Retail building sector benefits from BREEAM certification


In a climate of reducing carbon emissions and cutting operating expenditure, BREEAM certification is proving its worth for the retail building sector

A new report “Delivering Sustainable Buildings: Value of BREEAM to Retail in the UK” has been published, highlighting the benefits of BREEAM certification to the retail building sector. The report, which was published by researchers at BREEAM and international asset management consultancy Currie & Brown, goes into the details of the cost savings associated with BREEAM certification, and covers important lessons learned in two case studies.

Sustainability grading

BREEAM assessment is a form of sustainability grading whereby a building is graded on a scale from a simple pass, meaning the basic criteria has been met, to excellent whereby the building has utilised modern, state of the art sustainable construction. The assessment criteria takes into account a wide range of factors including the energy efficiency, building composition and even waste products the building generates.

Two case studies

The report is centred on two case studies: Marks and Spencer and the Crown Estate. Marks and Spencer give a real world example of how working towards a BREEAM excellent certification can give significant ongoing cost savings. The Crown Estate used the BREEAM criteria, as a key component of their new build programme which sees them working towards an excellent rating. Furthermore, guidance for other companies looking to emulate this success is also included.

Bringing property running costs down

Gavin Dunn, Director at BRE, the operators of BREEAM said: “BREEAM certification, the assessment process and, importantly, meeting the performance standards stipulated under the various assessment areas can help retailers and developers to improve the performance of their buildings.”

Dunn further elaborates: “In 2013, energy use and associated carbon cost the sector £3.3 billion. Adopting BREEAM performance standards brings valuable operational efficiencies associated with using a consistent industry standard method.

“It also acts as a spur to innovation and a tool to assist communications within project teams and other stakeholders.”

Adam Mactavish, Operations Director at Currie & Brown states: “This study illustrates the importance of the retail industry to life in the UK. It powerfully demonstrates the many ways that high sustainability standards help the sector get the most from its property, its largest operating cost after employment.”


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