The BRE and BREEAM
In the accompanying video for this section, Justin Halewood of BRE gives a talk on The Code for Sustainable Homes and other BREEAM Assessments. Justin asserts that the BRE Trust aims to bring about progress in the construction industry. The focus of this shift in the non-domestic sector is a move away from building energy and water hungry boxes on hermetically sealed industrial estates towards a greener, low carbon built environment.
With more than 50% of the UK’s CO2 emissions originating from the construction, refurbishment and day to day operation of our buildings, the consensus is that our built environment has a major impact upon our mitigation of and adaptation to, climate change and other environmental impacts such as resource constraints.
At the same time, new buildings are a product of the same growth, the same increases in economic activity the Chancellor is currently desperately searching for. So as much as reducing our environmental impact, this is about transitioning to a low carbon economy that is sustainable in the long term. This is about a new green deal for UK PLC. There can scarcely be a time in its history, when the strategic importance of the construction industry has been greater – not just to grow and replace the country’s building stock, but to do so in a way that meets the needs of a new low carbon economy, and at a time of economic restraint.
The BRE aim to drive the market through this transition by stimulating the innovation we need to decouple new growth from new environmental impacts. BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is a tool run by BRE and is intended to catalyse this mass market shift towards higher environmental standards within the non-domestic sector.
BRE believe local authorities have a crucial role in taking our built environment towards this greener, more prosperous future. They also believe that local people – not distant bureaucrats or top-down targets – should be in control of the way their villages, towns and cities develop.
Whether its through open source planning or the local plan process, we need a planning system that enables local people to shape their surroundings in a way that, while heeding global and national environmental constraints – carbon, biodiversity, landscape, heritage – is also sensitive to the demands of economic growth. This is why local authority planners up and down the country, backed by the policy support offered by PPS1, are starting to insist that new development is built to meet the BRE’s environmental standards.
To ensure developers encounter consistency amongst districts and other delivery agencies, LPAs should work collaboratively to stipulate BREEAM/CSH Levels that complement guidance set out within the Regional Spatial Strategy, neighboring LPAs and other delivery agencies (such as the HCA, MoD and OGC). For instance the National Affordable Housing Programme required CSH Level 3 up until April 2010, from which point Level 4 will be required. BRE can advise LPAs on the timetabling of different requirements.
BREEAM Communities helps planners and developers to improve, measure and independently certify the sustainability of project proposals at the planning stage of the development process.
Justin Halewood – The Code for Sustainable Homes and other BREEAM Assessments
Case Study example from Matt Swanton of Re-Format Architects