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LEED vs. BREEAM Certifications for Sustainable Roofs & Equipment Supports

Posted by Art Valentz on June 20, 2024

As we become increasingly aware of how human activities affect the environment, more individuals are looking for ways to reduce their ecological footprint. One such way is through sustainable building practices that strive to minimize the adverse effects of human activities.

The importance of such practices cannot be overemphasized, especially as the world grapples with climate change and its attendant environmental challenges. This article explores two prominent certifications for sustainable buildings, LEED and BREEAM. We examine the history and purpose of each certification, the certification process, and the requirements for roofs & equipment supports.

We will also compare the two certifications, look at case studies of buildings that have achieved either (or both) certifications, and provide tips for choosing the right certification for your project. We also discuss emerging trends in sustainable building and the future of these certifications.

Understanding LEED Certification

As commercial buildings continue to grow, promoting sustainable building practices that minimize environmental impact and maximize energy efficiency has become increasingly important. This is where the LEED certification program comes into play. Established in 2000 by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), it recognizes buildings that meet its sustainability criteria.

Among the aspects that the certification covers are energy efficiency, water use, indoor environmental quality, and materials selection, all of which are crucial in ensuring that commercial buildings are environmentally conscious. For roofs & equipment supports, in particular, materials that both minimize environmental impact and maximize energy efficiency are a must-meet requirement for qualification.

Understanding the LEED certification program is thus essential for any commercial building that seeks to achieve optimal sustainability and remain competitive in the modern market.

Understanding BREEAM Certification

Commercial buildings are seeing a surge in environmentally friendly approaches, and BREEAM certification is leading the way. The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, better known as BREEAM, was developed by the BRE in the UK to recognize buildings that meet the specific criteria for sustainable building practices.

However, BREEAM certification is not just a rubber stamp; it measures various aspects of a building to ensure it is eco-friendly, including energy and water usage, pollution, materials selection, and ecology. For commercial buildings focused on installing sustainable roofs & equipment supports that meet BREEAM requirements, using more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient materials is necessary.

Comparing LEED and BREEAM

Global Reach vs. Local Emphasis

LEED and BREEAM differ in their approach to certification. LEED has a global reach and is recognized in over 165 countries worldwide, while BREEAM is mainly used in the United Kingdom.

However, BREEAM strongly emphasizes local environmental issues such as ecology, pollution, and waste, making it more adaptable to local conditions. On the other hand, LEED emphasizes sustainable building practices regardless of location.

Point-Based vs. Percentage System

LEED and BREEAM also differ in their scoring systems. LEED uses a point-based system, with each credit having a specific point value and a total point count required for certification. In contrast, BREEAM uses a percentage system, with credits weighted according to significance and a threshold to reach certification.

BREEAM's approach is more flexible and focuses on continuous improvement and innovation, while LEED's approach is more prescriptive and focused on specific thresholds.

Energy Efficiency vs. Health and Well-being

LEED places a greater emphasis on energy efficiency, specifically reducing carbon emissions and energy usage. This emphasis reflects the growing environmental concern and the need to mitigate climate change.

On the other hand, BREEAM places a greater emphasis on the health and well-being of the users of the building, including factors such as air quality, lighting, and comfort. This emphasis reflects the growing awareness of the importance of healthy environments for human health and productivity.

Materials and Resources vs. Innovation

LEED and BREEAM also differ in their approach to materials and resources. LEED strongly emphasizes selecting environmentally friendly materials, such as those with recycled content.

In contrast, BREEAM has a separate category for innovation, encouraging new and creative solutions for sustainable building practices. This category promotes creativity and innovation, allowing for the possibility of advancing sustainable practices in new and unforeseen ways.

Comparing the Two

Ultimately, the choice between LEED and BREEAM depends on your building project's specific needs and goals. While both programs promote sustainable building practices, LEED's global reach and emphasis on energy efficiency may make it a better fit for larger commercial or multinational projects.

In contrast, the flexibility and local emphasis of BREEAM may make it a more attractive option for local and regional projects focusing on community-building and sustainability.

Choosing the Right Certification for Your Project:

When choosing between LEED and BREEAM, several factors must be considered, such as the building's location, the budget, and the project's goals. It is crucial to involve a sustainability consultant in decision-making to ensure that the chosen certification meets the project's specific requirements.

Once the certification is selected, it is essential to involve all stakeholders in the project and identify areas where the certification's criteria can be met without compromising the project's goals.

The Future of Sustainable Building Certifications

As the world grapples with climate change and its attendant environmental challenges, a shift towards more sustainable building practices is inevitable. This shift will likely prompt LEED and BREEAM certifications to evolve to meet new challenges.

For instance, there may be increased focus on embodied carbon and circularity in materials and more consideration of ecological and social factors.


It is evident that the LEED and BREEAM certifications play a crucial role in promoting sustainable building practices. While they may have some similarities, it is clear that they differ in significant areas, making the decision of which certification to pursue an important one.

As we are becoming increasingly aware of climate change, it is imperative that we strive towards more sustainable practices in construction. And this is where VTECH Skylights comes into play.

Our company has taken great strides in developing state-of-the-art skylight solutions that enhance the aesthetic appeal of buildings and contribute to their energy efficiency. We at VTECH Skylights are committed to redefining your high-end commercial property through our cutting-edge products and services.

Topics: Rooftop Equipment

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