BREEAM USA to Target Existing Buidings

BuildingWise and BRE announces their partnership. The collaboration allows BuildingWise and BRE to bring BREEAM, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology to the United States. BREEAM USA will focus on the BREEAM In-Use standard to address the 5.6 million existing commercial buildings in the US that are not currently benchmarking their sustainability efforts using a scientifically-based green building certification.

BuildingWise CEO Barry Giles said, “We are excited to bring BREEAM to the US to open up the option for many of the existing buildings in this country that don’t currently use a building certification program because the available systems are seen as cumbersome, expensive and require prerequisites that many buildings find impossible to achieve.”

Designed by BRE (Building Research Establishment), the BREEAM rating system has a 25year track record of driving efficiency improvements in new and existing buildings around the world. BREEAM In-Use is an independent, science-based and inclusive assessment that gives building managers and owners a framework for improving the operational sustainability of their asset, reducing energy costs and consequently carbon footprints. Improving the sustainability of US buildings is important as, during its lifespan, a building and its occupants consume significant amounts of energy, water and materials; and produce waste and emissions. All of this places pressure on limited resources and can negatively impact the local and global environment.

During the assessment process, each category is sub-divided into a range of issues, which promotes the use of new benchmarks, aims and targets. When a target is reached, credits are awarded. Once a building has been fully assessed, depending upon the total number of credits awarded, a final performance rating is achieved.

BREEAM certification provides benefits beyond lowering operational costs, which is typically the largest segment of building operating expenses for building owners and managers. BREEAM certification can prepare commercial property for increased resiliency to the future effects of climate change and evolving legal requirements, making a property attractive to lease, sell and retain as building ratings and certifications are increasingly seen as a mark of quality and value.

“Many of today’s buildings are not equipped for the future and underperform against their potential, wasting resources and unnecessarily impacting the environment,” said Gavin Dunn, global director of BREEAM. “In a real estate market that considers value based on a wide range of metrics these assets risk devaluation or becoming stranded. With BREEAM we provide a system that can cost-effectively be applied to any property to enable managers to improve and get recognition for the performance of their existing real-estate assets. Whether improving the performance of older inefficient properties, or ensuring high-performance properties meet their potential, BREEAM eliminates wasted resources at all levels.”

For occupants, benefits include healthy and productive workplaces. Standards like BREEAM help create workplaces with good indoor air quality, good lighting and daylighting levels and a perception of comfort. As an example of the impact such factors can have, research by the World Green Building Council says good indoor air quality can help staff productivity levels by as much as 8-11%.

One of the first properties to undertake BREEAM In-Use is The Bloc in downtown Los Angeles. Currently, The Bloc is in the final stage of a transformation into an open-air urban destination which will offer Angelenos an experience of design-oriented, artisanal retailers and restaurateurs; a creative-leaning office building; and the renovated 496-room Sheraton Grand Los Angeles.

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