BREEAM is currently the most prominent sustainability assessment and certification process. It recognises that quality buildings maximise benefits to users and minimise impact on the environment. It provides a consistent approach to assessing the quality of buildings against measurable criteria, allowing evidence-based benchmarks and targets to be set, regulatory requirements to be met or exceeded and comparisons made between buildings.
In simple terms BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who live and work in them, help protect natural resources and make for more attractive property investments. Energy, health, well-being, transport, water use, ecology & biodiversity, materials, waste and pollution are measured, with credits awarded under each metric, equating to an overall score which distinguishes a building in achieving its certification rating. The BREEAM methodology also covers an international market, with BREEAM new construction and fit-out assessments being carried out in 77 countries.
Whilst there are assessments for all types of buildings – domestic, public, commercial and industrial – and all stages of a building’s lifecycle – new construction, fit-out, refurbishment and in-use – in the fast-moving data centre space, accreditations and as built certifications are often quickly outdated.
So, this Summer, we were delighted to be invited to help develop the international criteria annex with BRE Global, to update it and make it more applicable for new data centres. Over a period of several weeks, alongside other industry experts, we shared our knowledge and experience gathered over many years in the sector to make this standard relevant. The process involved aligning the criteria with the output required by other standards, such as the EU Code of Conduct, to ensure that organisations would not have to undertake onerous additional assessments.
This means that moving forward international data centre owners and operators will be able to achieve a real BREEAM rating which takes into account the nature of their building and does not penalise it with a lower score. In turn, this should incentivise companies to focus on sustainable design and operation – not just with regards to energy but also through sourcing plant and equipment.
Read the BRE Global announcement of the BREEAM Data Centres Annex Pilot HERE.