Top 5 Reasons Why LEED in UK is Better Than BREEAM

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Green building certifications are a testament to a project’s commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmental responsibility. These certifications are recognized worldwide and provide a standardized framework for assessing a building’s ecological impact and performance. They serve as essential guides for architects, builders, and developers looking to design and construct environmentally friendly structures.

Globally, the most popular and widely accepted green building certifications are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM). While LEED is the preferred certification across countries like the United States (US), BREEAM is favoured in the United Kingdom (UK). Let’s take a deeper dive into the features of both the certifications and explore how the adoption of LEED in UK can yield better results than BREEAM.

What is LEED?

Leed project

LEED is a globally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It is a comprehensive framework for assessing the environmental performance and sustainability of buildings. 

This certification system evaluates structures based on several categories, including energy efficiency, water conservation, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and sustainable site development. Buildings that meet specific LEED criteria receive certification, with different levels, such as Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, depending on their level of compliance. While BREEAM is more prominent across the United Kingdom, the adoption of LEED in UK is now becoming more evident.

How to Earn LEED in UK and Across the Globe?

Leed certified project

Getting a certification of LEED in UK for your project is a streamlined process outlined by the USGBC. Below is a step-by-step guide of the task.

1. Choose a LEED Certification Level

Before starting the certification process, select the appropriate LEED certification level for your project, such as Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. This decision will dictate the degree of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency your project needs to achieve.

2. Register Your Project with USGBC

Begin by registering your project with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization overseeing LEED in UK and worldwide Registration helps you access resources, guidelines, and monitor project progress.

3. Assemble a Skilled Project Team

Gather a diverse and skilled project team comprising architects, engineers, contractors, and other professionals experienced in sustainable design and construction, preferably a LEED GA or a LEED AP. Effective collaboration is key to integrating LEED requirements into your project.

4. Develop a LEED Scorecard

Create a scorecard of LEED in UK that outlines the specific credits and prerequisites your project must meet. Work with your team to identify strategies, materials, and design features that align with your project’s sustainability goals.

5. Document, Review, and Maintain

Document your project’s sustainable design elements and ensure all necessary documentation is well-organized. Once your project is complete, request a LEED review, and upon success, you’ll be awarded the appropriate certification for LEED in UK or any other country around the world. Maintain your certification by monitoring your building’s continued compliance with LEED standards.

What are the Benefits of LEED?

Leed certified building

Availing a certificate of LEED in UK can be a standout feature for a project. Mentioned below are the key benefits of LEED for building construction and infrastructure projects.

1. Environmental Responsibility

LEED certified buildings are designed with a strong focus on reducing their environmental footprint, through strategies like energy conservation, water efficiency, waste reduction, and the use of sustainable materials. This commitment to ecological preservation contributes to a healthier planet, preserving natural resources, and reducing harmful emissions.

2. Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

Certificed buildings of LEED in UK and anywhere around the world are champions of energy efficiency. They feature advanced insulation, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and energy-efficient lighting. This helps in attaining lower energy consumption and substantial cost savings. This dual benefit of reduced carbon emissions and financial savings underscores the practicality of LEED certification.

3. Healthier Indoor Environments

Buildings with a certification of LEED in UK and the world offer enhanced indoor air quality through improved ventilation, low-VOC paints and finishes, and the elimination of harmful materials. This results in healthier work and living spaces, ultimately benefiting the well-being of occupants.

4. Increased Property Value

A certificate of LEED in UK often leads to increased property value. Eco-conscious buyers and tenants are willing to pay a premium for sustainable, energy-efficient spaces, while the marketability of LEED-certified buildings remains high in the real estate industry.

5. Global Recognition

LEED is not confined to a specific region; it is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability in construction. Its impact is felt worldwide as more projects embrace LEED certification, contributing to the global effort to combat climate change and environmental degradation. Thus, getting a certificate of LEED in UK makes it valid across many countries.

What is BREEAM?

Breeam project

BREEAM is a sustainability assessment system recognised across the globe primarily used in the United Kingdom for evaluating the environmental performance of buildings. Developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), BREEAM provides a standardized framework for assessing and rating various aspects of a building’s sustainability, including its energy efficiency, water usage, materials selection, and ecological impact. The assessment process considers a building’s entire lifecycle, from design and construction to operation and maintenance. BREEAM certification exemplifies a building’s commitment to environmentally responsible design and construction practices. It has gained recognition for promoting sustainable building standards in the UK and many other countries around the world.

How to Get a BREEAM Certification?

Breeam outstanding structure

Getting a BREEAM certificate allows a project to contribute its bit to the society by reducing its overall carbon footprint. Let’s have a look at a step-by-step guide of how you can achieve a BREEAM certificate for a building.

1. Choose the Appropriate BREEAM Scheme

Start by selecting the BREEAM scheme that aligns with your project type, whether it’s New Construction, Refurbishment, or In-Use. The scheme you choose will determine the specific criteria and standards you need to meet.

2. Engage a Certified BREEAM Assessor

A certified BREEAM Assessor is an essential member of your project team who will guide you through the certification process. They will help create an action plan, assess your building’s performance, and ensure compliance with BREEAM requirements.

3. Conduct Pre-Assessment

Initiate a pre-assessment to evaluate your project’s readiness for BREEAM certification. This step helps identify areas for improvement and sets the stage for a successful certification journey.

4. Implement Sustainable Design Strategies

Incorporate sustainable design strategies into your project, focusing on energy efficiency, water conservation, sustainable materials, and indoor air quality. These measures not only reduce environmental impact but also enhance occupant comfort and wellbeing.

5. Submit for Formal Assessment

Once your project is complete and compliant with BREEAM requirements, it’s time to submit your application for formal assessment. A BREEAM Assessor will review your documentation, inspect the building, and assess its performance against BREEAM criteria. If your project passes the assessment, you’ll receive the desired BREEAM rating.

8. Maintain and Monitor

BREEAM certification isn’t a one-time achievement. To ensure your building maintains its sustainability, monitor its performance and continue collecting data. BREEAM in-Use assessments provide ongoing certification for operational buildings, helping maintain and improve their sustainability over time.

What are the Benefits of BREEAM?

Breeam certified project

The BREEAM certificate is the most preferred green building across the United KIngdom. Let’s have a look at what makes this certificate such a favourite.

1. Environmental Stewardship

At the core of BREEAM lies a commitment to environmental responsibility. BREEAM-certified buildings are designed and constructed with a strong focus on reducing their carbon footprint. This includes strategies to minimize energy consumption, conserve water, reduce waste, and use sustainable materials. As a result, BREEAM-certified projects play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable planet by conserving natural resources and reducing harmful emissions.

2. Localized Approach 

BREEAM takes into account the local environmental challenges and priorities of the region in which a building is situated. This approach allows for tailored solutions to address specific environmental concerns unique to a location, making BREEAM particularly adept at addressing local issues effectively.

3. Economical Efficiency

BREEAM-certified buildings are champions of energy efficiency. They are designed with features like advanced insulation, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and energy-efficient lighting. These measures result in lower energy consumption, which, in turn, translates to substantial cost savings in terms of reduced energy bills. For both building owners and tenants, BREEAM is synonymous with financial benefits.

4. Emphasis on Ecology and Biodiversity

BREEAM places a strong emphasis on ecology and biodiversity. It encourages projects to consider the local ecosystem, habitat protection, and enhancing biodiversity within the project’s scope. This aspect fosters a greater commitment to conserving and promoting local wildlife and natural landscapes.

5. Global Recognition and Impact

BREEAM’s impact extends beyond the UK’s borders. It’s recognized as a symbol of sustainable construction on a global scale. BREEAM certification ensures that your building meets rigorous environmental standards, making it an appealing prospect for international clients, investors, and tenants who prefer certification systems they can trust worldwide.

How to Compare Between LEED in UK and BREEAM in UK?

ParameterLEEDBREEAM
Global AcknowledgementAccepted globallyFocused primarily on the UK and Europe
Geographical ScopeSuitable for international projectsMost relevant within the UK and Europe
CostCosts may vary globallyPotentially lower costs in the UK, potential higher consultancy fees for international projects
ComplexityRigorous assessment processGenerally considered less complex but still involves significant documentation
Environmental EmphasisStrong emphasis on indoor environmental quality, health (WELL partnership)Emphasis on region-specific environmental challenges, ecology, and adaptation to climate change
A table showcasing a comparison of leed v/s breeam

5 Reasons Why LEED in UK is Better than BREEAM

Leed building

In the United Kingdom, two globally recognized systems stand as pillars of environmentally responsible construction: LEED and BREEAM . While both aim to enhance the sustainability of buildings, here are five compelling reasons why embracing LEED in UK outshines BREEAM.

1. Global Standardization

LEED’s international recognition stands as its most significant advantage. Originating in the United States, LEED has expanded its reach worldwide, earning a reputation for a high level of standardization and consistency. This global recognition makes it particularly attractive for international clients, investors, and tenants who prefer a certification system they can trust, whether they’re dealing with a project in the UK or elsewhere. BREEAM, while popular in the UK, does not enjoy the same global presence, which can limit its appeal to international stakeholders, making the adoption of LEED in UK a smart alternative.

2. Comprehensive Focus on Health and Wellbeing

In a world increasingly concerned with health and wellbeing, LEED takes the foreground with its comprehensive focus on these aspects. The WELL Building Standard, developed in tandem with LEED, concentrates on promoting healthy environments, addressing concerns like air quality, access to natural light, and ergonomic design. Integrating WELL into LEED offers a holistic approach that surpasses BREEAM’s coverage in these areas. For UK projects, where occupant wellbeing is of paramount importance, this makes LEED in UK a compelling choice.

3. Emphasis on Energy Efficiency

LEED places a strong emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability, providing a robust framework for addressing these issues. The inclusion of the LEED Energy and Atmosphere category ensures that projects in the UK, a nation increasingly concerned with energy conservation and carbon reduction, can focus on energy-efficient design and implementation. BREEAM, while certainly recognizing the importance of energy efficiency, does not offer as detailed or comprehensive a framework in this regard. As a result LEED in UK has an upper hand.

4. Resilience to Climate Change

Climate change poses a significant challenge to the built environment, and it is essential for certification systems to address it effectively. LEED in UK stands out for its specific prerequisites and credits related to resilience and adaptation to climate change. By incorporating the LEED Resilience category, projects are encouraged to consider climate resilience and create structures that can withstand and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. This aspect is vital for a nation like the UK, which often faces the adversities of extreme weather events.

5. Innovation and Technological Upgrades

LEED is known for its willingness to adapt and incorporate cutting-edge technologies and design strategies. In the UK, where technological advancements in construction are continually evolving, embracing LEED in UK can be of advantage. The LEED system is regularly updated to reflect the latest developments and trends in sustainability, ensuring that certified buildings remain at the cutting edge of environmentally responsible design and construction. BREEAM, although adaptable in its own right, may not be as quick to embrace new technologies or trends.

How to Choose: LEED in UK v/s BREEAM in UK

While both LEED and BREEAM are exceptional sustainability certification systems, there are several compelling reasons why LEED in UK often emerges as the preferred choice for many projects in the United Kingdom. However, it’s essential to remember that the choice between LEED and BREEAM ultimately depends on the unique goals and priorities of each project, and both systems have their strengths in advancing the cause of sustainable construction in the United Kingdom.

If you are interested in getting a LEED certificate for your project, you can help your team achieve that by becoming a LEED accredited professional. Start your journey by signing up for the LEED Green Associate Program by Archiroots.

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