Chapter 12Environmental Assessment Tools: An Overview of the UK’s BREEAM and the US’s LEED

Ina Colombo, Benedict Ilozor and Herbert Robinson

12.1 Introduction

The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is to the UK what the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC's) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is to the US. Design economics is intrinsically linked to the environmental aspects of buildings and often involves a complex relationship establishing a trade-off between the initial capital cost, life cycle cost and environmental cost. BREEAM and LEED provide the means to better appreciate these relationships. Case studies show that to achieve a BREEAM environmental rating of ‘very good’, that is to reduce environmental cost or increase environmental scores, an uplift of 0.2% on capital cost is required. To achieve ‘excellent’ rating, 0.7% increase in capital cost is necessary. Although no such relationships have been specifically drawn between capital costs and the LEED rating, there is likely to be a close comparison in capital cost uplifts for LEED ratings of Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The initial capital cost comprises the cost of design, construction, supply and installation of building components. The life cycle costs relate to the daily, weekly and annual maintenance costs for cleaning, repair, redecoration, replacement and energy consumption. The environmental costs include the costs associated with resource ...

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