Drafting a suitable BREEAM certification checklist is crucial, particularly if you are keen on securing high marks for your development or refurbishment project. Having a clear plan in place will allow you to quickly determine the steps you need to take to meet your sustainability goals and ensure a successful BREEAM assessment.
At Encon Associates, we have produced an informative guide to illustrate how you can obtain BREEAM certification and your target rating. By following our advice, you will be able to save on time, labour and resources while ensuring you achieve your desired outcome. However, before we discuss what you should include on your checklist, let’s explore why securing BREEAM certification and a high score is well worth the effort.
The Importance of Obtaining BREEAM Certification
As buildings are one of the primary sources of global greenhouse emissions, it is prudent to act now in order to help the environment and slow down the effects of climate change. Otherwise, future generations could experience severe weather disturbances that could have a significant impact on their everyday lives.
This is why many developers secure BREEAM certification. By meeting BREEAM standards, they can show their commitment to protecting the planet. At the same time, they can demonstrate compliance and fulfil the environmental requirements set by their local authority.
BREEAM certification can also pave the way for a greater return on investment. Various studies have shown that a BREEAM-certified project is more attractive and profitable than one that lacks certification. Furthermore, maintaining this type of building will be more cost-effective in the long run because it requires less water, electricity and other valuable resources. (World Green Building Council, 2013).
Checklist for Obtaining an Outstanding BREEAM Rating
If you want to secure BREEAM certification and score highly, you should consider the following factors when drawing up your BREEAM certification checklist.
1. Early advice
One of the secrets to securing your target results involves obtaining expert advice at an early stage in the design process. For many BREEAM categories, by the time you acquire planning permission, it may be too late to integrate certain design features that will help you achieve a higher score. For this reason, it is well worth considering seeking immediate assistance from a BREEAM professional, such as one of our team here at Encon Associates. This will enable you to identify the steps you need to take to achieve an outstanding rating in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. It will also help you determine the minimum standards that you have to meet. This in turn eliminates the need to introduce design features retrospectively, allowing you to reduce your costs and avoid disruptions.
Moreover, involving a BREEAM qualified AP in the early stages of a project will automatically provide you with 2–3 credits. For this reason alone, you should consider contacting a BREEAM AP or Assessor as soon as you have drawn up plans to pursue a development or refurbishment project.
2. Planning requirements
Make sure you are fully aware of your project’s planning requirements. In the majority of cases, planning applications require a sustainability statement and energy strategy as supporting evidence. BREEAM certification may also be needed to secure planning permission from your local authority.
By identifying the planning requirements, you can determine the areas where key resources, such as water and energy, can be saved. This will also help ensure your project’s sustainability and energy efficiency.
3. The suitable BREEAM scheme
BREEAM serves as a benchmark rating scheme for two types of projects:
- New constructions
There are ten environmental performance categories with credits awarded for each. Choosing the correct BREEAM scheme is vital because there are significant differences in the assessment and credits available for each performance category, depending on whether it is a new construction or a refurbishment/fit-out.
4. Innovation credits
Being innovative can certainly pay off in terms of securing BREEAM certification, particularly if you are targeting a high rating. While working on the main categories is imperative, adding innovations to your project can help you achieve extra credits. You can do this by incorporating a particular system, process or building feature that the Building Research Establishment (BRE) recognises as “innovative”.
So, what is considered to be an innovation? A good example would be using an alternative or green fuel for your combined heat and power (CHP) system. Here, it would be useful to ask your BREEAM AP for advice as they can utilise their knowledge and experience to provide you with a range of good ideas to make your project more innovative.
5. Strategies for improved energy efficiency
Another essential factor to consider when creating your BREEAM certification checklist is a sound strategy for improved energy efficiency. With 31 credits, the Energy category offers the highest number of section credits available. It also has the joint-highest section weighting at 16%. For this reason, if you can improve your project’s energy efficiency, this will help ensure a high BREEAM rating.
In order to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), your project must comply with the Building Regulations Part L. This means that aiming for an EPC “A” rating is an excellent starting point if you want to enhance your building’s energy efficiency. Other strategies include:
- Designing with best practice U values
- Designing with best practice air tightness
- Implementing energy-saving measures such as installing energy-efficient lighting and equipment, natural ventilation, and solar shading
- Investing in more low-carbon and renewable technologies
Start Preparing for a BREEAM Assessment
Creating a certification checklist is an excellent way of preparing for a BREEAM assessment. Identifying the standards you need to meet and the requirements you must fulfil can go a long way towards ensuring a successful outcome. Furthermore, it can help reduce your costs and prepare you for any eventualities that could affect your project.
At Encon Associates, our team will be happy to help you obtain BREEAM certification for a new construction or refurbishment project. With our years of experience working with various architects, designers, builders and development companies across the UK, we have the skills and expertise to provide you with all the professional advice you require. Please contact us today so we can discuss your requirements.