Incorporating an economic measure in sustainability assessment

Doug Forbes, Mohamed El-Haram, Simon Smith, Malcolm Horner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Breeam, The Building Research Establishment's environmental assessment method, is a suite of tools designed to measure the environmental performance of buildings. Although originally designed for a UK context, it has been adapted for and influenced a range of building rating systems worldwide. The domestic scheme, Ecohomes, was originally designed as an environmental assessment method. This paper analyses the spread of indicators used and seeks to address any gaps. Analysis of the indicators found that there is a very reasonable coverage of environmental indicators in the scheme, and this is complemented by a reasonable coverage of social indicators. However, there is a complete avoidance of the economic dimension. A means of incorporating an economic dimension should be considered to make the scheme a three-dimensional sustainability assessment method. The approach develops a sustainability ratio based on the existing scheme score to measure the environmental and social dimensions, while capital construction cost defines the economic dimension. It is possible that with further industrial consultation the approach could be transferred and applied to other building rating methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-154
    Number of pages8
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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