BREEAM Awards: The rise of global sustainability standards in hospitality


Last week, the annual BREEAM Awards once again showcased outstanding examples of sustainable building design, development and management of commercial and public sector projects across the globe. Large and small real estate investment portfolios were judged on performance, replicability, innovation and going beyond project expectations with the 5 highest scoring projects, making the category shortlist.

The big hospitality winner of the event was “Studio City Phase 2” in China, a Melco Resorts and Entertainment project, which won the Asia Category, achieving an “Excellent” BREEAM rating.  This stunning hotel project was praised for offering guests excellent levels of thermal comfort, lighting and acoustic performance at significantly reduced operating costs. Not only contributing to local jobs, the hotel was also consciously designed to avoid disruption to bird migration flight paths. This impressive hotel improves its thermal properties with a curtain walling system and an innovative heat recovery system that captures heat from the cooling tower condensers and reuses it in the hot water system. 

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the Energy & Environment Alliance, said: “We are on a steep learning curve. That’s why we have partnered with BREEAM, to create the global standard and guidelines for hotels to achieve and even exceed environmental and social targets. And that is why the BREEAM awards are so important. They assign objective and independent approval and recognition of meaningful programmes, from which we can draw valuable lessons. They are a snapshot of the innovation we can attain in the here and now, as we aim to create and deliver new solutions for the future.”

BREEAM is the world's longest established procedure for assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings. Recognised in 85 countries, they cover a range of environmental issues that also contribute to all 17 of the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). Studies have shown that award-winning projects often made changes during the design process to building features, materials and water services to better meet the BREAM criteria.  Layout amends such as increased cycle facilities and bin storage gained BREEAM points while having a low impact on design. Performance upgrades achieved through increasing window and partition thickness to meet acoustic requirements also increased scores and additions such as solar panels, bird and bat boxes, planters beneficial to local wildlife and green roofs, also featured as simpler ways to increase a project’s BREEAM ratings. Involving a BREEAM assessor and ecologist in one’s core design team can pave the way to achieving a high BREEAM score.

Ufi Ibrahim concluded: “The current cost of energy waste in the hospitality sector is equivalent to £270m per year and 660,000 tonnes of CO2. The financial implications are significant and the advice to the hospitality and real estate industry is clear. The BREEAM awards highlight the art of the possible. It is up to all of us to express a vision of what sustainability will look like in future, and ensure it looks really good.”