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Home Sustainability Building Labels

Building Labels

What is a ‘building label’?

Resulting in a plaque affixed to a building, various building labelling schemes operate a system that evaluates if a building has met certain criteria making it sustainable, good quality or both. In the UK, sustainable building labels such as BREEAM, Home Quality Mark (HQM) and the WELL Standard are private initiatives. Some Clients, Government Departments or Councils may recommend or insist on a building achieving certain labels as part of the planning permission process.


Founded in 1990 by BRE (The Building Research Establishment), BREEAM was the world’s first sustainability assessment method for buildings. The BREEAM assessment process evaluates the procurement, design, construction and operation of a development against targets that are based on performance benchmarks. Assessments are carried out by independent, licensed assessors, and developments rated and certified on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.

It holistically measures and assesses a building across 9 categories: Energy, Health & Wellbeing, Innovation, Land Use, Materials, Management, Pollution, Waste, Water and Transport.

There may be a capital cost to building to the enhanced standards promoted by BREEAM, but this cost needs to be seen in the context of the overall value of sustainable development. Growing evidence is demonstrating that sustainable developments, like those delivered through BREEAM, offer value in many ways, including:
o Reduced operational costs
o Helping to limit investor and developer risk
o Making a building more attractive to let, sell or retain
o Creating a more productive and healthy workplace

During the assessment process, each category is sub-divided into a range of issues, which promotes the use of new benchmarks, aims and targets.  When a target is reached credits are awarded.  Once the development has been fully assessed, depending upon the total number of credits awarded, a final performance rating is achieved.


The Home Quality Mark (HQM) is an independently assessed standard for new homes, which uses a simple 5-star rating to provide information from impartial experts on a new home's design, construction quality and running.

Developed by BRE, the Home Quality Mark is based on years of building standards experience, and is part of the successful BREEAM family of quality and sustainability standards.

The Home Quality Mark will do this by providing impartial information from independent experts on a new home's quality. It clearly indicates to householders the overall expected costs, health and wellbeing benefits, and environmental footprint associated with living in the home. In short, HQM helps everyone to fully understand the quality, performance and attributes of a new-build home.

The Home Quality Mark comprises two elements, a five-star rating giving a clear overall picture of the home's quality, and a set of  indicators focussed on  specific aspects that are of particular interest  key groups involved, such as home occupants, developers and planners.

Independent HQM assessors examine a range of issues that are divided into three sections:

Knowledge Sharing - the processes that enhance understanding and co-operation between the designer, constructor, client and householder
Our Surroundings - the ability of homes to work with current and future surroundings
My Home - the provision of living spaces that are comfortable, healthy, cost effective and have reduced environmental impacts


The international WELL building Institute (WBI) is a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and wellbeing in buildings and communities across the world through its WELL Building Standard (WELL).

The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) consists of features across the seven concepts that comprehensively address not only the design and operations of buildings, but also how they impact and influence human behaviours related to health and well-being.

Saint-Gobain’s own Multi Comfort building concept  is about building and renovating our homes, offices, schools, hospitals and other buildings in a way that gives us improved comfort, health and wellbeing whilst protecting the environment.

Multi Comfort buildings take the established Passivhaus Principles and enhance them to create buildings that are not only energy efficient but also facilitate the broader wellbeing of their residents. This is achieved through using a range of technical solutions that mean buildings meet the four key Multi Comfort building criteria: optimal levels of thermal, acoustic, indoor-air, and visual comfort.

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