEAM sets out consistent and comparable standards that allow buildings to be rated, based on their environmental performance, with meaningful results.

In addition to the four technical standards listed above, there’s also BREEAM Infrastructure to assess assets, and the Home Quality Mark, which is essentially a BREEAM residential standard for domestic properties, to be carried out by housebuilders.

The standards are updated periodically. For example, BREEAM Infrastructure was introduced in October 2022 to replace the previous CEEQUAL scheme.

Since the end of 2020, BREEAM has also been involved in the delivery of NABERS UK, which rates the environmental performance of offices in-use.

What are BREEAM ratings and credits?

BREEAM assesses 12 distinct categories, including energy, water, pollution and waste, to create a holistic measure of a building’s environmental performance.

A total score of less than 30% is rated ‘unclassified’ and there is an additional ‘Acceptable’ rating for BREEAM In-Use assessments.

The thresholds for higher BREEAM ratings are:

  • BREEAM Outstanding: 85%
  • BREEAM Excellent: 70%
  • BREEAM Very Good: 55%
  • BREEAM Good: 45%
  • BREEAM Pass: 30%

BREEAM credits are the individual category scores that combine to give the overall percentage rating for the property, with most categories contributing up to 10-12% to the final score.

Common areas in which buildings underperform in BREEAM

Smart technology can help buildings of all sizes to impress the BREEAM assessor, by demonstrating a clear commitment to reduce energy consumption, carbon footprint and other environmental objectives.

With smart building controls you can implement multiple methods to meet BREEAM standards:

  • Turn off lights overnight and when rooms are not occupied
  • Smart HVAC controls for more efficient heating and cooling
  • Automate window blinds to benefit from solar shading

These are just a few examples of direct benefits of smart technology for BREEAM assessments – there are many more ways smart building management systems can help.

How long does it take to have a tangible impact?

Implementing smart technology starts to deliver benefits immediately, with warmer premises in winter, cooler rooms in summer, reduced business energy bills and so on.

This is without any painful ‘lifestyle’ changes – the technology can ensure your premises are more comfortable, while seamlessly reducing your carbon footprint and running costs.

For more information or to ask us about a specific challenge you face, please contact Intecho’s smart technology technicians today and we’ll be happy to help.

Want to discuss your next project?

Let’s arrange a call.