BREEAM (The BRE Environmental Assessment Method), one of the best-known environmental certification systems on the market, evaluates buildings’ physical characteristics and the way that buildings are used and maintained. The certificate can be granted to new and existing buildings.
The environmental classification examines the sub-areas of energy, water, building accessibility, internal conditions, materials, emissions, property management, land use and ecology.
”Our office received the best grades for waste management and accessibility. Accessibility refers to public transport and non-motorised traffic, as well as service provision in the surrounding area. In the usage and maintenance areas, the office attained the best grades for energy and water,” says Sara Tuovinen, Sustainability Consultant at Granlund Consulting Oy.
Tuovinen coordinated the certification process in collaboration with Harri Nyyssölä, the building manager.
Why is BREEAM certification important to Granlund?
The building’s environmental classification contributes to the company’s marketing and image. Buildings with environmental classification are proven to have lower-than-average usage costs and higher rent yields. According to a recent study by Aalto University, environmental certification can increase the value of office buildings in Finland by up to nine per cent.
”As we provide Finland’s most comprehensive range of energy-efficiency consulting services, it is important to us that our own office building also has environmental certification. This communicates to our stakeholders that we also uphold our values of energy-efficiency in our day-to-day work,” says Pekka Metsi, Granlund Oy’s CEO.
What was the process involved in acquiring certification?
Obtaining certification requires existing material to be compiled and new material to be produced.
”The existing material consisted of documentation such as the emergency rescue plan, technical drawings, energy consumption data, maintenance reports and floor plans,” says Harri Nyyssölä.
”Additional documentation was also produced. This mainly consisted of environmental strategy specifications and a building condition assessment. An external auditor checked the documentation and carried out an inspection visit on-site. Some of the documentation was updated based on the auditor’s findings and then we applied for BREEAM certification for the property,” adds Harri Nyyssölä.
One of the targets set in the environmental strategy – improving waste sorting – had already been attained. Employees are already familiar with the new waste-sorting methods, which have led to an improvement in waste sorting in shared kitchen areas and in the cantine. Combustible waste is delivered to an incinerator and used to generate energy.