What is the BRE Green Guide?

The Green Guide is part of BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) and is an accredited environmental rating scheme for buildings. It was first published in 1996 and today contains more than 1500 specifications used in various types of building.

The Green Guide’s aim is to provide specifiers with a simple ‘guide’ to the environmental impacts of various building materials.

The data used to generate the ratings is based on known information on the latest manufacturing process, the way in which materials are used in buildings, and the relative environmental performance of building materials and components.

The Green Guide examines the relative environmental impacts of the construction materials commonly used in six different generic types building including Commercial buildings (such as offices), Education, Healthcare, Retail, Domestic and Industrial.

The environmental rankings are based on Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), using BRE’s Environmental Profiles Methodology 2008.

Materials and components are arranged on an elemental basis so that designers and specifiers can compare and select from comparable systems or materials as they compile their specification.

Roofing materials are one of the major elements covered and, within this area, the Green Guide provides an extensive (but not complete) overview of ratings for materials used within common roof constructions.

Overall system ratings are based on analysis of thirteen core environmental impacts each of these impacts is measured on an A+ to E ranking system, where A+ represents the best environmental performance / least environmental impact, and E the worst environmental performance / most environmental impact.

BRE then uses this data to provide a summary environmental rating – The Green Guide rating.

By evaluating the performance of materials and building systems against the thirteen specific environmental impacts, it is possible for the specifier to select specifications on the basis of personal or organisational preferences or priorities, or take decisions based on the performance of a material against a particular environmental impact.

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