Green Guide to Specification

Environmental Profile Methodologies Used In The BRE Green Guide To Specification

The BRE Green guide to specification is a standard method that is used to assess the environmental impacts of the various materials that are used in construction pose to the natural environment. The process of identifying and assessing the construction materials entails the extraction of the materials, processing, use and the eventual maintenance and disposal. This helps the designers in demanding for the reliable data that can be compared on the various building materials.

The standards specified in the Green guide were first published in 1996 to help the various stakeholders in the construction sector to make decisions that are well informed to ensure that their properties pose the least impact to the environment (Kibert, 2008). The Green guide accomodates for upto 2000 standards and specifications that help in the design and execution of the various types of buildings. The BRE Green Guide to Specification forms the primary tool in the assessment of the effects of the construction materials in the sustainable homes code, as well as the BREEAM.

The BRE Green Guide to Specification is useful in assessing the effects of the construction materials used in construction of commercial buildings, health care, industrial, educational, as well as in retail facilitiers (Anderson & Shiers, 2009). The construction materials are then arranged in the Green guide on an elemental basis, and the specifications compiled. This helps the client and the designers with an easy-to-use guidance on the best approach to make informed envoronmental choices in selecting the construction materials and components.

The construction materials are assessed on their environmental impacts and then compared with the set specifications in their entire life cycles (Moskow, 2008). The data in the Green Guide is accessible and reliable and it helps the stakeholders that are involved in the design, construction of buildings and their management to help in minimising on the effects of the construction materials on the environment. The building elements are then ranked using the Green guide to specifications on an A+ to E scale of rating. The rating is classified according to the life cycle assessment (LCA) using the environmental profiles methodology. The rankings provide the generic ratings that help in the illustration of the range of the various typical construction materials.

The Green guide provides useful guide that helps in the assessments of the various building elements. The materials, as well as the components of the building elements are classified to help in the selection from the comparable systems as the designer and the client. The various elements that are covered in the BRE green guide include the ground floors, suspended floors, external and internal walls, partitions, roofs, insulation, floor finishes, landscaping and the windows. The catalogue is updated regularly to ensure that the specifications accommodate for all the popular construction materials (Anderson & Shiers, 2009).

The specifications for various buildings are assessed using the BRE’s Environmental profiles methodology. The specifications are evaluated against various environmental concerns that include the climate change and global warming, water and mineral resource extraction. This also includes the depletion of the stratosphere, human toxicity, the ecotoxicity to fresh water, as well as to the land (Moskow, 2008). The Green guide also presents specifications on nuclear waste, waste disposal, fossil fuel depletion, as well as the eutrophication, and acidification. The final environmental concern is the photochemical ozone creation.

The National council for the building material producers in the Uk is one body that advocated for the change in the Eco-label system where only the top products would be tested and given labels. In the UK, the National Council for Building Material Producers (BMP), which represented many construction product manufacturers, became aware of this work and had concerns about the concept. The labels lacked detailed data on the impacts of the construction materials on the environment. The eco-labels were established to be inadequate in the construction elements where the various products were assembled to form buildings (Anderson & Shiers, 2009).

The BMP in collaboration with the British Government worked to come up with a detailed labellind systems for the various construction products. This would help the constructors and the designers to choose the mix of products that guaranteed buildings of lesser impacts in the construction and operation (Moskow, 2008). This formed the basis for the establsihment of the Green guide to specification that is available online for free and on sale for the hard copy. The BRE Green Guide to specification is constantly being improved to help the manufactures to update their production process to ensure that it is compliant with the specifications.

In conclusion, the Green Guide User specification is a tool that is used in identifying and assessing the impacts of the various construction elements to the element. This helps the designers, the client, as well as the ,managers of the buildings to adopt construction materials and elements that pose the least impact to the environment. The BRE Green Guide is composed of standards that are based on the various environmental issues.


Anderson J & Shiers D, (2009),’The Green Guide to Specification: Breeam Specification’ 4th Edition, Wiley Blackwell;ISBN-10: 1405119616.

Kibert C (2008) ‘Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery’2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons; ISBN-10: 0470114215.

Moskow K, (2008),’ Sustainable Facilities: Green Design, Construction, and Operations’, McGraw-Hill Professional, ISBN-10: 007149474X.