BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for buildings, infrastructure and communities. It has recently announced the launch of BREEAM In-Use International Version 6, an update to the original In-Use International method which includes new and improved criteria for the Commercial programme, and a new standard tailored to Residential assets.
Since it’s creation in 2009, BREEAM In-use has been used by thousands of assets in over 30 countries. It not only benchmarks and certifies performance, but demonstrates a building’s high standard of environmental, social and governance (ESG) operations.
Climate change and social impact
Version 6 sees a greater emphasis on climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, as well as the social value delivered by new developments. Social impacts have also been more closely woven into the new version, to reflect the social and economic benefits of meeting green objectives.
Recognising that resilience is a key aspect in understanding the sustainability of a building, BREEAM has added a new Resilience category for Asset Performance and Management Performance.
Version 6 also acknowledges how far the construction industry has improved recycling and reuse rates of waste in recent years. What was previously seen as ‘waste’ is now a potential resource that can be exploited rather than disposed of, so BREEAM has brought Materials and Waste categories into a single Resources category to better address these circular economy principles.
Reflecting current practices
The update also streamlines the BREEAM In-use process for all building types undergoing assessment. This delivers the assessment’s value more efficiently, and also allows the schema to better respond to market drivers, for example aligning with other certification and reporting systems.
BREEAM has also review the In-Use categories os they reflect current good and best practice for existing building and, where possible, to align with approaches in the BREEAM New Construction schemes.
Performance levels and benchmarks
Version 6 brings significant changes in the Health and Wellbeing, and Energy categories. Further guidance has been added to assessment so the question sets are more robust and clearer about how assessment criteria should be applied. Different performance levels have also been introduced to avoid an ‘all or nothing’ approach to achieving credits, and energy benchmarks have been updated along with associated carbon emissions factors.
Shamir Ghumra, BREEAM director, saysL “One of the most significant changes with this update was to pivot BREEAM from not just looking back at past environmental performance but looking towards protecting the assets environmental and financial performance in the future. This linking of asset value growth and protection and environmental performance has always existed in BREEAM, but our changing world made it imperative that it was addressed more intentionally. The current situation we’re also subjected to underline that sustainability and a focus on environmental, social and governance performance is now more crucial than ever.”
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