Oct 23 2014

Using technology to achieve BREEAM, LEED and Green Star accreditation

Sustainability is becoming intrinsically linked to the construction and real estate industries’ financial agenda. The UK Government’s first chief construction advisor Paul Morrell regularly repeated his view that, while “Cash is King,” “Carbon is Queen.” Creating a built environment that is more sustainable in the long term remains at the heart of government thinking.

Driving SustainabilityGreen Globe

In addition to the obvious moral and environmental prerogatives for delivering built assets with a sustainable legacy there are also commercial drivers for reducing carbon and improving the green credentials of a project.

Government and public sector projects increasingly mandate the implementation of green building best practices whilst appreciation of the reputational value of delivering green projects is growing in the private sector.

This creates an opportunity for early and effective adopters of sustainability in construction and the built environment to gain a competitive advantage.

Global methodologies to improve environmental standards

We have seen several parallel initiatives to help improve the green performance of buildings and other built assets over the years. Foremost of these have been the creation of environmental assessment methodologies; for example:

• BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) was the world’s first and remains the most widely used method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings (in the UK and over 50 other countries)
• LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was first developed in the US during the 1990s, and is now widely used across the US and other countries
• Green Star is a voluntary sustainability rating system for buildings in Australia, launched in 2003

To attain these accreditations, evidence in the form of certificates and documentation is submitted for verification by independent third parties. Scoring is marked against a range of categories resulting in an overall mark for the project/building.

How AEC collaboration systems are helping to deliver green projects

Experienced asset owner/operators and contractors have put in place appropriate processes and systems that will help them achieve and maintain their environmental objectives throughout the built asset lifecycle.

These systems include AEC collaboration platforms that exist to create a Common Data Environment (CDE) for a project. Within a CDE all designs, drawings, calculations and specifications along with post-construction assessment based on the “as-built” data are collated and stored centrally in easily accessed folder structures.

For example, recognising the extensive and rigorous requirements involved with attaining the LEED certification, Dubai developer Nakheel integrated their project supply chain within a collaborative environment, thus ensuring they had a central repository of all built asset data complete with an indelible audit trail.

This enabled them to achieve the first LEED Gold Standard for a hotel in the Middle-East, whilst in Europe Skanska also achieved LEED accreditations with similar methods.

Clients are increasingly adopting the “Soft Landings” approach (where the construction contractor maintains the built asset during its early operational lifecycle), requiring the contractor to incorporate the post-handover energy and environmental data into FM processes and collaborative workflows enabling owner/operators to maintain the environmental efficiency of their buildings in order to uphold their certifications.

Utilising software solutions to create a CDE enables the smooth transfer of the required asset data between the construction and operation phases of the project supporting the contractor in following a Soft Landings strategy.

CONJECT certified as carbon neutral CONJECT Carbon Neutral

By taking responsibility for all of our carbon emissions, our SaaS applications have a net zero carbon footprint. And being the first AEC collaborative software to meet the standards of the The Carbon Neutral Protocol, we are keen to help our clients to reduce the environmental impact of their built assets.

As part of our commitment to providing solutions for infrastructure lifecycle management (ILM) of any built asset, we feel it is vital that our customers should also be equipped to handle their assets’ environmental performance. Therefore, our product roadmap includes improved support for sustainability assessment methodologies, so that customers can learn lessons to make future assets even more environmentally efficient.

Related blogs:

Are you ready for Soft Landings?

The role of PAS1192 in optimising asset management

What is the Common Data Environment?

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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