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BREEAM, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology one of the world’s oldest and most widely used green building rating systems, has come to the U.S.
Created in 1990 by the Building Research Establishment in the U.K., the system is responsible for 544,600 certified projects worldwide, according to BRE. (By comparison, LEED currently has more than 75,000 certified projects.)
BREEAM USA will be delivered through a partnership of BuildingWise, a US-based LEED certification consultancy and BRE, research, consultancy, training, testing and certification organizations delivering sustainability and innovation across the built environment and associated industries.
The collaboration allows BuildingWise and BRE to bring BREEAM 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 U.S. that are not currently benchmarking their sustainability efforts using a scientifically-based green building certification.
Designed by BRE (Building Research Establishment), the BREEAM rating system has a 25-year 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 facility managers and owners a framework for improving the operational sustainability of their asset, reducing energy costs, and consequently carbon footprints.
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.
One of the first buildings to undertake BREEAM In-Use is the BLOC in downtown Los Angeles. Currently, the BLOC is being upgraded into the destination space for Los Angeles residents including a shopping mall and Sheraton hotel.
BREEAM certification provides benefits beyond lowering operational costs. BREEAM certification can prepare commercial property for increased resiliency against extreme weather and evolving legal requirements.