Thursday, June 16, 2016

BREEAM Arrives in the US; What Does This Mean For LEED?

According to an article from the Environmental Leader, UK-based, BREEAM, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology, is set to arrive in the United States thanks to a partnership between Building Research Establishment (BRE), which is the manager of BREEAM and the US-based LEED certification consultancy, BuildingWise.

"According to a BRE spokesperson, BREEAM has completed more than 542,868 certifications and has more than 2,242,262 registered buildings in 77 countries. In contrast, US Green Building Council’s LEED has completed about 80,000 certifications and has about 1 million buildings in the process of getting certified." So what does this mean for LEED certification and green building as a whole?

Both organizations already work alongside each other in different countries and appear to plan to do so in the United States, as well. BRE has a much lower cost of entry for buildings than LEED at about $1,000 and fewer barriers, so the organization plans to grow through work with existing buildings that can't reach LEED standards. Furthermore, BRE sees success as “a couple hundred thousand buildings coming into the program over the next five years.”

So what is BREEAM? 
"BREEAM is the world's leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It addresses a number of lifecycle stages such as New Construction, Refurbishment and In-Use." (

The partners in the US hope to focus on commercial buildings that are not LEED certified or already using a similar sustainability benchmarking tool. The BREEAM In-Use program provides an online tool for measuring and analyzing the buildings systems, with the goal of reducing its use of energy and water resources, as well as waste. 

Unlike the popular USGBC rating system that focuses on building operations, LEED for Existing Buildings, BREEAM In-Use does not have prerequisites to join the program, which opens the opportunity up to many buildings which were not previously eligible for such programs. Additionally, the lower cost to utilize the BREEAM In-Use program may provide a more feasible option for many buildings that could not invest in LEED certification. By providing an alternative to buildings that may have not even considered LEED to be feasible option, BREEAM has the potential provide a valuable service and help facilitate real improvements and resource savings as it settles in across the US.

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