BREEAM is a suite of assessment methods
developed by BRE to help mitigate the sustainable construction
aspects of non-domestic buildings. The schemes are targeted to
address potential issues with different building types such as
offices, schools and health buildings. A bespoke scheme also is
available if the function of the building does not conform to a
BREEAM assesses the sustainable performance of buildings across
the following areas:
Management: overall management policy,
commissioning site management and procedural issues
Energy use: operational energy and carbon dioxide
Pollution: air and water
Transport: transport-related CO2 and
Land use: greenfield and brownfield sites
Ecology: ecological value conservation and
enhancement of the site
Materials: environmental implication of building
Water: consumption and water efficiency
The local nature of concrete’s production and the well
integrated supply chain has been an advantage for concrete
companies to gain accreditation under BES
6001 - Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of
Construction Products. Designers can now easily source
accredited material and gain maximum credits in sustainability
assessment tools such as BREEAM.
Responsible sourcing credits – update to
The responsible sourcing tier levels have now been published
BREEAM 2011 technical guide (see materials/responsible
This new guidance helps designers understand the relative merits
of responsible sourcing schemes that exist. Concrete can now get
more credits than other materials – which is an acknowledgement of
the breadth and depth of sustainability initiatives that are being
delivered within the concrete sector.
The key changes are:
- There are now eight tiers, the top tier is empty in order to
future-proof it for future iterations of BES 6001 (see below).
- An ‘Excellent’ rating under BES 6001 is now in a higher tier
than ‘Very Good’.
- FSC (and other timber schemes) are in the same tier as BES 6001
- Schemes that conform to BS 8902 will be assessed by BRE to
determine which tier level is appropriate.
- Based on an initial look, the changes do not seem to have had a
significant effect on the relative scores in BREEAM 2011 compared
to BREEAM 2008.
The majority of concrete producers have certification to BES
6001 – to get an up-to-date listing go to Green Book Live.
Eco-reinforcement is a
scheme that complies with BS8902 and meets the criteria set by BES
6001. The Cares Sustainable Steel Reinforcing
Scheme has been established to comply with BS 8902.
A key area where the use of concrete can attract points in
BREEAM is through the use of exposed concrete floors as part of a
building’s heating and cooling strategy. This approach works the
material hard, as it must not only fulfil the design’s structural
requirements, but must also satisfy its thermal and aesthetic
needs. The resulting savings in operational energy through
exploiting the floor’s thermal mass are often significant,
particularly in environments with a high cooling load. A further
benefit is the ability to design out the need for suspended
ceilings, avoiding their embodied impacts and requirement for
periodic replacement. In addition to the Energy category in BREEAM,
there are also the Health & Wellbeing, and Materials categories
in which points can potentially be scored. A breakdown of these
categories and how they may relate to exposed concrete floors is
provided in the diagram below.
Areas where concrete floors may contribute to BREEAM
rating for an office
BREEAM case studies
New concrete frame buildings with a high BREEAM rating are
regularly coming into existence and a selection are available on
studies page or at www.thisisconcrete.co.uk