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Sustainable building

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) is the world’s leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design. Credits are awarded in ten categories according to performance. These credits are then added together to produce a single overall score on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.

BREEAM Rating Score %
Unclassified < 30%
Pass > 30%
Good > 45%
Very Good > 55%
Excellent > 70%
Outstanding > 85%

In a move towards more sustainable and zero carbon buildings the Welsh Government (WG) Planning Policy now requires projects with a floor area greater than 1000m2, to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating. In addition WG require an Excellent rating to be achieved for projects where they provide core funding.

A summary of the issues covered by each of the ten categories is summarised below. Each issue seeks to mitigate the impact of a new or refurbished building on the environment by defining a performance target and assessment criteria that must be met to confirm the target has been achieved. Where a performance target has been achieved the number of available BREEAM credits can be awarded.

Category Assessment criteria
  • Commissioning
  • Construction site impacts
  • Security
Health & Wellbeing
  • Daylight
  • Occupant thermal comfort
  • Acoustics
  • Indoor air and water quality
  • Lighting
  • CO2 emissions
  • Low or zero carbon technologies
  • Energy sub metering
  • Energy efficient building systems
  • Public transport network connectivity
  • Pedestrian and Cyclist facilities
  • Access to amenities
  • Travel plans and information
  • Water consumption
  • Leak detection
  • Water re-use and recycling
  • Embodied life cycle impact of materials
  • Materials re-use
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Robustness
  • Construction waste
  • Recycled aggregates
  • Recycling facilities
Land use and ecology 
  • Site selection
  • Protection of ecological features
  • Mitigation/enhancement of ecological value
  • Refrigerant use and leakage
  • Flood risk
  • NOx emissions
  • Watercourse pollution
  • External light and noise pollution
  • Exemplary performance levels
  • Use of BREEAM Accredited Professionals
  • New technologies and building processes

Page updated on: 03/05/2016

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