Why choose BREEAM?

Clients choose BREEAM certification because it helps them deliver and validate the sustainability value of their assets cost effectively and to an internationally recognised and robust standard, tried and tested since it was first launched in 1990.

In doing so BREEAM helps clients manage and mitigate risk through demonstrating sustainability performance during planning, design, construction, operation or refurbishment, helping to lower running costs, maximise returns through market value and attract and retain tenants with desirable places to live and work.





The business case for BREEAM

Balancing cost and life cycle value

BREEAM was created as a cost-effective means of recognising the value of sustainable development. It helps investors, developers, design and construction teams and occupiers to use resources more efficiently. There may be additional capital cost to building to the enhanced standards of BREEAM, but this cost needs to be seen in the context of the overall life cycle value that sustainable development delivers for a multitude of stakeholders. Growing evidence is demonstrating that sustainable developments, like those delivered to BREEAM standards, offer value in many ways.

Reducing operational costs

Research carried out by construction consultants Sweett Group and BRE found that the capital cost uplift required to achieve higher BREEAM ratings in commercial office developments is typically less than 1%.

Furthermore, analysis of additional costs associated with BREEAM certification at a high standard, in terms of energy efficiency and water saving technologies, has shown that these cost are relatively modest and that forecast payback is typically less than five years for energy and less than two years for water, with substantial long term savings. The same research found that achieving lower BREEAM ratings can incur little or no additional cost.

In addition, a property industry survey carried out by research and consultancy organisation BSRIA with Schneider Electric, and supported by BRE, gathered clients’ views on value. This found the number of clients saying they had paid a green premium to develop a sustainable building was fairly evenly matched, with 49% of clients saying they had incurred significant extra costs to reach their BREEAM target rating, while 41% said they did not. One survey respondent commented, “We would have done it all anyway as we are driven by what the market wants, and sustainability features highly on this.” The full survey conclusions are published in the report, The Value of BREEAM.

Helping to limit investor and developer risk

Climate change, evolving regulation and tenant expectations pose increasing challenges for existing buildings and their owners and investors. Buildings and built environment assets that are less resilient and maladapted to the demands of economies, society and the natural environment may face the risk of devaluation and could eventually become stranded assets.

For example, commercial property network the Better Buildings Partnership has highlighted the risks for investors in the UK of the forthcoming Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, which will in the future require rented homes and commercial property to reach a minimum energy performance standard. This notes that properties falling below the standard may potentially be subject to, “a negative impact on collateral value and a consequent increase in the loan to value ratio.” Further information is contained in the Better Buildings Partnership report, Sustainability bites? – The Impact of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for Commercial Real Estate Lending.

Making assets more attractive to let, sell or retain

There is growing evidence to show that sustainable buildings offer increased rates of return for investors, and increased rental rates and sales premiums for developers and owners.

In a 2018 publication by the UKGBC Capturing the value of sustainability”, a case study highlighted analysis carried out by Landsec, one of the UK’s largest commercial property companies, on 101 property assets in their portfolio. The analysis showed BREEAM certification is a significant variable in rental performance and that certified BREEAM Excellent assets outperform non-certified assets by more than 100%, with an average contracted rent of £47.5/ft2 vs £23/ft2.

An earlier study by Maastricht University published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) looked at data from transactions from 2000 to 2009 for a sample of BREEAM office buildings in London. The resulting report, Supply, Demand and the Value of Green Buildings found that these buildings achieved a:

  • 21% premium on transaction prices
  • 18% premium on rents.

A survey of the property investment professionals carried out by law firm DLA Piper found they considered value preservation and increase to be the prime benefit of sustainable property. When asked whether they saw a green premium in terms of market rents or yields/capitalisation, 11% of the property investment community saw a high premium, and a further 68% saw a moderate or low premium. Full results are contained in the DLA Piper report, Towards a Greener Future.

This view was confirmed by the Better Buildings Partnership report, which notes that building ratings and certifications, are, “increasingly seen within the real estate industry as a mark of quality and attractiveness”. It continues: “There’s a growing body of research suggesting such sustainability characteristics can have a positive impact on value through higher rental premiums, higher occupancy rates and reduced obsolescence. Therefore, lending against such properties should reduce the risk of the borrower’s inability to make the repayments over the term of the loan.”

Creating productive and healthy places to live and work

Sustainable buildings can have a host of benefits for the people who live and work in them. Standards like BREEAM help to create workplaces with good indoor air quality, good lighting and daylighting levels and higher perceptions of thermal and acoustic comfort than average offices. As an example of the impact such factors can have, research by the World Green Building Council says better indoor air quality can help improve staff productivity levels by as much as 8-11%. Their report, Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices, was sponsored by JLL, Lend Lease and Skanska.

There is a growing body of evidence to support the value added to a BREEAM assessed and certified asset.  Please view the independently published documents below and those in our resource library to read for yourself how clients and stakeholders have benefited from using the BREEAM standards.

Supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals

On 1 January 2016, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by world leaders in 2015, came into force. The 17 SDGs apply to all countries with the aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030 as part of a new sustainable development agenda. To achieve the SDGs, all aspects of society, from government to the private sector to the general public, will need to play their part. The construction and property sector have an essential role in delivering the SDGs and their associated targets, given the significant economic, environmental and social impacts and benefits associated with construction products, buildings and infrastructure throughout their lifecycles. We continue to evolve the family of BREEAM standards and tools to enable significant contributions towards meeting the SDGs. Download our infographic to see where BREEAM supports each of the 17 SDGs.

Independent reports highlighting the value of BREEAM

BREEAM core values

The foundation of BREEAM is The Code for a Sustainable Built Environment, which is a strategic international framework for sustainability assessment of the built environment, also known as The Code. The Code consists of a set of strategic principles and requirements which define an integrated approach to the design, construction, management, evaluation and certification of the environmental, social and economic impacts across the full life cycle of the built environment. The Code is interpreted through a Core Technical Standard and a Core Process Standard, both supported by Core Science.

The Code for a Sustainable Built Environment

The BREEAM Core Standards interpret The Code as two separate but linked documents, one focusing on technical and the other on process/operational requirements. These documents list the requirements that each scheme and scheme operator must comply with in order to be affiliated with BREEAM.

The Code provides a balanced approach minimising impacts on the global and local environment; and maximising the following:

  • resource efficiency
  • health, wellbeing, comfort, safety and security of users and others
  • social and cultural value
  • opportunities for effective and efficient use of facilities
  • direct and indirect economic benefits

Compliance with The Code, requires the standards, benchmarks, methodologies and guidance in all BREEAM schemes to be:

  • Based on robust, peer reviewed science
  • Based on a holistic and balanced consideration of benefits and burdens to stakeholders
  • Independently audited where leading to formal certification or external claims of performance
  • Fully and openly documented in terms of their scientific basis, inclusivity, technical requirements and operational principles
  • Based on established regulatory, construction and management practices and protocols to maximise relevance and acceptability

The Code’s framework enables BRE Global Ltd to apply the principles of robust science and independence, which have always underpinned BREEAM, to drive sustainability across the built environment and on a global scale. A key feature of the framework is the ability to allow organisations in other countries to adapt BREEAM to their local context and affiliate their processes, products and tools with BREEAM across all life cycle stages of the built environment. At the same time, it ensures that the key underpinning standards are applied consistently but in a market focused way.

Message from the directors

Fostering confidence to innovate

Since its inception, BREEAM has been driving innovation and change in the design, construction and operation of our buildings. More recently it has extended its reach beyond the building and into the wider built environment. It has influenced policy, regulation, standards and industry practices around the world and remains at the leading edge. Learn more.


Alan Yates
Technical Director
BRE Global

Sustainability and trust

All the Directors as well as every BREEAM employee, both past and present are passionate about what we do, it’s not just the BREEAM standards that are the result of extensive research and learning from worldwide best practise, but also our collaborative work with the construction industry, which helps us drive improvements to create amazing buildings and sustainable market transformation that we all seek. Learn more.

Martin Townsend
Sustainability Director
BRE Global

Client testimonials

“BREEAM Communities encapsulates our strategic approach to development. We regard the assessment process as cost neutral as it helps smooth out the planning process and demonstrates the high quality we would be seeking to achieve.” 

Dave Bullock, MD, Compendium Living

“The high BREEAM target score set by Westmark was pivotal in securing the Environment Agency as a prestigious and long term tenant. It also gives the tenant the opportunity to reduce running costs, the extent of this being determined by how they choose to use the building services incorporated into the design.”

Adrian Slade, Westmark

“Using BREEAM means we focus not only on the buildings’ initial design and construction phase, but we also keep in mind the best, most efficient maintenance and upkeep once the facilities are in use.” 

Rosa Lopez, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Neinver

“By implementing BREEAM In-Use certification on our building we truly believe that the running costs of the building will be lower and the building market value will increase. In addition, we believe tenants will be more willing to rent or extend contracts.” 

Alexander Galos, Owner, Olympia Business Park

Delivering confidence and trust through robustness and independence

Click below to find out how, as an accredited third party certification body, we ensure trust and confidence in BREEAM standards and our certification mark.

Independence - Have confidence that the charitable ownership of BRE ensures BREEAM is independent of specific commercial interests

Expertise - Have trust in a technical standard built on sound science and informed by its application and users

Accreditation - Have confidence in our capability, impartiality and integrity

Governance - Have trust in safeguards that uphold your interest in our certification activities

Impartiality - Beyond reproach is the BRE Way, it differentiates us from our competitors and can help you to succeed

A trusted mark - BREEAM certification is a mark that you and your customers and stakeholders can trust

International Partners

BRE Logo

Norwegian Green Building Council
Sweden Green Building Council

BREEAM works with a number of organisations establishing partnerships that promote sustainability internationally and at a local level. Visit the Location page or Contact Us to find out more about schemes and the scheme operators in your country.