Green Certification "For the Rest" of the Building Stock

For Parts 2 and 3, consumption data for at least one year is required prior to assessment. Users can choose to measure and certify one, two or three parts.

Getting Started

A $1,000 registration fee is the cost to get started, which gives the owner/operator access to the online performance measurement tools of all parts for one building for one year. After completing a part’s assessment questions, owners receive an instantaneous unverified score and a rating (Outstanding, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Pass or Acceptable). Whether pursuing verification or not, owners can use their score to benchmark properties, evaluate what-if scenarios and identify areas for improvement. Worldwide, 2.2 million buildings have registered for assessment since BREEAM was launched in 1990.

“A lot of people use it internally for benchmarking without wanting to pursue formal certification,” Giles says.

An asset without the latest technology and building equipment might have a modest score for Part 1. Nevertheless, the green operation of a given building might be very effective. Such management success could be reflected in a comparatively higher score for Part 2 than Part 1. 

If registered users wish to take the next step and pursue certification, they hire a BREEAM In-Use Assessor to verify their asset’s score. Assessors are licensed by BREEAM USA and they are independent. They cannot undertake verification for their own company or for properties for which they have previously provided consulting or other services. As the verification fee is not fixed, each user negotiates a price (based on building size and the amount and readiness of the required data) with an assessor. All verification is done by the assessor at the site.  

The assessor pays quality assurance fees ($750 for each part to be certified) directly to BRE America when submitting an asset for certification. Certificates for Parts 1 and 2 can be renewed annually up to two times for $250. Renewals do not require a site visit. Part 3 certificates require annual recertification. Worldwide, BRE has issued more than 558,000 asset certifications. 

The BREEAM USA In-Use Technical Manual is available for free download at

Chris Olson is Chief Content Director of BUILDINGS.

Retail Developer Is First to Use BREEAM USA

With no other green certification programs in the U.S. available to assess shopping centers, Macerich, a shopping center owner/operator/developer, chose to pilot the BREEAM In-Use program in 2016. 

The firm decided to apply the methodology to its Oaks shopping mall in Thousand Oaks, CA. Built in 1978, the 1.3 million-square foot mall had made many efficiency upgrades prior to the assessment, including 6,000 solar panels, LED lighting and integrated thermal controls in common areas and mall offices. The upgrades at the Oaks were comparable to those of other properties in its portfolio. In addition, the mall’s proximity to the Macerich headquarters would encourage close interaction among Macerich, its building manager and the BREEAM assessor.   

The assessment results have been valuable, according to Jeff Bedell, VP of Sustainability for Macerich, who says it helped Macerich identify opportunities to improve management practices. The Oaks received a rating of four stars for Asset Management (Part 1) and three stars for Building Management (Part 2).  

This year Macerich is pursuing BREEAM certification for 10 more of its properties, and Bedell is looking forward to benchmarking sustainable performance across them. Pursuing BREEAM is time-consuming, however. 

“It is an extensive measurement tool and it takes time and resources to answer all the questions,” Bedell says, so owners should anticipate the resources needed when undertaking BREEAM. “But the results have been well worth it.”

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