Measuring Sustainability: Comparing ‘Passivhaus’ and ‘BREEAM’

Sustainability can be a nebulous concept in the first place; so how do you go about measuring it? Two well known metrics - Passivhaus and BREEAM - offer widely differing approaches.

Passivhaus:

The beauty of the Passivhaus Standard is that it focuses exclusively on energy conservation. Offsetting your carbon emissions using renewable energy is not allowed. To pass the standard, the designer needs to concentrate on the fundamentals: insulation, air tightness and optimal glazing. This rigorous approach is refreshingly simple (but not simplistic). It is also easy to check whether the completed project meets the standard, once it is up and running.

BREEAM:
BREEAM is far more complex, with a core guidance document running in excess of 400 pages. It looks at carbon emissions rather than energy, but also addresses good management, water consumption, bio-diversity, transport, pollution, longevity etc etc. Whilst this holistic approach is excellent, the systems of measurement are very much open to debate.

rhp have just completed a design proposal for an Enterprise Centre that is intended to achieve both the Passivhaus standard and the highest possible BREEAM rating of ’Outstanding’.

BREEAM is currently lacking, in that it does not yet look in detail at carbon emissions relating to construction. To address this deficiency, the design proposals went even further than BREEAM and used a ‘carbon calculator’ to assess all the key building elements.

For more information please contact our practice sustainability advisor – Alex Reeve.
 

Measuring Sustainability: Comparing ‘Passivhaus’ and ‘BREEAM’
rhp have just completed a design proposal for an Enterprise Centre that is intended to achieve both the Passivhaus standard and the highest possible BREEAM ’Outstanding’ rating.