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Over the past few decades, green building rating systems such as LEED and BREEAM have been firm fixtures of the global AEC industry and have helped the drive towards a more sustainable, resource efficient and environmentally conscious built environment. Whilst these rating systems have, to some extent, considered the comfort of the occupants using the buildings, the primary focus has been on efficiency and the impact our buildings have on the external environment.
This, of course, is a highly worthy cause which we must continue to pursue if we are to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, the health and wellbeing of building occupants – now captured in the first-of-its-kind WELL Building Standard – is quickly establishing itself as another important focus for the industry. This is unsurprising, really, given the wider trend for wellness currently sweeping the globe.
In 2015, the Global Wellness Institute valued the total global wellness market at a staggering $3.7 trillion, covering everything from wellness tourism to healthy eating and nutrition. However, it was the global wellness real estate market that was found to be one of the fastest-growing wellness sectors between 2013-2015, growing an impressive 19% from $100 billion to $118.6 billion. In the same period, the global workplace wellness industry also grew 6.4%, highlighting a growing awareness amongst employers of how the office environment can affect the health, wellbeing and productivity of their staff – and, consequently, their overheads. (You can read more on this subject in our previous blog ‘Can productivity be modelled?’).
While we are well aware by now of the cognitive benefits arising from buildings that are designed with occupants’ health and wellbeing in mind (thanks to the findings of research such as the COGfx study), and of the economic benefits this can offer employers, there are certainly other factors contributing to the growing interest in “healthy” buildings.
A 2016 report from Saint-Gobain UK found that 30% of homeowners, buyers and renters would be willing to pay more for a home that would not impact on their health and wellbeing, highlighting citizens’ growing interest in their own personal health and wellbeing. With the prevalence of common health issues, such as asthma, allergies caused by poor indoor air quality, and increasing reports of sick building syndrome, homeowners and tenants are ready to demand higher wellbeing standards within their properties.
The technology in the healthy buildings space is also progressing and there has even been talk of smartphone pollution sensors and apps which will have the ability to alert users when they are entering a “sick” building. You wouldn’t choose to eat in a restaurant with a poor TripAdvisor review, so just imagine how this sort of technology might shape our decisions on where we choose to work and live.
There is no doubt that we need to turn our attention to improving our buildings in a way which supports the health and wellbeing of the people using them. However, the question clients are asking us today is – will it be feasible to pursue WELL certification for my project?
In order to help answer the question of feasibility for our clients, IES Consulting have recently extended their services to include early-phase WELL feasibility or fit assessments. Led by our WELL AP, Mark Knipfer, the service will help clients to establish the level of investment, or the changes to their typical process, that may be required to achieve a WELL certification. Beyond this, we can also offer WELL certification facilitation management and more surgical milestone review services including: a mid-point certification plan check-up, a pre-submission peer review, a performance verification pre-audit, and/or a curative action assessment following receipt of an initial WELL report, to assist throughout the entire certification process.
Fortunately, the WELL Building Standard has also been closely aligned with a number of existing building rating systems so there is ample opportunity for project teams around the world to align WELL objectives to more familiar certification goals. The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) have already published their Crosswalk Guidance for BREEAM, Green Star and, most recently, LEED, to identify synergies between WELL and existing green building standards and to help streamline efforts for those seeking to achieve dual certification for their projects.
There is definite value to be gained from aligning our green building objectives more closely with health and wellbeing concepts. So, if you’re interested in pursuing WELL certification for your projects but not sure where to start, read more about our WELL services here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more on how our team can help.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been contacted by a number of BREEAM Assessors who are looking for ways to boost their projects overall score and I found it interesting how many don’t realise the full number of credits available through analysis from IESVE.
The number of registered BREEAM projects continue to grow with resilience each year. With the BRE Environmental Assessment Method celebrating its 25th birthday, the numbers are staggering; globally there are more than 553,000 BREEAM certified developments, and almost 2,254,500 buildings registered for assessment, in over 70 countries since it was first launched in 1990. By any benchmark BREEAM is firmly placed in the construction industry.
In the UK, if you are working on a non-domestic building of any size the chances are that the project will be registered for BREEAM, and the work you are doing will influence the end result. Now, if you are reading this, then you are probably well aware of BREEAM and the role you will play in any particular assessment, either directly or otherwise, but did you know that 33% of BREEAM credits can be achieved using IESVE? *
Whether you are a BREEAM Assessor, or a consultant delivering credits, knowing which credits can be achieved can not only maximise the full potential of the projects BREEAM score but also generate additional revenue streams you may not currently benefit from. I’m not aware of any analysis tool which can deliver more credits.
If you are involved in BREEAM have a look at the following table to make sure you aren’t missing out attainable credits.
*For BREEAM UK NC 2014
|Assessment issue||Credit Description||Credit score|
|Man 02 Life cycle cost and service life planning||4|
|Man 05 Aftercare||2 +1 exemplary|
|Health & Wellbeing|
|Hea 01 Visual comfort||4|
|Hea 02 Indoor air quality||2|
|Hea 04 Thermal comfort||2|
|Ene 01 – Reduction of energy use and CO2 emissions||12 +5 exemplary|
|Ene 04 – Low carbon design||3|
|Ene 08 Energy efficient equipment||2|
|Mat 01 Life-cycle impacts||6 +2 exemplary|
BREEAM UK NC 2014
Did you spot any? Worth thinking about existing projects you are working on and what additional services you could be offering. Another question I get asked often is what IESVE can do for other BREEAM assessments, for example BREEAM_NOR, BREEAM international, BREEAM Communities, and the answer is simple, yes you can use IESVE for a number of credits on all BREEAM Assessments, and for other environmental assessment methods such as LEED®, DGNB, WELL etc. If you would like to know more then please don’t hesitate to contact your local IES representative.
Using IESVE for BREEAM credit analysis in conjunction an online project management system allows you to make the BREEAM certification process even more efficient. IES TaP is a BRE Global approved, secure online portal for managing the evidence gathering and credit tracking process for BREEAM assessments. Using a system like IES TaP ultimately speeds up the evidence gathering process saving time and money, allowing you to realistically take on more projects over and above your current maximum.
BREEAM has enjoyed a prosperous 25 years and will no doubt continue to do so for the next 25 years. One element of this longevity for any assessment method is adapting to the market and alignment with complimentary assessment methods. The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) and BRE recently announced an agreement between the two organizations to pursue alignments between the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) and BREEAM that will make it easier for projects pursuing both standards. The crosswalk identifying the applicable credits between the two standards, is being done by WELL’s certifying body, Green Business Certification Inc., and BRE, and is expected to be completed in January 2017. Alignment between these assessment methods should help save time and costs, but ultimately help to deliver better, healthier, sustainable buildings.
Solutions like IESVE can help to maximise the full impact of under taking such assessments, by delivering the analysis and evidence required for credit attainment in as little time as possible. Rather than seeing the assessment as an addition to the core work, IESVE is able to integrate the analysis within a single model allowing you to not just validate but to undertake multiple studies to optimise the project for all aspects of its performance.
To read more about how IES can help you with your BREEAM assessment, visit http://www.iesve.com/software/breeam.
New IES customers can also take advantage of our limited time IESVE for BREEAM special offer.
Health, Wellbeing and…. Productivity! Time has come where we can take a closer, empirical and quantifiable look at productivity. Our recent blog and event on Health & Wellbeing (How to do WELL with IES) has generated significant interest and participation from a wide range of stakeholders. Similarly, the Health and Wellbeing movement, including the WELL standard have been gaining momentum and popularity with building owners, operators and designers. But what is it all about? Investing in the health and wellbeing of our buildings and occupants is often seen as a means to an end. That end is Productivity. From service based organisations who want their office based staff to be more productive to retail stores wishing shoppers to spend a little bit more money, it’s time to start taking Productivity seriously. Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) have begun to explore this concept further by asking a very simple question: Can Productivity be modelled?
Our Business Development Manager Naghman Khan has addressed this question in his article on our DiscoverIES website, where he presents some initial findings of recent research on being able to quantify and model productivity. Read the full article.
You can access a full description of the research and results, including how to model health, wellbeing and productivity concepts in the VE, by completing this short form.