Measuring Sustainability - buildings

Green Guide

Published by Building Research Establishment, the Green Guide supports the Code for Sustainable Homes and BRE Environmental Assessment Methodologies (BREEAM) such as BREEAM Office and BREEAM Bespoke.


The LCA methodology that supports the Green Guide rating was updated in 2007 and is based on a 60 year study period.


The Green Guide rating is only for the embodied impacts of the material used in an element and not the occupancy of the building. The benefits, such as thermal mass (link), of elements during this part of the lifecycle is not considered.

BREEAM non-domestic

The BRE currently have BREEAM methodologies for the following types of non-domestic buildings:

  • Offices
  • Shopping malls
  • Light industrial buildings
  • Schools
  • Health buildings
  • Heavy industrial buildings
  • Sports facilities
  • Crown courts
  • Garden sheds and any other buildings under the BREEAM Bespoke scheme

BREEAM assesses the performance of buildings in the following areas:

  • Management: overall management policy, commissioning site management and procedural issues
  • Energy use: operational energy and carbon dioxide issues
  • Health and well-being
  • Pollution: air and water pollution issues
  • Transport: transport-related CO2 and location-related factors
  • Land use: greenfield and brownfield sites
  • Ecology: ecological value conservation and enhancement of the site
  • Materials: environmental implication of building materials
  • Water: consumption and water efficiency

For more information visit


The Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes (the Code) is a rating system devised by the UK Government in close consultation with the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It provides a national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. It is used to evaluate the environmental performance of new housing and is intended to encourage market transformation towards sustainable design.


The integration of elements of the voluntary Code into new homes and obtaining assessments against the Code, developers can obtain a 'star rating' for any new home which complies with its environmental performance. All new homes are required to be assessed against the Code and it is a prerequisite of building social housing.

The energy performance levels established in the Code will become mandatory, rather than voluntary, for all new housing construction based on the Governments projected timeline to zero carbon.


How does concrete help achieve Code Levels?

Using concrete can help increase the number of points awarded in the Code system. Download a publication from The Concrete Centre publication library on Concrete and The Code for Sustainable Homes.


The Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Awards Scheme (CEEQUAL) is a civil engineering equivalent to BREEAM.
The overall objectives of the scheme are:
  • To improve the environmental quality of civil engineering projects by providing the incentive of an award scheme and associated assessment methods.
  • To provide a scheme that assesses what is built and how it is built, normally at the end of design and construction.
  • To deliver improved environmental performance in civil engineering projects and thus improve the industry's image.
  • To assist in achieving UK Government and Industry targets for sustainable construction.
A summary of the key features of CEEQUAL:
  • It is an award-based assessment scheme for the environmental quality of civil engineering projects.
  • It is an incentive for the industry to apply best environmental practice.
  • It acts as a potential benchmark against which expected standards of environmental performance can be set.
  • It is applicable to all types and sizes of civil engineering projects.
  • It is a voluntary award - not a legal requirement.
  • It is not a competitive scheme, but an achievement scheme and award.

Related Links

For more information on the Green Guide and BREEAM visit the BRE website.
For more information on CEEQUAL visit
Concrete and BREEAM