Currently, Bioclimatic Architecture is being used more and more due to factors such as climate change, the depletion of fossil fuel reserves and the need to make better use of energy resources. However, there is still no fully accepted definition at the global level of “sustainable building or construction”. For this reason, at Pallars Fustes, we want to take an in-depth look at the issue of sustainable certification.
How is sustainable construction evaluated and certified?
Sustainable certification has a complex evaluation process as buildings incorporate a large number of materials and systems.
First of all, it should be noted that materials or products cannot be compared individually, since their environmental weight is different depending on the construction system. With that being said, the construction systems should be compared when they are complete and finished.
Currently, certification systems are carried out by private institutions and most of them are voluntary evaluations. In addition, most building codes don’t include them as it is not regulated nor is it the norm.
With this, constructions are evaluated in such a way that an independent technical organization analyzes the different values of their sustainability, as is previously defined in their technical document and lastly. It grants the corresponding certificate or qualification.
The most widely implemented sustainable construction certification systems.
The main certification systems are the following:
- BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology)
Established in 1990 by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) it is the oldest method of evaluating, qualifying and certifying the sustainability of buildings and construction.
It uses science-based sustainability metrics and indicators that cover a host of environmental issues. It is characterized by evaluating the use of energy and water, health and well-being, pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.
The buildings are classified and certified on a scale of “Pass”, “Good”, “Very Good”, “Excellent” and “Exceptional”.
- BUILT GREEN (Canada)
Created in 1990, it focuses on the construction of residences. It is based on a double label, the EnerGuide, in relation to natural resources issues, and the Built Green, concerning energy efficiency, materials and methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water management and good commercial practices. .
Depending on the result of the evaluation, it is awarded one of the following categories: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
- LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)
The US Green Building Council developed and implemented this certification in 1993.
It is based on a set of rules on the use of strategies aimed at sustainability in buildings of all kinds. During the project, aspects related to energy efficiency, the use of alternative energies, the improvement of indoor environmental quality, the efficiency of water consumption, the sustainable development of the open spaces of the plot and the selection of materials are incorporated.
LEED certification has the following scale:
- Certificate (LEED Certificate)
- Silver (LEED Silver)
- Gold (LEED Gold)
- Platinum (LEED Platinum)
It has a base of 100 points; in addition to 6 possible points in Innovation in design and 4 points in Regional Priority.
The WELL certificate consists of 7 areas of action, each one including a series of measures, some of them mandatory and others optional.
- Air: removal of air pollutants, pollution prevention and air purification.
- Water: filtration, treatment and strategic location.
- Food: healthy food options and healthy eating.
- Light: access to natural light, and improvement of the quality of artificial light.
- Exercise: activities that allow you to lead an active life.
- Comfort: maximize thermal, acoustic, olfactory and ergonomic comfort.
- Mind: policies to reduce stress and improve mental and emotional well-being.