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Is BREEAM carbon neutral?

by Mel Starrs on November 30, 2006


One of the neat things about having a blog is finding out how folks find me.  Recently someone has found me by asking a search engine the question – Is BREEAM carbon neutral?

I’m happy to answer that question – unfortunately, no.  BREEAM is not currently carbon neutral.  Which brings up a topic I had a conversation with someone about only yesterday.   BREEAM’s goalposts shift – on an annual basis.  The aim of the scheme is to always remain ahead of the average building – otherwise what would be the point? If BRE made a BREEAM certificate reliant on a building being carbon neutral, very few would pass, the scheme would be rejected by the marketplace and there would be no incentive to move on.  By shifting aspirations a little each year, BRE are giving the marketplace a chance to catch up with the forerunners.  And if the marketplace catches up quickly, the goalposts get further and further away.

A carbon neutral scheme under today’s scheme, depending on location and site conditions, would more than likely score an ‘EXCELLENT’ rating.  In 10 years time, I very much hope it would be the norm, and the same scheme would score ‘GOOD’ or ‘VERY GOOD’.

It’s worth remembering this in today’s market too.  What scored ‘EXCELLENT’ in 2004 (pre Part L 2006) would probably only score a ‘VERY GOOD’ in 2006 or 2007.  The scheme compares buildings to their peers – and is time specific.  That’s why they are dated.

Any more questions?  (BTW, the 5th query on the graphic above refers to this post on culture)