Exemplary Credits

Additional credits to improve the buildings overall rating can be achieved under the BREEAM UK NC 2014 scheme. These are in the form of exemplary credits within the Mat 01 category, available through two different paths; The Green Guide to Specification or through Use of a Life Cycle Assessment Software tool. The former leads to an additional one credit while the later could lead to two credits. These two approaches could be used together to get a total of three additional credits or could be complied with in their individual capacity to earn their respective credits.
Green Guide to Specification (elemental approach) – 1 Credit

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An extra credit could be attained, if our building attains two points in excess to the minimum points required to achieve all credits within the Mat 01 category. This means for our design incase we had achieved 14 out of the 15 points available for our five building elements, we would not only have gained the full five credits from the Mat 01 category but an extra one credit, totaling to six.

Since in our trial case performed, we have missed the fifth credit by a margin of 1.5 points we would not be able to claim the additional credit unless we undergo change in materials for our building elements. This would require adding an extra 3.5 points to the existing 10.5 points achieved in the trial to achieve all the five credits and the additional credit.

Life Cycle Assessment software tools (whole building approach) – 2 Credits
By using an IMPACT complaint software to analyse the environmental, social and economic impact of our office, we can achieve an extra two credits. IMPACT complaint software tools; enable us through their database and specifications to produce Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC). Using the software we can input the environmental and cost information for our building elements into BIM, which makes use of this quantity information and multiplies it with environmental impact and/or the cost information to give an overall impact and cost for the entire design. The produced results can help us analyze the design, and hence improve the associated economic and environmental impacts. Further more it will help us compare our buildings performance against the set benchmarks by the BREEAM assessment scheme.
The buildings life cycle performance with respect to its primary and substructures can also be accurately modeled. Primarily because the BIM led whole building assessment offers calculations resulting from real design data and accurate quantities rather than generalized information. To ensure all of this analysis is done in compliance with the BREEAM standards the design team will have to submit its BIM model to the BRE assessor, who can certify that all BREEAM quality assurance requirements are met.?
Recommendations
To achieve a high rating within the BREEAM UK NC 2014 scheme it is of great importance that we devise an office design, with high levels of performance with respect to the specifications environmental criteria. There will obviously be limitations to the design resulting from the project site and other factors, which may restrict improvements in a few categories such as ecology and transport. As a counter for these a technique must be developed to improve the assessment score by targeting available credits, which can be influenced by the design team.

Building materials directly impact design, construction, maintenance and repair phases of a building. Within the materials category, credits are awarded for their life cycle impacts, responsible sourcing, landscaping, insulation, durability and resilience related performance and overall efficiency. These subdivisions within the materials category again have chain effect with regards to performance of other environmental criteria such as pollution, transport, energy and health and wellbeing. Hence a detailed analysis of the available material and their proper usage could greatly influence the overall building rating.

Reasonable material usage coupled with modern techniques such as in the case of 52 Lime Street, an office in London led them to achieve an Excellent BREEAM rating for their design. The concept minimized use of concrete and made use of an efficient mechanical design, high performance building envelope and low energy lighting to achieve 25% operational carbon reduction.

As mentioned earlier on each of the categories in the assessment has different amounts of credits associated to them along with a varied level of weightage. Hence it is beneficial to prioritize on getting the bigger chunks of the credits from categories such as energy, management, transport, health and well being pollution and materials. Not to say that any of the categories should be skipped but since it is hard to come up with an ideal plan which ensures all criteria are met having the above mentioned as the main drivers in the design could lead to a higher level of rating.

Within the BREEAM 2014 UK NC specification there are ten points for innovation, which can be achieved through a well-planned and implemented unique design. An example of this includes the BREEAM UK award winner for 2018 in the office category, the Bloomberg London Headquarters. The building through its highly innovative techniques such as integrated ceilings design, water conservation, breathable building design, smart airflow and processes like combined heat and power was termed as the highest performance building in the UK in a central urban environment. Furthermore the building achieved the highest sustainability ratings in the BREEAM office category a score of 98.5%.

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Conclusion

Preliminary studies for our office with regards to the concerned ten environmental categories of the BREEAM UK NC 2014 assessment could help us predict a score and hence an achievable BREEAM rating. This rating can be analyzed and improvements within the environmental performance of the buildings can be carried out to move the ratings to the desired level. This could lead to higher levels of sustainable practices both in the construction and later on in the operation mode of the building. Credits can be maximized within each category by optimizing associated environmental, economic and social inputs.

All potential credits wherever possible should be investigated into and a line of action to achieve these should be formulated. These additional credits allow room for the possibility of still achieving our desired rating even if we loose a few credits in the BRE QA process. Similarly all exemplary credits within each category should be reviewed in the earliest stages of design phase to ensure their achievability and ultimately lead us to our intended rating.

Hence an overall approach, which is well focused on all environmental factors that could lead to a high level rating, is essential. Materials can play a significant role in this as they directly influence all the other categories of the BREEAM assessment. However factors could be prioritized based on the level of credits associated with them and the client’s eagerness to achieve them, coupled with the input required to do so.