BREEAM In-Use (BIU) is an environmental assessment method that enables property investors, owners, managers and occupiers to determine and drive sustainable improvements in the operational performance of their existing buildings. It provides sustainability benchmarking and assurance for all building types.
The value of BIU consists in:
- Lower running costs. BIU identifies ways to continuously improve efficiencies through monitoring, evaluation and setting performance targets that are assessed against tangible benchmarks.
- Increased asset value and recognition. Improved asset performance means that BREEAM-certified buildings support lower vacancy rates, higher rental premiums and provide a reputable and meaningful route to ESG.
- Improved health and well-being. High standards of internal environments, such as air quality and lighting, and the promotion of active, healthy lifestyles are recognised to improve wellbeing, productivity and satisfaction of people living or working in the asset.
- Recognising resilience. BIU considers an asset’s exposure to a range of risks from climate change and other drivers including flooding, pollution, natural hazards and security.
- Supporting a circular economy. BIU adopts circular economy concepts to rethink how resources are considered, from a linear ‘take-make-waste’ approach to a more efficient and circular approach towards waste and materials.
- Bridging the performance gap. Measuring and understanding the performance of buildings helps achieve designed levels of performance. BIU users can start planning improvements and stimulating positive change based on actual performance data and transform modelled outputs into actual outputs.
- Leading the way to net-zero carbon. The world is heading for a net-zero carbon future in response to global challenges and growing demand from consumers, governments and investors. BIU provides a pathway towards achieving operational net-zero carbon and beyond, using an integrated energy tool to measure stepped performance that is based on robust research, development and many years of experience as a world-leading environmental assessment methodology.
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BIU is a performance-based assessment method for the certification of existing residential and commercial assets. The primary aim of BIU is to mitigate the operational impacts of existing assets on the environment. Clients can measure, evaluate and reflect the performance of their new assets against best practice in an independent, cost-effective and robust manner.
The BIU assessment process is broken down into two Parts:
- Asset Performance: benchmarking the performance of the asset, outlining areas of best practice, as well as potential scope for improvement.
- Management Performance: benchmarking the building management processes used within an asset, outlining areas of best practice, as well as potential to reach optimal asset performance.
The outcome of a BIU assessment is a certified rating for the Parts which an assessment is undertaken against. All Parts can be assessed and certified in isolation, and each will receive an independent rating, reflecting performance across the nine environmental categories below. The process enables performance levels to be benchmarked, providing the platform for informed management decisions to be made, helping to optimise performance. Through on-going assessments, BIU encourages continual improvement.
Encourages sustainable management practices throughout the life cycle of the asset, ensuring that both technical and non-technical building users have appropriate guidance on how they can help maximise sustainable performance. This enables assets to put in place clear targets and provide feedback loops to ensure that processes can be optimised moving forward.
- Health and Well-being
Encourages assets to provide healthy, safe, comfortable and accessible environments, both internally and externally, for their building users.
Encourages the reduction of energy use by recognising building with lower operational energy consumption and carbon emissions over the lifetime of the asset. It assesses the inherent energy efficiency of the building fabric, installed servicing systems and renewable energy generation capacity.
Encourages the provision of improved access to local amenities and to sustainable means of transport, i.e. public transport and other alternative transport solutions for building users. This enables solutions that support a reduction in car journeys and, therefore, congestion and CO₂ emissions over the life of the asset.
Encourages sustainable water use throughout the operation of the asset, and the associated site. This ensures the asset focuses on identifying means of reducing potable water consumption (internal and external) over the lifetime of the building and minimising losses through leakage.
Encourages the prudent and responsible use of resources including materials and waste. To reduce whole life impacts from resource use the category requires users to consider the environmental impacts of the operations for the life of an asset. The category encourages users to evaluate resource use within the context of a circular economy and waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy.
Encourages consideration of an asset’s exposure to a range of risks such as; climate-related physical risks and local watercourse pollution, excess material damage, and physical security. Then encourages the pro-active management of these risks to minimise their impact and ensure rapid recovery.
- Land Use and Ecology
Encourages assets to gain an awareness of the current and potential ecological value on-site, and the potential impact the operation of the asset has on this value. This enables long-term strategies, including those for management and maintenance, to be established that will protect and enhance ecological value in the future.
Encourages the prevention and control of both airborne and waterborne pollution associated with the asset’s location and use. Then encourages the asset to pro-actively minimise the risk of pollution on surrounding communities and environments, as well as managing the transition risks associated with refrigerants.
The value of data collection
Real estate owners, occupiers, developers and funders around the world are facing ever increasing demands to address Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG. This results in a need to have clear reporting processes related to the assets they own, manage and occupy. By gathering, analysing and sharing data trends related to the performance of these assets, BIU can help clients to develop a common understanding of how their assets perform, outlining the areas which present the largest opportunity for improvement.
Assessing an asset according to BIU means a client can:
- Set key performance indicators for energy, water, waste and greenhouse gas performance.
- Understand the performance of assets within their portfolios.
- Benchmark individual assets against other assets within owner portfolios.
- Optimise the performance of their assets through good management, maintenance and occupation policies and procedures.
- Set performance improvement targets and measure progress over time.
BIU International has been developed for use in all countries where there is no locally adapted version. Please refer to this link for further details on countries with local adapted version of BREEAM.
The object of the BIU certification is an asset. It does not have to include the whole building; it could include just part of a building or a single floor. In such cases, the scope of the BIU assessment must include all relevant amenity and service areas. An asset cannot normally include more than one building. The only exception is where several buildings meet the following criteria:
- All buildings must be located on the same site. The boundary of the site must be drawn where responsibility of management or ownership of the site changes.
- All buildings must have the same building function, similar performance, and be of the similar design and age.
- Building management and maintenance policies, procedures and approach must be the same across all the buildings that make up the asset to ensure consistent implementation.
- Evidence must be collated from each building that is included in the asset and where performance against the BREEAM requirements varies, the final score will be determined by the space with the lowest level of performance.
BIU rating benchmarks enable a client and all other stakeholders to compare the performance of assets. In this respect each BREEAM rating broadly represents:
- Outstanding (85%-100%): Performance that goes beyond best practice.
- Excellent (70%-85%): Performance that represents best practice.
- Very Good (55%-85%): Performance that represents advanced good practice.
- Good (40%-55%): Performance that represents intermediate good practice.
- Pass (25%-40%): Performance that represents standard good practice.
- Acceptable (10%-25%): Performance that represents performance that meets BREEAM’s minimum levels of performance for key environmental issues.