Which are the main sustainability certifications and what benefits do they bring to a building?

29/07/2020

Which are the main sustainability certifications and what benefits do they bring to a building?

Sustainability in real estate is not a trend in full swing to be disappeared in a couple of years. In fact, Group Colonial is fully committed to apply sustainability standards and certifications in all their buildings, having 92% of its portfolio certificated with BREEAM or LEED seals. Besides, Colonial is significantly positioned above the average performance within the sector and has been awarded with the “Award for Responsible Real Estate Investment” in property portfolios category.

However, how many sustainability certifications are? What are the main ones and which regulations do they value? In today’s post we will focus on some of the most important sustainability seals to explain its significance in the Real Estate sector.

Let’s check them all!

BREEAM Certificate

BREEAM or Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology is a certification that value performing assets of sustainability for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings that was created in the UK during 1990. This certification measures sustainable value in a series of categories such as energy, health and wellbeing, innovation, land use, materials, management, pollution, transport, waste and water; that are rated with score points depending of the goals achieve in each category. Once the building is fully assessed, the final performance rating is determined by the sum of all categories scores, leading to a specific seal that range from Acceptable, to Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent or Outstanding.

LEED Certificate

This International rating system was also created in 1990 by the U.S. Green Buiding Council, in order to assess criteria for more sustainable regulations in building construction and efficiency. As opposed to BREEAM, LEED certification rates five areas of a building: land use, water waste, energy efficiency, renewable energies, and sustainability. From the ratios obtained a level of certification is issued from Certificated, to Silver, Gold or Platinum.

VERDE Certificate

This certification was created in Spain with the purpose of establishing a set of metrics such as KwH of save energy, tonnage of CO2 emitted by the building, etc. VERDE ratios assess therefore the environmental impact that a building will have throughout is life cycle (50 years according to current regulation). Thanks to these ratios and standards it is possible to figure out the total amount of energy waste, water waste and CO2 emissions that a building releases in comparison with other that has not been built according to sustainable regulations.

WELL Certificate

This rating system provide monitoring of several sustainable characteristics not only of buildings, but also of common areas, and it focuses mainly on health and wellness issues. The Well Building Standard takes into account the following items when rating a building: air quality and ventilation, water quality, healthy snacks and meals, quality lighting, access to training areas, safe movement around installations, thermal comfort, control of noise at work, use of non-polluting materials, design of spaces to foster emotional and mental wellness, as well as the building of an inclusive community in social, organizational and recreational terms.

As a conclusion, it is safe to say that obtaining a sustainability certification is not an easy task and that it implies a previous planning and organization at all levels, which is indeed an additional cost. Nevertheless, these certificates provide short- and long-term profits to owners and tenants, that will have the certainty of being investing in health, commodities, and energy savings. The trend is therefore here to stay and little by little we get closer to a future with only 100% sustainable buildings.

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