What is BREEAM?

BREEAM is the world's foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, with 425,000 buildings with certified BREEAM assessment ratings and two million registered for assessment since it was first launched in 1990.

BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building's environmental performance. It encourages designers, clients and others to think about low carbon and low impact design, minimising the energy demands created by a building before considering energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.

A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology. They include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.

See our free video introductions to BREEAM click here. For more indepth and formal training to be a BREEAM assessor or AP, or for client awareness training see our BRE Academy website.


A certificated BREEAM assessment is delivered by a licensed organisation, using assessors trained under a UKAS accredited competent person scheme, at various stages in a buildings life cycle. This provides clients, developers, designers and others with:

  • market recognition for low environmental impact buildings,
  • confidence that tried and tested environmental practice is incorporated in the building,
  • inspiration to find innovative solutions that minimise the environmental impact,
  • a benchmark that is higher than regulation,
  • a system to help reduce running costs, improve working and living environments,
  • a standard that demonstrates progress towards corporate and organisational environmental objectives.

What does BREEAM do?

BREEAM addresses wide-ranging environmental and sustainability issues and enables developers, designers and building managers to demonstrate the environmental credentials of their buildings to clients, planners and other initial parties, BREEAM:

  • uses a straightforward scoring system that is transparent, flexible, easy to understand and supported by evidence-based science and research,
  • has a positive influence on the design, construction and management of buildings,
  • defines and maintains a robust technical standard with rigorous quality assurance and certification.

Who uses BREEAM?

Clients, planners development agencies, funders and developers use BREEAM to specify the sustainability performance of their buildings in a way that is quick, comprehensive, highly visible in the marketplace and provides a level playing field.

Property agents use it to promote the environmental credentials and benefits of a building to potential purchasers and tenants.

Design teams use it as a method to improve the performance of their buildings and their own experience and knowledge of environmental aspects of sustainability.

Managers use it to reduce running costs, measure and improve the performance of buildings, empower staff, develop action plans and monitor and report performance at both the single building and portfolio level.

National Green Building Councils

BRE is a prominent Founding Member of the UK Green Building Council. BREEAM is the preferred scheme for a number of the national Green Building Councils across Europe, including the Netherlands, Norway and others. See here for details of our National Scheme Operators throughout Europe. 

Did you know?

You can search for BREEAM projects on GreenBookLive. Go to www.greenbooklive.com/breeambuildings This provides information on building assessments certified under post-2008 versions of BREEAM. It includes most buildings with a few exceptions of buildings that have confidentiality conditions attached to their publicity. You can conduct refined searches by rating, scheme, country and other characteristics.

Note: You can also generate a 'google map' and search for BREEAM Assessors, In-Use Auditors and BREEAM APs on GreenBookLive.