It is intended to help improve the sustainability and environmental performance of existing dwellings – which account for 27% of national carbon emissions. The voluntary scheme will see certificates for individual properties issued to homeowners for as little as £70 and a new workforce trained up to carry out assessments.
The scheme will provide the methodology, software tools and certification needed by those responsible for delivering sustainable domestic refurbishment projects, such as project managers, architects designing home renovations for private clients, Green Deal advisers or social housing providers looking to upgrade their stock.
“It’s a very wide-ranging scheme, which could be useful if you’re a local authority looking to set new planning requirements or a homeowner looking for a property with high-quality green improvements,” said Gavin Summerson, senior consultant at BREEAM Sustainability Group, BRE Global.
The scheme is aimed at more ambitious domestic upgrades, where various alterations are required, such as window replacement and insulation, plus domestic conversions and change-of-use projects or regeneration schemes covering a large number of dwellings.
It will also assess environmental issues including energy, water, materials, pollution, health and wellbeing, waste, management and innovation.
“We want to create a demand for more sustainable buildings. Part of that is better energy use, but it’s also important that contractors think about waste, and the impact of the materials they use,” said Summerson.
A property’s sustainable performance will be rated on a sliding scale similar to the existing BREEAM schemes using the terms “pass”, “good”, “excellent” and “outstanding”. These will be based around standards on Energy Performance Certificates, so a dwelling that achieves “outstanding” has reached EPC band B. To reach the UK target of an 80% energy reduction by 2050 the average existing house will have to meet this – band C is “excellent”.
The BRE will carry out assessments, but in June it will also launch a domestic refurbishment course to train other refurbishment professionals to complete the assessments.