The selection and procurement of construction materials makes a major contribution to the lifecycle impacts of a building across the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability.
Much is said about materials selection and many sources of information are available mostly at the level of an individual material.
Through its built environment certification scheme, BREEAM, BRE has encouraged a more whole building level consideration of materials through the use of robust and science-based approaches during the design and procurement of buildings, infrastructure and others aspects of the built environment.
BRE’s Green Guide ratings and Environmental Profiles Certification scheme has been at the forefront of the environmental assessment of the built environment using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
The current focus on whole building LCAs reflects a strategic shift in the approach taken in sustainability assessment of the built environment within the BREEAM family.
BREEAM's strategy going forward will include a process for evaluating whole building environmental impacts as well as rewarding construction products with third-party verified environmental product definitions (EPD) based on the CEN TC 350 approach to the assessment of environmental impacts of construction works.
BRE have just released a briefing paper discussing the implications of this shift on the future of Green Guide ratings and Environmental Profiles Certification in more detail.
The document is relevant for product manufacturers, Trade Associations, BREEAM Assessors, clients, specifiers and designers alike.