BREEAM Assessor News for May 2014
It’s all go in the world of BREEAM, with plenty of exciting new initiatives underway to improve the quality of people’s living and working environments. Here are three of the best, revealing how BREEAM is having all manner of diverse positive effects.
London hospitals adopt BREEAM in-use methods
There’s BREEAM domestic refurbishment. And there’s non-domestic guidance, too. It’s good to see two of the capital’s best-known hospitals piloting BREEAM’s new in-use (BUI) scheme. And it’s even better to see them experiencing excellent results. It’s all about healthier worker and patient environments, lower running costs, sustainable buildings and sustainable building management. As part of an ongoing NHS-wide campaign on green issues, St. Bart’s and Great Ormond Street Hospitals are both flying the flag, using BREEAM in-use methodology throughout their premises.
BREEAM in-use supports building managers, owners and occupiers by helping them cut the running costs of existing non-domestic buildings, improving their environmental performance. Only recently adapted to suit the health sector, it lets managers identify current sustainability performance and delivers clear guidelines for improvement.
How poor quality housing costs the capital a great deal of money
A recent piece of research by the BRE Trust has revealed problems with the capital’s ageing housing stock. It appears that a worrying 15% of London homes can be classified as ‘poor’, with all the associated social and health problems sub-standard housing brings.
Apparently tackling the worst of their buildings’ health and safety hazards could potentially save the NHS a massive £56m a year on treating people suffering housing-related health issues like respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease and falls. It means, for the first time, that the long-suspected relationship between poor housing, health and safety can be quantified financially.
The information is already helping local authorities justify essential extra spending on refurbishment, improving the homes of vulnerable people in particularly unhealthy housing. And it’s hoped the findings will also help persuade the government to invest more in housing.
New solar farm biodiversity optimisation guidance
How to optimise biodiversity on solar farms? The ecologist Dr Guy Parker has created guidelines in partnership with The National Trust, RSPB, Plantlife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Eden Project, Buglife, Wychwood Biodiversity, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and the Solar Trade Association.
Solar farms only take up about 5% of the land they lie on, which leaves 95% free to develop protected habitats to help safeguard threatened species, some of which benefit considerably from the diverse levels of light and shade the arrays provide.
The guidance reveals how solar farms can improve the network of spaces available for plants, animals and birds and gives planners, ecologists, developers, clients and landowners a series of clear options for optimising farms’ potential.