Reading time: 4 minutes

The interest in building assessment methods is growing, and the most popular accreditations to achieve are BREEAM, NABERS, or LEED. These can also be referred to as green building certifications.

The intricate detail included in the criteria is vast and complex. Each aspect of the building’s design and operation comes with enormous amounts of information, leaving Architects with ‘document-heavy’ material to study.

Each area in the building has a role to play to achieve the desired level of certification, and the washroom provides an opportunity to enhance that prospect.

As Dolphin Solutions is a supplier and manufacturer of prestige commercial washroom products, we often get asked how our offering will help our clients to achieve BREEAM, NABERS, or LEED certifications.

Dolphin provides solutions to help Architects on the path to achieving the accreditations they so desire, but first, let’s look at what they are and how your commercial washroom creates an impact.

Top 3 green building certifications

What is BREEAM?

Developed in the UK, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is a globally recognised standard for evaluating the environmental impact of construction processes, materials, and operations in all aspects of a building – including the washroom. It is the most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings and communities and is a global leader in using a credible scientific framework to validate and certify the sustainability of a building.

BREEAM conducts sustainability assessments from design to construction, refurbishment, and in-use buildings using a holistic approach to achieve ESG (which examines a company’s environmental and social practices), health, and net zero goals. A licenced assessor gathers evidence during each stage of the project, compiles the information into a report, and submits it to BRE who provides the final certification.

A BREEAM certification reflects the performance achieved by a project where it is measured against BREEAM standards and benchmarks. The goal is to achieve a sustainable built environment.

When designing your commercial washroom, you must ensure to select products that have sustainable features and better the opportunity to enhance the scorecard. Such products include hand dryers which produce up to 60% less carbon emissions compared to paper towel dispensers and touch free taps which save up to 70% of water compared to manual taps.

BREEAM rating levels

Unclassified Pass GoodVery goodExcellentOutstanding
< 30% ≥ 30% ≥ 45% ≥ 55% ≥ 70% ≥ 85%

What is NABERS?

The Australian government developed the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) initiative to measure energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and the indoor environment quality of a building. In 2020, NABERS UK was introduced which is an adaptation of the NABERS programme in Australia. NABERS UK only applies to measure the energy efficiency of office buildings.

To be NABERS UK rated, buildings must qualify in the eligibility criteria. These criteria refer to building type, building consumption data, building energy coverage, new buildings, and major refurbishments.

A NABERS UK rating is a reliable system that accurately measures the energy usage of an office building and its performance once in operation. Whether the rating result is poor or market-leading, there is always room for improvement before the next rating date.

Architects are at an advantage when they choose energy-saving washroom products such as sensor taps because of the energy and water-saving features. A more advanced product that features significant energy-saving qualities is Dolphin’s Alavo Mirror System which is an innovative fusion of hygiene, design and energy efficiency.

NABERS UK rating levels

1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star6 star
Poor Below average Average Good Excellent Market leading

What is LEED?

Also referred to as the green building rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is transforming building designs, construction, and performance, creating a healthier and sustainable environment that improves the quality of life for humanity. It assesses the bigger picture of all the essential elements combined to develop the most elite building possible.

Devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED also considers factors such as cost-saving to highly efficient operated buildings. They stamp their mark of approval to confirm the project has achieved its standards of sustainability, health, well-being, and is environmentally responsible.

To achieve a LEED certification, a project must earn points by satisfying the requirements that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environmental quality. Both new and existing buildings can start the journey to becoming LEED certified as the standards were designed to fit all building types in the world at any stage in the development cycle.

Due to this holistic approach, commercial washrooms play a significant role in supporting health, conserving water and energy, supplying eco-friendly products, and providing a space that affects psychological well-being. These factors all form part of the standards to become LEED certified.

LEED rating levels

Certified Silver Gold Platinum
40 – 49 points 50 – 59 points 60 – 79 points 80+ points

Which certification is best for your building?

Deciding which accreditation is best for your building entirely depends on your sustainability goals and whether you are content to achieve the bare minimum or strive for the ultimate design and performance. Although the standards for each of these green building certifications are rigorous, they are achievable.

As a first step, choose washroom suppliers and products based on their credentials and their product specifications because these two aspects play a role that can impact the rating levels. Therefore, careful selection must be a priority to achieve your goal of obtaining the green building certifications you desire.

Find out how Dolphin can assist in achieving your BREEAM, NABERS, or LEED goals

Speak to a consultant