Operational energy and water use during Covid-19 lockdown

As we continue to adapt to and assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BREEAM team is seeking to ensure that the data underpinning BREEAM in Use certification accurately reflect typical operational performance.

We appreciate that the full or partial lockdown conditions related to the pandemic may have had a significant impact on the performance of the asset particularly the operational energy and water consumption.

We trust our assessors to use their professional judgement to determine the extent that operational energy and water consumption has been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions. They must ensure that submitted consumption data is representative of consumption under normal conditions. Clients should work with their assessors if they are unsure how they should proceed.

Assets are likely to have been affected by many different local lockdown scenarios so one approach to reporting consumption data is unlikely to apply to all situations. For example, normal consumption data is likely to be sufficient for assets that have only had a minor changes to their operations (e.g. two weeks), if the rest of the 12 month period has been unaffected.

For assets that been more significantly affected (e.g. several months of reduced occupancy), it is likely that energy and water consumption data will need to be taken from a period of time before local lockdown restrictions came into force. In this scenario, the following approach can be used:

The consumption reported must cover the 12 months prior to the restrictions coming into force.  The reported consumption would need to be validated against the year prior to the reporting period to provide assurance to the Assessor that it was in line with typical operations.  Additional evidence and verification will be required for submission. The following sections should help clarify how this should work:

Normal BREEAM requirements

Consumption Reporting:

  • 12 months prior to submission, validated against the evidence requirements

Evidence requirements:

  • Bills or other third-party evidence to support the consumption data reported for this period.

New requirements for this KBCN

Consumption Reporting:

  • 12 months prior to the lockdown period validated against the 12-month period prior to the reporting period to confirm usage as “typical”

Evidence requirements:

  • Bills or other third-party evidence to support the consumption data reported for this period
  • Bills or other third-party evidence to support the consumption data in the validation period
  • A description of the changes that took place to the property’s operations due to COVID-19 and provide evidence of the circumstances

Example for a building submitting for certification in October 2020 subject to lockdown from March 2020:

Normal reporting period
October 2019 – September 2020

Adjusted reporting period in line with this KBCN
March 2019 – February 2020
Validation period: March 2018 – February 2019

This KBCN will remain in place but will be under review as we continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and amend requirements as circumstances change.  We will keep assessor informed of BREEAM In-Use users and assessors via further service announcements and other communication channels.