What’s new in BREEAM New Construction 2014

Sea Breeam

The forthcoming BREEAM New Construction 2014 is another rung up this long and ever extending ladder to sustainability, but what’s new and what are the changes concerning insulation?

BREEAM is still seen as the best practice methodology to achieve built sustainability, and with its checklists and credits its still the machine pulling industry towards meeting the needs of the present without compromising. What I like about rating schemes such as BREEAM is that they are not perfect, hence the desire for feedback from public consultation within the industry. Continual development of these schemes push us further towards reducing negative environmental impacts.

So which, if any, changes concern insulating materials? Well not too much, but one of the points to come out of a consultation I attended is to account for any changes in the new Part L. One thing I would say is that tightening Part L is a positive step for energy efficiency, nonetheless to realise that Part L is just for compliance. In BREEAM we need further strong drivers such as how to better utilise materials and their resources. The BES6001 standard is a great example of reducing impact through the whole supply and manufacturing process. This approach of minimising impact over material life-cycle delivers more sustainable products.

In addition to the preceding version of BREEAM, the new BREEAM 2014 drivers include greater alignment with CEN/TC 350. The issue with life cycle analysis is that it needs to be consistent across industry to gain greater influence, therefore to move in line with CEN/TC 350 can only be a good thing. BREEAM it appears is going to follow a similar approach to other ‘second generation building assessments’ like the DGBN. Its based on quantitative measures and making far more use of the life cycle approach. However we have to be aware of tunnel vision – an exaggerated focus on the elements with a high impacts. Life cycle analysis necessitates integration in a whole building scale assessment similar to BREEAM’s core principles. We cant loose sight of the fact that BREEAM has excellent overarching potentials that covers items such as Ecology, Health and Wellbeing that other assessments do not.

The problem is that sustainability assessments are subjective to personal sustainability concerns. Hopefully we won’t loose BREEAM’s originality and usability with this update, but incorporate the next level of building assessment techniques.

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Kingspan Insulation is a market leading manufacturer of optimum, premium and high performance rigid insulation products and insulated systems for building fabric and building services applications.

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