Over the years, approximately 5.6 million commercial buildings have been built in America. It’s safe to say the majority of the owners and property managers have not benchmarked their operations and have little knowledge about how efficient – or not – their building actually is. It’s like trusting you’re living a healthy lifestyle, but never going to a doctor for your annual physical.
Until now, most available green building rating systems have prerequisites to meet before starting the certification program. This unfortunately leaves only the top performing commercial buildings eligible for certification, eliminating the remaining 90 percent. That’s why it made sense to finally bring the BREEAM standard to the United States. Class B and C buildings now have an opportunity to easily improve operations and then certify their buildings with an internationally recognized rating system so they too can realize higher market value.
Backed by years of scientific research, BREEAM In-Use is an independent assessment used around the world, and is the number one green building rating system in Europe. The good news for American property owners and managers is that BREEAM In-Use is now available in the US.
BRE partnered with BuildingWise, the award-winning U.S.-based LEED certification consultancy group, to establish BREEAM USA and develop BREEAM USA In-Use, the BREEAM program for existing buildings in the United States. BREEAM USA In-Use is available to all existing buildings, no matter their size, age or condition. It is an easy-to-use program. A property owner or manager simply registers their asset and gets access to an online questionnaire covering nine environmental categories, giving them a robust, science-based tool to benchmark the performance of their assets.
BREEAM is proven to work. This program is the latest version of the BREEAM rating system, which has a 26-year track record of driving efficiency improvements in new and existing buildings around the world.
BREEAM USA In-Use is made up of three parts: Asset Performance, Building Management and Occupier Management. This enables owners and managers to focus on the area that will deliver the most value to them. An owner of an older building might want to understand how the building enclosure and core services are performing. In this case they would only conduct Part 1, the Asset Performance, to see what effect various upgrades would have. The online tool allows you the flexibility to focus on just one part or complete all three for complete benchmarking.
The BREEAM USA In-Use online tool is available for up to one year from the date of building registration. After initially using the tool for benchmarking, BREEAM In-Use offers a framework for improving operational performance. Once owners and managers are happy with performance outcomes, they have the opportunity to certify the asset and promote their healthy building. Licensed BREEAM USA In-Use Assessors are hired to conduct third-party, on-site verification to ensure the building data is accurate.
To learn more about registering a building or becoming a licensed BREEAM USA In-Use Assessor, visit www.breeamusa.com.