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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Timothy Ryce

BREEAM vs LEED: a detailed analysis of two sustainability Assessment tools

Timothy Ryce

BREEAM vs LEED: a detailed analysis of two sustainability Assessment tools

The vast majority of the general public has little comprehension of the environmental impacts the buildings in which they work and live incur on a daily basis. Indeed, many professionals in the building sector have only recently become aware of the ecological consequences of their creations through the increased use of building rating systems. The dissertation’s objective was to determine the effectiveness of two prominent building rating systems in enabling consistent and accessible evaluations of the built environment. The particular tools examined were the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method for offices (BREEAM Offices 2006) and the Canada Green Building Council’s Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction tool (LEED Canada-NC 1.0). A detailed comparison of the systems’ operational and administrative characteristics was carried out, followed by application of both rating schemes to a case study building, the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, in Vancouver, Canada. This analysis highlighted several areas in which both rating systems were found to be lacking, including a significant lack of flexibility and clarity of application and assessment. Modifications to the current building rating systems were presented, as well as a framework on which future generations of assessment methods may be based. Consequently, it was determined that while there is room for improvement, the assessment tools examined in this dissertation have succeeded in beginning to affect public and professional awareness of the environmental impact of buildings.