>>Green Building Certification

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Green Building Certification2022-02-28T17:33:19+00:00

Green Building Certification

A growing number of real estate sector companies are committed, as an integral part of their Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) strategy, to ensuring sustainable development and fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As proof of this commitment, companies engaged in building construction, building renovation or use optimisation, whether regarding a given property or a property portfolio, increasingly seek to obtain green building certifications, issued by independent entities.

Our in-depth knowledge and extensive experience allow us to achieve the best results with respect to the implementation of worldwide recognised green building certification systems.

BREEAM is an international assessment system developed in 1990 by the BRE (Building Research Establishment), in the United Kingdom. This system, which measures the degree of environmental sustainability of buildings, boasts the world’s largest number of certified buildings (532,000), particularly in Europe, where the organisation has issued 65% of all its certificates.

The BREEAM system applies to all types of buildings (Offices, Commercial, Logistics, Residential, Core & Shell, Hospitality, etc.) and projects:

  • Renovation or new construction – BREEAM International New Construction;
  • Existing buildings – BREEAM In Use.

According to the BREEAM methodology, a minimum rating is required for a certificate to be issued, based on compliance with a series of sustainability requirements pertaining to several categories: Management, Health and Well-being, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Waste, Land Use and Ecology, Pollution and Innovation.

Individual scores are given for each category, according to compliance with the requirements specified, which reflect project performance in each relevant category. Scores are then weighted to calculate a final rating for certification purposes. Possible ratings are Pass (≥30%), Good (≥45%), Very Good (≥55%), Excellent (≥70%) and Outstanding (≥85%).

BREEAM is a detailed, prescriptive system, based on well-defined procedures and adjusted to European legislation. A BREEAM Assessor will be responsible for auditing the project for certification purposes, based on project design and building data, after which the corresponding certificate will be issued by the certifying entity (BRE).

LEED is an international standard evaluation system designed in 1998 and attributed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), whose goal is to promote the construction of green buildings, based on sustainability, energy-efficiency and environmental principles. Implemented in more than 178 countries, LEED is the most widely used green building certification system.

The LEED system applies to all types of buildings (Offices, Commercial, Logistics, Residential, Core & Shell, Hospitality, Schools, Healthcare, Data Centres, etc.) and projects:

  • Renovation or new construction – LEED v4.0 or v4.1 Building Design + Construction;
  • Existing buildings – LEED v4.0 or v4.1 Operation + Maintenance.

A LEED certification ensures that the building in question was constructed such as to minimise the respective footprint. Building sustainability is evaluated through impact assessment, considering the following categories: Integrated Project Design and Planning; Location and Transportation, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality; Innovation; and Regional Priority.

Mandatory and non-mandatory requirements are defined for each LEED category, according to project objectives. Points are given according to compliance with applicable requirements and their sum calculated to obtain the final result. The four LEED certification levels are Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points) and Platinum (80+ points).

The main purposes of this certification are to maximise the health and productivity of occupants, minimise resource use and reduce waste, environmental impact and lifecycle costs.

LEED is a very flexible, simplified certification procedure focused on sustainability goals, primarily based on USA standards, namely ASHRAE. A LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) is usually responsible for managing the certification process and submission of the resulting report to the USGBC for evaluation and certificate issuing purposes.

WELL is the first certification system to evaluate buildings based on the well-being of their occupants. Issued by the USGBC and managed by the International WELL Building Institute, this certification system is based on the principle that buildings are a means of enhancing the health and well-being of their users, focusing on people and their social context.

WELL criteria are grouped into 10 concepts – Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community. WELL attributes four certification levels, according to the results achieved in these categories – Bronze (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points) and Platinum (80+ points).

Applicable to residential and commercial buildings, the WELL certification has been extremely well received in the office segment, where it has become an import guideline for companies seeking to adapt working areas and welfare policies such as to create a healthier working environment, promote employee satisfaction, increase productivity and ensure the necessary conditions for employees to realise their full potential.

This recent certification (2013) has gained relevance in the market after the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought new challenges to companies seeking to attract employees back to the workplace, in detriment of the home office.

WELL is also an essential tool for construction companies looking to develop projects aligned with market needs and demands, by promoting a more sustainable construction model, focused on the physical and mental health of occupants.

Green building certification systems – LEED, BREEAM and WELL – set out sustainable practices concerning a series of aspects, namely energy, water, transport and accessibility, materials, soil and ecosystem use, health and well-being, amongst others, which must be followed if building projects are to be considered sustainable. In this sense, these systems represent a benchmarking tool that can be used to certify the implementation of the aforementioned practices and classify building project according to the respective degree of adoption.

In technical terms, the primary purpose of these certification systems is to ensure the adoption of sustainability measures from the design stage, such as to reduce the impact of building projects over their lifecycle. Given the increased demand for this type of projects and current predictions regarding future requirements, it is imperative to ensure benefits are obtained, namely the following, as defined by the US Green Building Council:

  • 5% increase in the value of real estate assets;
  • 10% increase in rents;
  • 3% increase in occupancy rates;
  • 13% reduction in operation and maintenance costs, as a result of the following:
    • Reduced energy consumption (20 to 50%);
    • Reduced water consumption (40%); and
    • Reduced waste management costs (up to 75% recovery);
  • 35% reduction in workplace absenteeism; and
  • 2-10% improvement in job performance.

In order to ensure these goals, we rely on multidisciplinary teams with proven technical expertise to identify the best certification strategy and ensure compliance with Green Building procedures and technical requirements, according to the certification goals intended by the project owner.

We provide consulting services throughout the entire process, from preliminary analysis, such as to assess project needs, based on the certification model and level intended, to the issuing of the green building certificate by the responsible entity. Additionally, we manage all necessary procedures to ensure the correct implementation, monitoring and evaluation of green building measures and requirements.

We seek to ensure that our involvement contributes to the creation of value. We challenge the status quo in order to minimise the impact of building works, taking economic issues into account, and focus on building better relations with stakeholders and ensuring the success of each and every project.