The Cost of BREEAM Compliance in Schools

Faithful+Gould acted as strategic advisors to the UK Government’s Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), (previously Department for Education and Skills) on the cost of sustainability in schools. It is now a Government requirement that new schools attain a minimum BREEAM rating of 'Very Good’. The DCSF wanted to know how much more it would cost to achieve the various BREEAM standards.

Read the report: Schools for the Future - The Cost of BREEAM Compliance in Schools (PDF, 3MB)

Faithful+Gould undertook a study focused on the on-cost of compliance with BREEAM. The additional cost of achieving a BREEAM score of Good’, ‘Very Good’ and ‘Excellent’ for the construction of a typical school was calculated. The challenge of the project was to develop scenarios that could work in every situation. These variables included location factors, school types, and floor areas.

It was found that in some circumstances the exponentially increasing costs of achieving the additional credits for an 'Excellent' rating can detract significantly from the project's affordability.

ScoreBREEAM RatingCost
40 Good Little or no extra cost
55 Very Good £19/m² additional cost
70+ Excellent May cost an extra £60/m²

The study highlights that attempting to reach BREEAM Excellent can mean additional costs climb very steeply. An 'Excellent' rating will be very hard to achieve without incorporating a suitable renewable energy solution, which will often be the only practicable method of achieving an ‘Excellent’ rating. The ‘Excellent’ rating can only be achieved through the addition of a renewable energy option.

The renewable credits, associated with the installation of technologies such as ground source heat pumps (GSHP), biomass boilers, solar thermal hot water systems, photovoltaic ‘solar cells’ (PV) or small scale wind turbines are likely to be among the most expensive to attain. However, current trends suggest that the inclusion of an on-site renewable energy source is likely to become a mandatory requirement for future projects. On a positive note, the study demonstrates that achieving a ‘Very Good’ rating is not likely to create significant extra costs, provided that satisfaction of the BREEAM credits is given due consideration early in the design process. Faithful+Gould has also released a study on achieving Zero Carbon in schools.

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