BREEAM Life cycle impacts
 Aim and benefits
This used to be done with reference to the Green Guide but the data is over 10 years old and is not aligned to EN standards. The Building LCA replaces the Green Guide approach with credits now awarded for:
EPDs have long been used to help assess the environmental impacts of individual building products. In BREEAM 2018, this analysis takes the process one step further and is used to assess the environmental impact of the whole building. As well as construction products themselves, the analysis includes impacts from transporting them to and from site, their maintenance and what happens at the end of the building's life in terms of demolition and waste processing.
When taken in the early phase of the design, this analysis can help identify material quantity savings or material type changes, or when done later on, it can help identify the best performing materials from an environmental point of view.
Life cycle analysis (LCA) helps familiarise the client (and design teams) with the importance of embodied carbon, and how to reduce carbon emissions through the specification of low-carbon alternatives, both in material choice, construction methods, and in use/maintenance impact.
Where this is done early-on in the process, it helps the client choose the best building components at no extra cost. Good value credits can be had to gain a high BREEAM score, since relatively low input is required - the process is no more onerous than normal if LCA is adopted early on and integrated into the design process.
 When to consider
BREEAM operate a rigourous process for the submission of results (through date stamped Excel tools):
- Concept design - encouraging the feedback from early LCA results into the design.
- Technical design - encouraging further reductions and feeding back results for benchmark development.
Therefore it is important to communicate the importance of Mat01 in BREEAM 2018 to the design team at the earliest opportunity. Design teams are usually considering different options in terms of cost and aesthetics so this is a goood time to bring in LCA as well. The biggest opportunity to minimise the embodied impacts is early on in the design process.
The most time consuming element of the analysis is the collation of the data. It is very unlikely that the supporting evidence will come from just one source. An early meeting can help identify the likely sources of data. Where available, a cost plan or bill of quantities prepared by the surveyor is a very good starting point, supplemented by drawings and sketches. Some LCA software supports integration with common design tools and the analysis can be supported with data (via plugins) from BIM models, energy modelling tools as IES Virtual Environment as well as DesignBuilder, and Revit.
Tackling this credit requires following a number of steps which vary by the applicable BREEAM scheme. Some software tools include scheme-specific workflows to support this credit. For example, One Click LCA includes specific workflows for BREEAM UK NC 2018 (benchmarks and optioneering) as well as BREEAM International, BREEAM SE, BREEAM NOR, BREEAM ES and BREEAM DE (for the new construction and renovation versions). Energy modelling tools such as IES Virtual Environment and DesignBuilder, and by automating the analysis using Revit models.
 Questions to ask while seeking compliance
Design team experience is key to maximising credits in this issue. It is likely in most instances that an external specialist consultant, using a compliant software tool, will need to be engaged. BRE pre-approves the software that can be used for this credit. It cannot be documented without an approved software solution.
Compliant software tools are documented by BRE in the so-called Mat 01 calculator which is available in the BRE Extranet. However, for BREEAM UK schemes the approved software are listed here: https://kb.breeam.com/knowledgebase/building-lca-tools-recognised-by-breeam/
For BREEAM NL,the Dutch regulatory method is applied and software complying with that can be found here: https://www.milieudatabase.nl/index.php?q=rekeninstrumenten
In terms of software instruments, One Click LCA is approved for every BREEAM scheme as an LCA software, and allows targeting every credit for the Mat 01 LCA as well as associated EPD credit(s). It has several specific modules, including specific tools for IMPACT-compliant (BREEAM UK), Non-IMPACT compliant tool (BREEAM UK), BREEAM International/NOR/ES/SE/DE tool, and specific tool for BREEAM NL and a specific tool for BREEAM NOR’s national greenhouse gas accounting method.
- IMPACT compliant tools.
- Non-IMPACT building LCA tools.
- BREEAM simplified building LCA tool (this is free, but very basic and the number of credits is capped at 2/7).
The highest rated LCA tool for BREEAM is One Click LCA, which has received a Mat 01 100% rating and once the appropriate data has been gathered, allows users to calculate Life Cycle Impacts credits quickly and easily.
 Learning this issue
- This article explains why BREEAM has introduced Building LCA
- This article explores ways to reduce impacts using building LCA
- The UKNC2018 Mat 01 Manual issue. The Mat 01 issue and tool (below) allows flexibility:
- In the tool used. Results are accepted from several different 3rd party building LCA tools.
- In the assessment approach:-
- In the stages building LCA is done.
- In how many design options are done.
- In what parts of the building is included in the assessment scope (superstructure; substructure and hard landscaping; core building services).
- And offers:
- Credit score ready reckoner - a tool to assist users early in the process to determine what they need to do to achieve different credit award levels. There is a PDF and Excel version, the latter is best.
- The results submission tool (Licenced assesors only) This is used to submit results from the chosen building LCA tool and to work out the credit award. Video tutorials 1, 2 and 4 recommended if you want to know how it works.
- An article that explains how the benchmarks are developed and how they are used in BREEAM
- BREEAM Simplified Building LCA tool (licenced assessors only) which is a free option users have instead of the paid-for 3rd party full building LCA tools. Watch video tutorial 3 to see how it works.
- BREEAM Knowledge Base compliance notes for UKNC2018 Mat 01 - an array of items on how to comply if specific situations arise on a project
 Tips and best practice
Most design teams will not have the specialist knowledge required to carry out this complex analysis and will probably engage the services of an external consultant to carry out the full LCA analysis. Make sure that the consultant is engaged early enough to guide the collation of meaningful data, drive the option appraisals and present the results for consideration prior to the concusion of RIBA stage 2 (and in the UK before submission for planning approval).
BREEAM require the appraisal of 2-4 Superstructure (Structural material, Facade systems, grid size etc) options at Stage 2. Focus on the large changes that might be straightforward to incorporate in the early stages but would be more difficult later during the design process.
BREEAM require the appriasal of at least 6 Substructure (Foundation types, Basement walls) and landscape options (Hard surface materials, Loading and vehicle access strategy) with a minimum of 2 substructure options and a minimum of 2 landscape options. In practice, substructure options may well be limited by site and ground conditions, so it makes sense to focus more on different landscape options.
Remember - The option with the lowest impacts does not need to be selected, but justification is required for the choice.
 Typical evidence
The evidence is generated by the LCA software. It takes the form of Excel spreadsheets, whose content varies by the BREEAM scheme.
Documentation in the form of a report should also be provided. The report should provide a summary of the option appraisals, which is updated regularly to include outcomes, through the inclusion of minutes, option descriptions and the associated results.
 Applicable Schemes
The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.
- BREEAM NC 2018
BRE Global does not endorse any of the content posted and use of the content will not guarantee the meeting of certification criteria.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BREEAM Life cycle cost and service life planning.
- BREEAM UK New Construction (NC) 2018.
- Building LCA.
- Challenging the current approach to end of life of buildings using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach.
- Getting results with building LCA.
- Life cycle assessment.
- Life Cycle Costing BG67 2016.
- One Click LCA
- Utilising life cycle costing and life cycle assessment.
Issue support documents
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Issue support documents are written for named BREEAM Issues or sub-issues. More info. (ac) = awaiting content
|Thanks to our Knowledge Sharing Ambassadors for a lot of this content|
- BREEAM Sustainability champion
- BREEAM Environmental management
- BREEAM Considerate construction
- BREEAM Monitoring of construction site impacts
- BREEAM Aftercare support
- BREEAM Seasonal commissioning
- BREEAM Testing and inspecting building fabric
- BREEAM Life cycle cost and service life planning
- BREEAM Stakeholder consultation (ac)
- BREEAM Commissioning (ac)
- BREEAM Handover (ac)
- BREEAM Inclusive and accessible design (ac)
- BREEAM Post occupancy evaluation
 Health and Wellbeing
- BREEAM Visual comfort Daylighting (partly ac)
- BREEAM Visual comfort View out
- BREEAM Visual comfort Glare control
- BREEAM Indoor air quality plan
- BREEAM Indoor air quality Ventilation
- BREEAM Thermal comfort
- BREEAM Internal and external lighting (ac)
- BREEAM Indoor pollutants VOCs (ac)
- BREEAM Potential for natural ventilation (ac)
- BREEAM Safe containment in laboratories (ac)
- BREEAM Acoustic performance
- BREEAM Safety and security (ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of energy use and carbon emissions
- BREEAM Energy monitoring
- BREEAM External lighting
- BREEAM Low carbon design
- BREEAM Passive design
- BREEAM Free cooling
- BREEAM LZC technologies
- BREEAM Energy efficient cold storage (partly ac)
- BREEAM Energy efficient transportation systems
- BREEAM Energy efficient laboratory systems
- BREEAM Energy efficient equipment (partly ac)
- BREEAM Drying space
- BREEAM Transport assessment and travel plan
- BREEAM Public transport accessibility
- BREEAM Sustainable transport measures
- BREEAM Proximity to amenities
- BREEAM Cyclist facilities
- BREEAM Alternative modes of transport (ac)
- BREEAM Maximum car parking capacity
- BREEAM Travel plan
- BREEAM Home office (ac)
- BREEAM Water consumption
- BREEAM Water efficient equipment
- BREEAM Water monitoring
- BREEAM Water leak detection (ac)
- BREEAM Hard landscaping and boundary protection
- BREEAM Responsible sourcing of materials
- BREEAM Insulation
- BREEAM Designing for durability and resilience
- BREEAM Life cycle impacts
- BREEAM Material efficiency (ac)
- BREEAM Construction waste management
- BREEAM Recycled aggregates
- BREEAM Speculative floor & ceiling finishes
- BREEAM Adaptation to climate change
- BREEAM Operational waste
- BREEAM Functional adaptability (ac)
 Land Use and Ecology
- BREEAM Site Selection
- BREEAM Ecological value of site
- BREEAM Protection of ecological features
- BREEAM Minimising impact on existing site ecology
- BREEAM Enhancing site ecology
- BREEAM Long term impact on biodiversity (ac)
- BREEAM Impact of refrigerants
- BREEAM NOx emissions
- BREEAM Flood risk management (ac)
- BREEAM Surface water run-off (ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of night time light pollution (partly ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of noise pollution
Once an ISD has been initially created the '(ac)' marker can be removed
This particular index is based around the structure of the New Construction and RFO schemes.