1. Introduction

Green building certification systems assess buildings on items such as the use of natural energy, use of energy conservation systems, and rainwater management (KICT, 2016). By doing so, the systems aim to induce the reduction of the environmental loads of buildings. For the purposes of fulfilling the objectives of responding to climate change and reducing greenhouse gases by expanding environmentally friendly buildings, each country has developed and put into practice their own systems that certifies environmental friendliness. Several studies are underway in a number of countries to find environmentally friendly and sustainable methods of construction.

By examining the certification systems currently in operation in each country, it can be understood that their assessment methods and systems vary in degree according to the climate and social characteristics of each country. Also, among the certification systems currently in operation by each country, some certification systems assess not only domestic but also international projects as well. Regarding such systems, this study examines BREEAM of the UK and LEED of the US, both of which are global certification systems that provide certifications worldwide. BREEAM and LEED are international certification as well as domestic certification buildings.

LEED has grown to become the world’s most widely used green building rating system, with nearly 90,000 projects participating in LEED across 167 countries, including more than 39,000 certified commercial projects. Also, LEED certifies 2.20 million ft2 per day, and is currently the most widely used worldwide (USGBC, 2017b).

BREEAM has nearly 250,000 registered projects in 77 countries, and including 56,000 certified projects (BREEAM, 2017a). In 2012 7.5% of all certified BREEAM New Construction nondomestic assessments were of buildings located outside the UK, rising from 7% in 2011 and 4% in 2010. BRE Global data (not presented in this publication) shows that the number of certified international (non-UK) assessments has doubled year-on-year since 2009 (BREEAM, 2014).

This study aims to analyse the BREEAM and LEED certification systems currently in active operation worldwide. Both certification systems provide not only domestic certification but also international certification. In light of this aspect, this study pursues an understanding of the differences in certification items for both their domestic and international processes and also aims to classify certification items according to their properties to understand their characteristics.

Using the analysis results that comparison of LEED and BREEAM, the study then aims to ascertain the possibility of whether the G-SEED (Green Standard for Energy and Environmental Design, Korea Green building Certification System) can be used to certify international buildings. And explore the possibility of developing international version of the G-SEED and indicate the direction of G-SEED amendments that may arise in the future.

G-SEED is the green building certification system of Korea that has certified over 8,000 buildings between its inception in 2002 and up to the year 2016 (G-SEED, 2017). The system, however, has only certified buildings within Korea during this period. G-SEED needs to introduce international certification for the future development.

2. General information of Green building Certification Systems

A general overview of G-SEED, currently in operation in South Korea, LEED of the US, and BREEAM of the UK is provided below (Figure 1).

Figure 1 

G-SEED, LEED and BREEAM Categories.

2.1. G-SEED

G-SEED (Green Standard for Energy and Environmental Design) is a system used to assess green buildings that are in operation in Korea. A green building, as defined in Article 2 of the Green Building Act (2006) in Korea (Green Architecture Division, 2016), is a building that minimizes its impact on the environment while at the same time providing a comfortable and healthy living environment. The G-SEED is a system used to assess such buildings and undertakes a comprehensive assessment of the environmental friendliness of buildings. The system was first introduced in 2002 to assess multi-residential housing units and currently is used to undertake assessments of new buildings, existing buildings, and green-remodelling buildings. By building code, the system undertakes assessments of buildings classified as general housing, single housing, multi-residence, general purpose, offices, schools, sales facilities, and accommodations (KICT, 2016).

G-SEED was amended in 2016 and undertakes assessments across 8 categories (Table 1) including land use and transportation, energy and environmental pollution, materials and resources, water management, maintenance, ecology, indoor environment, and innovative design. The energy and environmental pollution category constitutes the largest portion of the assessment (KICT, 2016).

Table 1

G-SEED Rating System (New Buildings).

Categories Average Weighting Number of Credits Prerequisites Credits

Land Use and Transportation 10 6
Energy and Environmental Pollution 30 6 1
Materials and Resources 15 6 1
Water Management 10 4 1
Maintenance 7 3 1
Ecology 10 3
Indoor Environment 18 6 1
Innovative Design 10 9

2.2. LEED

LEED was developed in the year 2000 by the US Green Building Council and aims to reduce the use of resources; actively pursue the reuse of material and promote better recycling practices; minimize the adverse effects and maximize the positive effects the construction industry has on the environment and humans; and provide building occupants a merited in-door environment (USGBC, 2017a).

LEED also emphasizes integrated design and technology, environmentally friendly building technologies, and the most up-to-date strategies from policy experts. LEED assesses building design and construction (BD+ C), operation and maintenance(O+M), interior design and construction (ID+C), and neighborhood development (ND) and provides certification standards for new construction, core and shell, schools, retail, data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality and healthcare.

Following its inception in the year 2000, LEED has been amended several times and LEED v4 is currently operating based on its 2014 amendments. Table 2 displays the assessment categories of new constructions in LEED v4. Energy and Atmosphere category constitutes the largest portion of the assessment.

Table 2

LEED Rating System (New Construction).

Categories Average Weighting Number of Credits Prerequisites Credits

Integrative Process 1 1
Location and Transportation 16 8
Sustainable Sites 10 7 1
Water Efficiency 11 7 3
Energy and Atmosphere 33 11 4
Materials and Resources 13 7 2
Indoor Environmental Quality 16 11 2
Innovation Design 6 2
Regional Priority 4 4

2.3. BREEAM

BREEAM is the world’s first certification system regarding building environments and first came into effect in the year 1990. The system aims to mitigate the life cycle impacts of buildings on the environment; enable buildings to be recognised according to their environmental benefits; provide a credible, environmental label for buildings; and stimulate demand and create value for sustainable buildings, buildings products and supply chains (BREEAM, 2017b).

BREEAM makes assessments of infrastructure, communities, new constructions, in use buildings, and refurbishments and undertakes assessments of new constructions regarding residential, commercial, education, residential institutions, hotels, and non-standard buildings.

The BREEAM International version, amended in 2016, makes assessments across 10 different categories (Table 3), which include management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use and ecology, pollution, and innovation. As is the case with LEED and G-SEED, assessments regarding energy constitute the highest portion of the assessment. BREEAM provides a minimum standard for prerequisite credits only for its very good ratings.

Table 3

BREEAM Rating System (International).

Categories Average Weighting Number of Credits Prerequisites Credits (Very Good rating)

Management 12 5 1
Health and wellbeing 15 7 3
Energy 19 6 1
Transport 8 5
Water 6 4 2
Materials 12.5 4 1
Waste 7.5 4
Land Use and ecology 10 4
Pollution 10 3
Innovation 10

3. International Version of LEED and BREEAM

In this section, the international versions of the BREEAM and LEED were examined. LEED does not have a separate version of certification for its domestic and international version, whereas BREEAM provides a domestic version for use within the UK and a separate international version.

This study examined the certification items regarding new construction in LEED v4.0 BD+C (Building Design and Construction) and certification items regarding all buildings in BREEAM International New Construction 2016. Certification items were grouped into general “Global certification items” having no specificity for locality and “Local certification items” that differ by each locality according to social, environmental, and political factors. Local certification items were identified by whether a certification standard used the local standards as provided in the manual.

When grouping the certification items, not only the certification items that applied to local certification items in its entirety to assessment methods but also partial applications of local standards were counted as items following local certification standards.

3.1. LEED for International

LEED1 does not have a separate standard for domestic and international version and makes assessments of both domestic projects and international projects using a single standard. However, for international projects that necessitate the inclusion of related standards or regional properties, local regulations having similar levels are followed.

In the LEED, 52 certification items of new constructions were analyzed (USGBC, 2013). Global certification items that may be used regardless of locality numbered 36 in total and accounted for 69% of the items. Local certification items capable of use in assessments in reference to local standards numbered 16 in total and accounted for 31% of the items (Table 4).

Table 4

Analysis of LEED Credits.

Categories Credits Global Local

Credit Integrative Process

Location and Transportation Credit LEED for Neighborhood Development Location
Credit Sensitive Land Protection
Credit High Priority Site
Credit Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses
Credit Access to Quality Transit
Credit Bicycle Facilities
Credit Reduced Parking Footprint
Credit Green Vehicles

Sustainable Sites Prereq Construction Activity Pollution Prevention
Credit Site Assessment
Credit Site Development – Protect or Restore Habitat
Credit Open Space
Credit Rainwater Management
Credit Heat Island Reduction
Credit Light Pollution Reduction

Water Efficiency Prereq Outdoor Water Use Reduction
Prereq Indoor Water Use Reduction
Prereq Building-Level Water Metering
Credit Outdoor Water Use Reduction
Credit Indoor Water Use Reduction
Credit Cooling Tower Water Use
Credit Water Metering

Energy and Atmosphere Prereq Fundamental Commissioning and Verification
Prereq Minimum Energy Performance
Prereq Building-Level Energy Metering
Prereq Fundamental Refrigerant Management
Credit Enhanced Commissioning
Credit Optimize Energy Performance
Credit Advanced Energy Metering
Credit Demand Response
Credit Renewable Energy Production
Credit Enhanced Refrigerant Management
Credit Green Power and Carbon Offsets

Materials and Resources Prereq Storage and Collection of Recyclables
Prereq Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning
Credit Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction
Credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations
Credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials
Credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredients
Credit Construction and Demolition Waste Management

Indoor Environmental Quality Prereq Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance
Prereq Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control
Credit Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies
Credit Low-Emitting Materials
Credit Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan
Credit Indoor Air Quality Assessment
Credit Thermal Comfort
Credit Interior Lighting
Credit Daylight
Credit Quality Views
Credit Acoustic Performance

Regarding its certification items that follow local standards, LEED posits a rule of thumb where such certification items either may adhere to local standards that are similar or follow the stricter of the two standards. However, in the case of its energy category, certification must comply with USGBC certified standards and must be calculated in reference to climactic zones.

Also for its regional priority section, which is open to the application of regional properties, additional points can be acquired in categories that have been certified in previous steps. A maximum of 4 points can be acquired and the certification items that apply differ according to each region.

With the exception of certification items regarding indoor water use reduction, energy performance, and building life-cycle Impact, all other certification items in the water, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources categories can be assessed using LEED standards. Also, most local standards are recognizable in the certification items regarding sustainable sites and indoor air quality.

3.2. BREEAM for International

In the case of BREEAM, domestic standards (BREEAM for UK) and international standards (BREEAM for International2) are operated separately. The international version can be used in countries not having an NSO. For cases in which an appropriate local system applicable to a type of building exists in a country, that system is prioritized for use over the BREEAM International version. In the case of new constructions, a separate standard is being operated in the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, and Sweden (Table 5).

Table 5

BREEAM Standards by Country.

Country New Construction

United Kingdom BREEAM UK New Construction
Netherlands BREEAM NL New Construction
Spain BREEAM ES New Construction
Norway BREEAM NOR New Construction
Sweden BREEAM SE New Construction
Germany BREEAM International New Construction
Austria BREEAM International New Construction
Other Countries BREEAM International New Construction

BREEAM also operates a bespoke process (BREEAM, 2015). For cases in which a building does not fit the scope of the BREEAM, BREEAM community projects outside of the UK, and all BREEEAM Infrastructure New Construction pilot projects, a bespoke assessment can be made. If an applicant applies for a bespoke process to BRE Global, a meeting takes place between BRE Global, a bespoke assessor, the applicant, and the design team to assess the use and functions of a building. Following this meeting, BRE Global determines the criteria following further discussions with the assessor and design team.

In the BREEAM, a total of 42 certification items are analyzed regarding residential buildings, non-residential buildings, and removed items (BREEAM, 2016). Global certification items that can be used in general without regard to a locality numbered 23 in total and accounted for 55% of the items (Table 6). Local certification items capable of assessment in reference to local standards numbered 19 in total and accounted for 55% of the items.

Table 6

Analysis of BREEAM Credits.

Categories Credits Global Local

Management Project brief and design
Life cycle cost and service life planning
Responsible construction practices
Commissioning and handover
Aftercare

Health and wellbeing Visual comfort
Indoor air quality
Thermal comfort
Acoustic performance
Accessibility
Hazards
Water quality

Energy Reduction of energy use and carbon emissions
Energy monitoring
External lighting
Low carbon design
Energy efficient transport systems
Energy efficient equipment

Transport Public transport accessibility
Proximity to amenities
Alternative modes of transport
Maximum car parking capacity
Travel plan

Water Water consumption
Water monitoring
Water leak detection
Water efficient equipment

Materials Life cycle impacts
Responsible sourcing of materials
Designing for durability and resilience
Material efficiency

Waste Construction waste management
Recycled aggregates
Operational waste
Adaptation to climate change

Land Use and ecology Site selection
Ecological value of site and protection of ecological features
Enhancing site ecology
Long term impact on biodiversity

Pollution Impact of refrigerants
NOx emissions
Surface water run-off

Also, of the local certification items, those certification items that required referencing of a country-specific reference sheet numbered 7 in total and included commissioning and handover, visual comfort, indoor air quality, water quality, water consumption, construction waste management, and surface water run-off.

When applying local standards to a BREEAM assessment, the assessor must send the local standard to BRE Global for approval. The sent material must include content regarding the approval of the project and must be included in the new country worksheet.

Local standards are classified by BRE using the following criteria. Cases where no specific local standard is specified, cases where an approved local standard is specified, and cases where an unapproved local standard is proposed.

All items in the Transport category are certification items that can be assessed without local standards and with the exception of water consumption in the Water category, all other items can be assessed using BREEAM standards. Also in the case of the Management and Health and Wellbeing categories, most certification items recognize local standards.

3.3. Comparison Of International Version of LEED and BREEAM

The results of analyzing the certification items of LEED and BREEAM indicate that LEED operates with more “Global certification items” that are unaffected by local standards and that BREEAM operates with more “Local certification items” that recognize local standards.

This difference can be explained further in terms of the operating method of each system. BREEAM operates a separate international version, while on the other hand, LEED applies the same certification standards to all domestic and international projects. It was understood that there were more items that could be assessed in a general manner in the case of the US considering that the US, being a country having a larger total area than the UK, was subject to a number of different climates.

In the case of BREEAM, when making use of local standards, the assessor must receive approval from BRE Global. However, in the case of LEED, such approval is necessary only for the Energy Performance certification items.

Similar certification items that use local standards found in BREEAM and LEED were organized in Table 7 below. The items could be classified according to their affiliation with Site/Location, Water, Energy, and Indoor Environment/Health. Site selection involved several certification items that made use of local standards and water consumption and energy performance related certification items made use of local standards according to differences in rainfall volumes, energy consumption and climate. Also regarding the indoor environment of occupants, differences in living environments resulted in the use of local standards for items regarding indoor air quality, thermal conditions, and acoustics environments.

Table 7

Local credits of LEED and BREEAM.

Categories LEED BREEAM

Site/Location Sensitive Land Protection Site selection
High priority Site
Site Assessment
Construction Activity Pollution Prevention Responsible construction practices
Site Development
-Protect or Restore Habitat
Long term impact on biodiversity
Water Indoor Water Use Reduction Water consumption
Energy Minimum Energy Performance Reduction of energy use and carbon emissions
Indoor Environment Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance Indoor air quality
Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies
Thermal comfort Thermal comfort
Acoustic performance Acoustic performance

When considering the points above altogether, certification items that assess the local environment, climate, or living environment were frequently found to make use of local standards.

4. Conclusion

This study examined green building certification systems that assess the environmental friendliness of buildings and examined the global certification systems known as BREEAM of the UK and LEED of the US, both of which are used to certify international projects. By examining the certification systems currently in operation in each country, it can be understood that their assessment methods and systems vary in degree according to the climate and social characteristics of each country.

This study examined the certification items regarding new construction in LEED v4.0 BD+C (Building Design and Construction) and certification items regarding all buildings in BREEAM International New Construction 2016. Certification items were grouped into general “Global certification items” having no specificity for locality and “Local certification items” that differ by each locality according to social, environmental, and political factors. Local certification items were identified by whether a certification standard used the local standards as provided in the manual.

The results of analyzing the certification items of LEED and BREEAM indicated that LEED operates with more Global certification items that are unaffected by local standards and that BREEAM operates with more Local certification items that recognize local standards (Table 8).

Table 8

Comparison of G-SEED, LEED and BREEAM.

G-SEED LEED BREEAM

Local Certification Items 25(58%) 16(31%) 19(45%)
Global Certification Items 18(42%) 36(69%) 23(55%)
sum 43(100%) 52(100%) 42(100%)

An analysis of the certification items of LEED and BREEAM indicated the existence of similarities between global certification items and local certification items, while on the other hand, different items also existed. Overall, local standards were found to have been frequently applied to certification items that assess the local environment, climate, and living environment. In the case of BREEAM, several certification items required approval by BRE Global when it came to the use of local certification standards. On the other hand, in the case of LEED, only energy performance certification items required approval from USGBC.

Using the analysis results that comparison of LEED and BREEAM, the study then aims to ascertain the possibility of whether the G-SEED can be used to certify international buildings. In order to develop G-SEED, need to references the international version of LEED and BREEAM operation system. Also, it should be analysed for the certification items of G-SEED.