This is a guest post by Abby Chandler, Marketing Manager of Heckmondwike FB, looking at what achieving an A rating from the BRE actually means.
“Lots of products claim to be A rated, but what does it actually mean and how relevant is it to today’s specifier?
BRE Global (Building Research Establishment) offers third party authorisation of products and services, which includes environmental certification. The BRE therefore validates any claims made by manufacturers about products to ensure that they are as sustainable as possible.
BRE Global produces the Green Guide to Specification and Green Book Live, which list information on the environmental impacts of building elements and specifications by ranking them on an A+ (the highest environmental rating) to E rating scale. These rankings are based on life cycle assessments (LCA), using the BRE’s environmental profiles methodology.
BRE Global also runs the BREEAM schemes, which are important in assessing the environmental performance of buildings.
Similar to the Green Guide, Green Book Live is a reference source/online listing of environmental products and services, ranging from commercial building to domestic energy efficiency.
Having a rating within Green Book Live is seen as highly desirable by many manufacturers, adding credibility and demonstrating the sustainability of their products.
These products and services have been independently approved by BRE Global and the organisation reserves the right to remove an entry at any time if terms and conditions for listing are breached.
BRE Global categorises products that are sent to them by manufacturers for independent environmental certification. This includes looking at a number of environmental impact categories using a ‘cradle to grave’ assessment tool that considers climate change, ozone depletion, fossil fuel depletion and waste disposal, amongst others.
Products accrue a number of ecopoints, which determines their rating – from A+ , which is the highest, to E the lowest.
Having this independent authorisation from the BRE gives specifiers and end users the confidence that they are selecting products or materials that have exemplary environmental credentials. For specifiers building to BREEAM ratings Very Good or Excellent levels, it is essential that products are incorporated within a building that are highly rated by the BRE to ensure they can meet these environmental targets.
The BRE assigns all products that it certifies with specific elemental numbers. These numbers can then be used as a reference point when specifying. For example, an architect may specify elemental number 1421570067 (Heckmondwike FB’s Supacord fibre bonded carpet) on several projects, making it easier for them to ensure that the product with the right environmental credentials is selected for the job.
BRE A ratings are relevant to both public and private sector projects, providing a vital assessment tools for anyone specifying any internal or external building products.
Heckmondwike FB sees securing A and A+ ratings as essential to demonstrating our environmental credentials. As a business, we are committed to the ISO14001 Environmental Standard, which includes minimising site waste and source raw materials from within our local area, as well as using a high proportion of recycled content within our products.
So, as you can see, this rating system is a very relevant guide when specifying building products for projects which require use of sustainable products. As both public and private sector projects become increasingly focused on reducing the carbon footprint of buildings, this will become ever more relevant to ensuring products with the best environmental credentials are specified.