BREEAM and WELL align standards to streamline green building certifications

Created: December 13, 2016. Updated: December 13, 2017.

In a move that aims to make it easier for green building projects to achieve both the WELL Building Standard and BREEAM, the International WELL Building Institute and BRE have teamed up to identify alignments between the two standards and streamline the process for achieving both.

BREEAM, the leading UK green-building rating system, arrived in the US in June. The acronym stands for the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology and London-based Building Research Establishment, or BRE, manages the program.

The WELL Building Standard, launched in 2014, sets performance requirements in seven categories relevant to occupant health and wellbeing: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

“BREEAM assesses scientifically based criteria covering a range of issues in categories that evaluate energy and water use, health and wellbeing, pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes,” Paul Scialla, founder of the International WELL Building Institute. “While BREEAM sets out a baseline for how green building practices can improve the health and well-being of a building’s occupants, WELL takes a deeper dive into human health impacts. Pursuing both standards allows projects to address the health and wellness of people in buildings alongside environmental impact.”

To earn both WELL and BREEAM building certifications, developers or building owners are required to submit project documentation — showing energy efficiency or air quality features, for example — as well as undergo on-site, post-occupancy performance testing.

Green building is outpacing overall construction growth in the US. Building owners report seeing a median increase of 7% in the value of their green buildings compared to traditional buildings.

The WELL-BREEAM partnership comes at a time when corporations and the real estate industry are increasingly looking at how the built environment impacts human health as well as sustainability.

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