BREEAM and LEED environmental certification

BREEAM and LEED are the two big environmental certification systems used in the world today, although there are other systems, e.g. Energy Star in Australia and Sweden Green Building Council in Sweden.

In both BREEAM and LEED, diverse projects can be assessed and there are various systems used for different types of buildings. In both systems, the project’s environmental impact is assessed in numerous categories. The categories have different names in BREEAM and LEED, but they cover more or less the same areas: land use, energy consumption, water consumption, material selection, indoor environment, transport, degree of innovation, and waste.

There are different numbers of certifications in the various systems and certifications are calculated in different ways. BREEAM has five levels of certification and LEED has four. 

Both systems have minimum requirements that must be satisfied for the building to be certified at all. 


(BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is currently the most common system in Europe. BREEAM is available in a number of variants for different types of properties. Environmental performance is assessed in different areas with minimum requirements for project management, the building’s energy consumption, indoor climate with ventilation and lighting, water resource management, waste management, land use and impact on the local environment. The assessment results in a certification rating of Acceptable, Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent or Outstanding.


(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Performance is assessed for land use, water consumption, energy consumption and emissions, materials and building resources, indoor climate and innovative design, taking into account innovative and technical solutions that take the building beyond what LEED requires. The assessment can result in a Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum rating.