FAQ

BREEAM USA In-Use is open to ALL existing commercial buildings – any size, any age and any performance level. Any existing commercial building can start an assessment by simply registering with BREEAM USA online and completing a BREEAM USA In-Use assessment. Once the assessment is completed you’ll understand how your building is performing right away and be able to identify areas for improvement by reviewing the completed score.

It’s easy to get started:

  • Register your asset
  • Measure performance by completing the assessment
  • Receive an instantaneous unverified score
  • Hire a BREEAM USA In-Use Assessor to verify score
  • Receive BREEAM USA In-Use certification

Part 1: An assessment of the environmental performance of the asset’s built form, construction, fixtures, fittings and installed services

Part 2: The management and operation of the building

Part 3: The management of building tenants and their activities and services within the building. *Please note that Part 3 is currently only applicable to office buildings.

No. You can do one part, two parts or all three parts for a certification. Please note that a Part 3 assessment is only available for offices and is recommended to be undertaken in combination with a Part 2 assessment as the score achieved for Part 2 feeds into the score for Part 3.

BREEAM USA In-Use is all about outcomes. It’s a framework, based on scientific research for understanding how your building is performing today against international best practices and how to improve building performance and reduce environmental impacts going forward. The assessment tool assists in making informed decisions on next steps, based on your budget, by providing robust and accessible information for benchmarking and continual improvement.

During the assessment process, each category is sub-divided into a range of issues in the form of questions. Each question has a list of answer options that set out successively higher levels of performance. Credits are awarded based on the answer option that has been selected, with higher numbers of credits awarded for better environmental outcomes. The credits achieved are then weighted based on the relative impact of the category to calculate the overall score. Once the building has been fully assessed, a rating is achieved based on the overall score.

Climate change and evolving regulation are posing increasing challenges for existing buildings and their owners and investors. Buildings that are not equipped for the future may face the risk of devaluation and could eventually become stranded assets.

An independent and licensed BREEAM USA Assessor verifies that the performance described is accurate and backed up with evidence that meets the BREEAM standards as described in the BREEAM USA In-Use Technical Manual. The Assessor is an independent individual. BREEAM USA Assessors must not undertake an assessment for their own company or organization or provide consultancy services for the asset they are assessing. This ensures that the Assessor is impartial. The licensed Assessor then submits the assessment through the online tool to undergo quality control and provide assurance that the rating is appropriately awarded.

A list of licensed BREEAM USA In-Use Assessors is available here.

Yes, you must register your building with BREEAM USA using the online tool and purchase a Performance Measurement.

BREEAM USA In-Use is an easy way to verify that your building is performing the way that you anticipated it would. The BREEAM In-Use assessment will assist in identifying areas to improve through its operations and management of the building.

It costs $1000 per asset to access the Performance Measurement. The questions for all three parts of BREEAM In-Use are available for one year for this fee. If certification is then desired, a licensed BREEAM In-Use Assessor will need to be hired to verify the assessment for certification. A BREEAM In-Use Assessor negotiates a fee directly with the building owner/operator.

Once a building is registered, (see above question) an independent licensed BREEAM USA In-Use Assessor is contracted directly by the building owner/operator to complete the certification. The Assessor’s job is to verify the accuracy of the described performance by conducting a site visit where they will collect and review evidence to support the performance. The assessor’s fees will vary depending on a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Size of the building
  • Amount of evidence to review and information to gather
  • If data is readily available

The BREEAM Assessor then pays the Quality Assurance fees directly to BRE America before a certification is issued.

To become a BREEAM USA In-Use assessor you need to complete an online class, then attend a two-day workshop, pass the exam and apply for a BREEAM USA In-Use license. Individuals are required to have a minimum level of professional experience before registering for the class (click here for the Course Description). Here is the list of upcoming training workshops.

The BREEAM USA In-Use program is different from LEED for Existing Buildings. If you are a LEED AP O+M, your experience working in the sector will be useful in that it can assist you becoming a licensed BREEAM USA assessor, but you must still meet three key requirements:

  1. Confirm appropriate knowledge and experience.
  2. Satisfactorily complete the BREEAM USA In-Use training delivered by BREEAM USA
  3. Successfully pass the BREEAM USA In-Use examination

Impartiality within the assessment and certification process is paramount for ensuring the credibility of the outcome. Assessors cannot provide consultancy services or be directly involved in achieving or implementing a solution on a project for which they are an assessor. Assessors also cannot assess buildings owned by their company or organization. Assessors are required to declare any potential conflict of interest prior to undertaking an assessment.

A consultant is directly or indirectly creating evidence to support the assessment. The licensed Assessor confirms the performance is accurate and verifies that the evidence supports that answer while also meeting the BREEAM standard as set out in the Technical Manual.

You can be a BREEAM USA consultant and a BREEAM In-Use Assessor – just not for the same project.

A consultant can be part of the organization that desires a BREEAM USA In-Use certification or can be hired independently to help the building owner or property manager complete the assessment.

A licensed BREEAM USA Assessor is an independent, third party who is not part of the client organization and has NOT provided consultancy on the specific project. The Assessor undertakes a site visit and verifies that the information provided in the assessment is accurate.

BREEAM awards credits for responsibly sourced materials irrespective of material type. The aim of these credits is to encourage the specification and procurement of responsibly sourced materials (RSM) for buildings in construction and operation. To achieve credits for this issue, materials used for key building elements must be covered by appropriate BREEAM recognized environmental management or Responsible Sourcing Certification (RSC) schemes. These include the principal lumber sector schemes used in the USA and internationally. The score achieved is dependent on the rigor and scope of the RSC scheme. Further guidance can be found here: http://www.breeam.com/resources

BREEAM USA In-Use has the same goal of improving building performance as other national and international standards. A building does not require any other standard rating to undertake a BREEAM USA In-Use assessment.

BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings. Globally there are more than 558,256 BREEAM certified developments, and more than 2,260,000 buildings registered for assessment since it was first launched in 1990.

BREEAM USA is a partnership between the BRE Group, the world’s leading authority on all aspects of the built environment, and BuildingWise, the award-winning US-based LEED certification consultancy, established to provide a sustainability certification and improvement solution to the 5.6 million existing buildings in the United States that could benefit from a sustainable management program such as BREEAM In-Use.

BREEAM In-Use is an online, international environmental assessment methodology for existing buildings. The methodology allows for a separate assessment of asset performance, building management and occupier management, assisting investors, owners and managers in driving efficient and effective building management and operation practices. Certification is conducted by an independent, third-party licensed Assessor.

It’s easy to get started with a BREEAM USA In-Use assessment:

  • Register your building
  • Use the online tool to measure performance
  • Receive an instantaneous unverified score
  • Hire a licensed BREEAM USA Assessor to verify score
  • Receive BREEAM USA In-Use certification

BREEAM In-Use has a wide range of benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Reduced operational costs
  • Limiting investor and developer risk
  • Making a property more attractive to lease, sell and retain
  • Creating more productive and healthier places for occupants

BREEAM In-Use is open to ALL existing commercial buildings, any size, any age and any performance level.

There are currently 77 countries with BREEAM registered projects which includes all the BREEAM schemes. Only BREEAM USA In-Use is available through BREEAM USA.

BREEAM In-Use is currently used in over 30 countries.

Yes, BREEAM has a range of internationally recognized, technical standards and certification schemes, including BREEAM Communities, BREEAM New Construction and BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-Out. BREEAM USA is only offering BREEAM In-Use. You are able to assess and certify in the USA using the alternative international programs through BRE Global.

Management, Health and Well-Being, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Waste, Land Use, and Ecology and Pollution.

100 percent of the supporting data within the BREEAM schemes are derived from scientific and academic methodology.