This guest blog by Kingspan explains the nature of Green Guide Ratings that are frequently used by product manufacturers. But, what are they and how are products assessed?
Green Guide Ratings (more properly called BRE Green Guide Summary Ratings) first came into use in 1996 as a method of comparing the environmental credentials of individual construction materials easily. The products are ranked in order of their environmental impact in a range of generic building specifications.
How does it work?
Products are ranked from E (poorest environmental performance or most environmental impact) to A+ (highest environmental performance or lowest environmental impact). This allows specifiers, designers and building managers to make an informed decision on which material to use to minimise the environmental ramifications of the construction.
How are the products assessed?
The overall environmental performance of the materials and building components is assessed through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which analyses those products from ‘cradle to grave’, using the BRE Environmental Profiles Methodology. The performance of comparable specifications is assessed against a range or environmental impacts, also ranked E to A+ including:
- Climate Change
- Ozone Depletion
- Natural Resources – Minerals
- Natural Resources – Fossil Fuels
- Photochemical smog
- Human Toxicity
- Waste Disposal
- Nuclear waste
- Pollution – water
- Pollution – land
- Water usage
Which types of building materials are included?
Most common building elements are covered by the BRE Green Guide Summary Ratings and the list is constantly updated. Currently the list includes:
- Walls (internal and external)
- Floors (ground, upper and finished)
Which buildings are covered by the Green Guide?
There are over 2000 generic specifications assessed covering six main building types:
Where are Green Guide Summary Ratings used?
Green Guide Summary Ratings are used in BREEAM as part of assessing a buildings “Environmental Rating”. They are also the main tool for assessing a materials “embodied impact” in the Code for Sustainable Homes.
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