BREEAM set to reward buildings using less peak-period energy

Buildings that are designed to use less energy during peak periods could be incentivised under a proposed update to BREEAM standards.

On Wednesday (24 May), BRE launched a public consultation on a raft of changes to its widely-used sustainability assessment method.

The organisation is mulling over whether to give credit for ‘flexible demand side response’ buildings that help take pressure off the electricity grid at times of high demand.

The consultation document said: “Buildings demonstrating lower peak demand have the potential to reduce carbon emissions since the availability of renewable energy generation is often limited during periods of high electricity demand.

“We are considering whether BREEAM should acknowledge and reward buildings that exhibit lower demand peak levels.”

In addition, the BREEAM ‘in use’ measure, which keeps track of real-world performance of buildings, could be amended to calculate emissions based on specific time periods when grid supply factors vary. Currently, this measure uses average annual emissions.

Elsewhere, the document proposes a new measure for whole-building water usage across new-build, refurbishment and in-use measures.

This would rationalise the current system, which addresses water uses covered by building regulations and unregulated water uses in different ways.

The consultation document said the move to whole-building water use would “enable carbon emissions from water consumption to be evaluated alongside other operational carbon emissions”.

The move would also allow for the same benchmarks to be used across predicted and measured water consumption, the document said.

A theme running throughout the document is the rationalisation of different regimes that currently cover new-build, refurbishment and in-use BREEAM credits.

The proposed changes would also update the methodology used to calculate carbon emissions.

BRE chief executive Gillian Charlesworth said: “By looking at energy and carbon science across the board, BRE continues to provide the leading assessment and certification method for the built environment, helping owners and occupiers around the world to address the most pressing sustainability challenges in a holistic way.

“We want to ensure that BREEAM reflects the latest developments in net-zero science and regulation to ensure users can drive sustainability projects beyond best practice, confident that their sustainability goals are being met.”

The consultation on version seven of BREEAM will close on 30 June.

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