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BREEAM – Material

BREEAM MATERIAL icon Material 01, 02 and 03

Mat 01

Aim: To reduce the burden on the environment from construction products by recognising and encouraging measures to optimise construction product consumption efficiency and the selection of products with a low environmental impact (including embodied carbon), over the life cycle of the building.


  • Help project teams to understand the overall environmental impact of the building design.
  • Ensure that all life cycle greenhouse gas emissions are taken into account in the design, not just operational emissions.
  • Reduce the impact of the construction industry and construction product industries.
  • Assess the environmental impacts at the building level to provide flexibility when specifying construction products, to take into account project-specific conditions and priorities.
  • Allow optimal solutions to be identified and adopted to reduce overall environmental impacts arising from
    construction product use.

The use of construction products leads to a wide range of environmental and social impacts across the life cycle through initial procurement, wastage, maintenance and replacement. Taken together, construction products make a highly significant contribution to the overall life cycle impacts of a building. In some cases they may even outweigh operational impacts (such as energy consumption). The introduction of Part L into the building regulations has led to reductions in the operational energy consumption of buildings and these regulations are being progressively tightened As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from other aspects of buildings, such as embodied emissions, are becoming increasingly important in terms of reducing the overall emissions in terms of reducing the overall emissions that lead to climate change and arise from the procurement, maintenance and replacement of construction products over the building’s lifetime. In addition to climate change, there are several other embodied environmental impacts associated with construction products and the processes that occur during and after construction that should be considered during design, for example corporate social responsibility and other regulatory obligations.

Rooflight: Rooflights that have a LCA that has been assessed using a tool recognised by BREEAM.

Mat 02

Aim: To encourage availability of robust and comparable data on the impacts of construction products through the provision of EPD.


  • Improve the accuracy of building life cycle assessment (LCA).
  • Improve the availability if robust and comparable data for designers and specifiers to aid construction product selection and specification.
  • Increase the consistency in the information requested from manufacturers.
  • Increase the uptake of EPD by construction product manufacturers.
  • Increase the accuracy and comparability of building level LCA so helping to reduce the overall life cycle impacts arising from the building.

Context: A variety of construction product environmental claims are offered by manufacturers, other industry sources and in guidance, but the results presented are often inconsistent and therefore not suitable for making comparisons. In addition, even comparable information is difficult for a non-specialist to understand. Such information will often be biased towards presenting the benefits of a construction product and avoid or reduce the emphasis on negative impacts. This risks designers, clients and constructors being misled by the information provided, leading to incorrect decisions being taken that could result in increased environmental impacts. As a result, available information can often be misleading to designers and specifiers.
Specifiers can make better informed decisions using comparable EPD and generic LCA data in a recognised building LCA tool, that presentsresults at the building level and over the life cycle of the building. Increasing numbers of EPD are being produced by construction product manufacturers. However, many construction products do not have an EPD, meaning generic LCA data must be used when carrying out a building LCA. While helpful in making basic construction product choices at the early design stage, this does not assist in specifying lower impact construction products during detailed design and construction stages. Further accuracy can be gained when carrying out LCA or specifying construction products by using EPD specific to a manufacturer’s product range or, better still, the specific construction product.

Rooflights: Rooflight manufacturers that have a BRE assessed Environment Product Declaration (EPD) can contribute 1.5 points. Only a Product EPD can deliver this value of points.

Zenon Rooflight EPD BRE Approved Logo

Mat 03

Aim: To facilitate the selection of products that involve lower levels of negative environmental, economic and social impact across their supply chain including extraction, processing and manufacture.


  • Promote more economically,socially and environmentally responsible practices across the construction products, component manufacturing and supply sectors.
  • Encourages the construction industry to identify risks and reduce the environmental, economic and social issues in the supply chain of construction products.
  • Encourages the use and the improvement of credible and comparable schemes to evaluate the responsible sourcing of products.

Context: Most construction products involve long and complex supply chains that result in a wide range of impacts locally and globally. These might include environmental (e.g. toxicity or biodiversity), economic (e.g. corruption) or social (e.g.slave labour, equality) issues and can occur during the extraction, processing, manufacturing or supply chain stages. The increasing globalisation of supply chains increases the difficulty of tracing the supply chain and mitigating negative impacts caused by it. Credible certification schemes exist to increase confidence to specifiers that risks are being minimised or avoided and their use ensures that specifiers are able to demonstrate the responsible nature of their selection decisions.

Rooflights: Mat 03 ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) certifications are recognised as suitable evidence to contribute to Mat 03.

Content references the BREEAM Technical Manual for New Build Non-Domestic Buildings – https://www.breeam.com/NC2018/ 

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