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BRE Green Guide

The BRE Green Guide to Specification

The BRE Green Guide to Specification acts as a reference guide to enable developers, architects and other building professionals to choose environmentally sound building components and materials and reduce the overall environmental impact of their construction. It is used within the Code for sustainable Homes (CSH) (pdf) to assign credits to materials used in the major construction areas of a property, in order to reduce environmental impact of the building. The Guide can be accessed online or a full paper copy can be obtained from the BRE website. The most recent version of the guide is The Green Guide to Specification (4th Edition) June 2008.

The Green Guide details the environmental impact of typical building materials and components which are assessed by considering the environmental impact during each stage of their life cycle using the environmental profiles methodology. A typical life cycle of the building component or material is taken to comprise extraction, industrial processing, use or maintenance and its subsequent disposal. Factors assessed include climate change, water extraction, mineral resource extraction, stratospheric ozone depletion, human toxicity, eco-toxicity to freshwater, nuclear waste, eco-toxicity to land, waste disposal, fossil fuel depletion, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation and acidification.

The environmental impact of the component or material is recorded on a scale of A+ to E. A rating of A+ indicates a comparatively low environmental impact, whereas a rating of E indicates a comparatively high environmental impact. Materials and components specified with ratings lower than A can still be utilised within a build and can satisfy levels within the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) and BREEAM.

Over 2000 specifications used in the construction of six key building types are given within the guide. The six key building types covered are Commercial, Educational, Healthcare, Retail, Residential and Industrial with each main element of the construction accounted for. Main construction element categories are:

  • External walls
  • Internal walls
  • Partitions
  • Roofs
  • Ground floors
  • Upper floors
  • Floor finishes
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Landscaping

The main construction categories enable the direct comparison of environmental impacts associated with each chosen design specification or construction system to be easily undertaken.

Certified Environmental Profiles

Since 2002 manufactures have been authorised to provide a Certified Environmental Profile for their products.

Greenbooklive holds current list of all products assigned a Certified Environmental Profile.

Redbooklive holds a list of all fire and security products currently assigned a Certified Environmental Profile.

A Certified Environmental Profile is only awarded to a building product or material which has undergone independent assessment and verification. The environmental impact of the product or material is assessed by considering emissions and environmental factors relating to its manufacture and use in relation to the life time of a typical building.

The Certified Environmental Profile for a product or material represents a benchmark to drive manufacturers to make more environmentally friendly products with lower environmental impacts. Profiles are available from most major manufacturers.