Over the last few years the topic of environmental impact has become an increasingly important factor for key decision makers in the construction industry. This is perhaps due to both reasons of morality (we would all like to think we are doing our part to help the environment) and because it helps with a project’s overall BREEAM rating.
What is BREEAM?
BREEAM independently certifies the sustainability of a building project. There are a number of stages during the built environment life-cycle when the assessment and certification can take place; from design and construction to operation and refurbishment.
Sustainable building relies, in part, upon the choice of materials that are used. One of the building performance criteria that’s outlined in BREEAM is the dismantling and recycling of building components. This means that building supplies can help to improve the BREEAM rating of a project simply by increasing the percentage of recycled and recyclable materials.
The construction sector has the potential to use much more recovered material. The key for the supplier market is to increase recycled and recyclable content without compromising the technical performance of the products.
How can we help you improve your BREEAM rating?
Every material has its own degree of recyclability. At Neaco, much of our product range is manufactured from aluminium alloy, which offers a natural advantage as it is up to 100% recyclable. For decades, we have been setting higher targets each year for the recycled content of our manufacturing output and we also recycle 100% of our off-cuts.
In addition to the types of materials used, the construction methods in which a project is completed can also contribute to it’s BREEAM rating. For more complex manufacturing methods (e.g. balustrade) there is an advantage to using suppliers who provide pre-engineered systems, as opposed to building products partly or fully fabricated on-site, where processes are less controlled and many perfectly recyclable remnants can end up in a landfill. Suppliers that complete all manufacturing at the factory stage can use much less energy compared to on-site manufacturing, and can recover and recycle any off-cuts to be used in future projects.
Modular systems that are assembled/connected without hot works (e.g. welding) are ideal for a project’s BREEAM rating – their low-energy manufacturing serves the need for responsible construction practices and site impacts.
Incorporating a larger amount of recycled and recyclable materials into a build and incorporating products that are made off-site is beneficial not only for a development’s BREEAM rating but also for the planet that we all share.