New BREEAM scheme set to reward addition of green roofs and walls

A new BREEAM scheme has been launched which could encourage more green roofs, green walls and landscape retrofitting of buildings.

High end retrofit: CGI of Battersea Power Station roof garden by Andy Sturgeon
High end retrofit: CGI of Battersea Power Station roof garden by Andy Sturgeon

Unveiled at property trade show MIPIM in London yesterday, BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-Out has been two years in development and specifically looks at rewarding projects for improving the aspects of a retrofit or refurbishment under their control.

Until now some such projects have applied for BREEAM accreditation, run by the Building Research Establishement (BRE), but have been hampered by older building not being as energy efficient as new ones.

BRE Global future products manager Gavin Summerson said BRE hoped the new scheme would encourage more people involved in retrofits and refurbishments to go for BREEAM accreditation.

"Currently less than 20 per cent of such schemes apply but there is more refurbishment in the market than newbuild. There is an increasing focus on non-domestic retrofit," he said.

"We’ve included criteria to get people to consider biodiversity that might be things like green roofs and green walls and how you can improve the landscaping around a building. There’s a lot of opportunity to bring biodiversity into existing landscapes."

BRE has adjusted its previous hardline stance on native species and is now happy for non-natives to be used providing they encourage biodiversity, are site-appropriate and are recommended by an ecologist.

The new scheme has been driven by new minimum EPC standards for the private rented sector which come into force from April 2018. From then it will be unlawful to let residential or commercial properties with an EPC Rating of F or G, the lowest two grades of energy efficiency.

The scheme also introduces a number of new criteria aimed at making existing buildings fit for the future such as issues focusing on climate change resilience and functional adaptability.

The scheme will go live for registrations on 31 October where clients can seek an assessment using the new BREEAM Projects website at The scheme’s technical manual and a range of supporting documents will also be available from the BREEAM website at

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