Open-access content Tuesday 22nd March 2011 — updated 12.51pm, Tuesday 26th May 2020
Breeam In-Use is an online self-
assessment tool designed to improve
a building’s sustainability profile and
integration with the existing built environment.
by Victoria Hughes
24 March 2011
Measuring an existing building’s sustainability profile using Breeam In-Use is a simple process which has become increasingly important in the facilities management profession. Legislation such as CRCEES and the requirement for Display Energy Certificates (DEC) in public buildings has sharpened the focus on energy efficiency while finance directors are increasingly aware of the impact of sustainability on the bottom line.
If used correctly, BIU can be a powerful tool in the campaign to improve environmental performance across a property portfolio.
BIU is made up of three parts: parts 1 and 2 are relevant to all non-domestic commercial, industrial, retail and institutional buildings; part 3 focuses on offices. The scheme is then split into three broad assessment areas – asset performance (the building), building management performance (the operation of the building), and organisational effectiveness (how occupiers manage their activities within a building). There is an easy-to-use question set and the process is designed to be fast – in a pilot for EDF, one assessment took around four hours to complete and nine buildings were assessed within 12 days.
All three parts of the rating scheme use the same categories as existing Breeam schemes, specifically energy, water, materials and waste, health and well-being, pollution, transport, land use and ecology and management. The weightings of the categories differ in each part of the assessment, as each category covers slightly different areas. However, energy has the highest weighting of all categories in all parts. This split allows facilities managers to focus their attention on the management of the building (ie organisational effectiveness) and then expand into improving other areas depending on the wishes of the client.
BIU also provides a better appreciation of the ‘design gap’ – the difference between how a building is designed and its actual operational performance. While there is a greater weighting towards energy, BIU is not just about energy certificates. It adds value to existing energy certification schemes such as those based on issuing non-domestic energy performance certificates and DEC.
The big difference between BIU and Design and Construction is that it is a self assessment tool; making the facilities manager responsible for completing the submission. Which means it is a great business tool as well as a sustainability performance tool.
Breeam vs Breeam In-Use
Achieving Breeam status is now a benchmark for quality in the UK built environment. BRE claim it is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a building’s environmental performance.
But it is focused on designers, builders and developers. Breeam In-Use, on the other hand, addresses the challenges posed by existing building stock – it allows the facilities managers and the occupiers of a building to obtain an indication of its sustainability performance before any independent auditing verifies the findings.
It is a great tool for FMs and something to be embraced and trained to use.
The three elements of the scheme can be summarised as follows:
Asset performance – the inherent performance characteristics of the building based on its built form, construction and services
Building management performance – the management policies, procedures and practices related to the operation of the building, the consumption of key resources such as energy, water and other consumables, and environmental impacts such as carbon and waste generation
Organisational effectiveness – the understanding and implementation of management policies, procedures and practices, staff engagement, and delivery of key outputs.
All three are central to the role of any FM in supporting client lead initiatives. Breeam In-Use when used effectively in collaboration with your customer will drive greater performance.
BREAAM TOP TIPS
Top ten tips for FMs to drive the Breeam In-Use assessment
1. Liaise with customer’s to obtain quality data
2. Ensure accurate monitoring of energy use (ideally remotely)
3. Monitor water use in the building
4. Liaise with waste management providers to obtain accurate waste reports
5. Promote source segregation of waste to improve the percentage of waste recycled
6. Maintain good records for maintenance and compliance
7. Procure and purchase materials that have a low environmental impacts
8. Consider a cleaning ‘policy’ and occupant satisfaction surveys
9. Develop meaningful targets and communicate to building occupants on progress
10. Obtain feedback from the building occupants and provide training to designated champions
Victoria Hughes is innovation and sustainability manager for Vinci Facilities