The Bloc will be the first development to go for BREEAM USA.

In brief: The US Green Building Council’s LEED tool may have some stiff competition, with the UK’s main building sustainability rating, BREEAM, officially launching in the US with the release of a technical manual for BREEAM USA In-Use, which will offer benchmarking and certification for the existing building sector.

The US push is a being orchestrated by BRE America, a partnership between BREEAM’s creators, BRE Group, and BuildingWise, a US-based sustainability consultancy that has specialised in LEED certifications.

A statement from the newly created body said BREEAM had been tailored to the US green building market, taking into account the specific legal requirements and government regulations in place and addressing “the many nuances affecting the American marketplace”.

The target of the new tool will be the 5.6 million existing commercial buildings in the US without any sustainability benchmarking.

“We are excited to take the next step in making BREEAM USA accessible to green building assessors as well as building management and ownership groups across the country,” BRE America chief executive Barry Giles said.

“Through this comprehensive American tailored revision of the globally focused BREEAM In-Use program, we are finally able to offer every commercial existing building a robust and proven green building rating system that helps to address the individual concerns and obligations of building owners and facility managers.”

Mr Giles previously told Bloomberg the tool was created to attract commercial operators that didn’t have the time or money to meet LEED. The BREEAM tool involves an online assessment and a US$1000 fee to show how the property stacks up against similar buildings, which can be followed by building upgrades or third-party certification to demonstrate BREEAM standards have been met.

He said BREEAM USA was not about lowering the standards, rather making it easier to gather information and educate owners about how to operate buildings more efficiently.

One of the first developments to use BREEAM USA In-Use will be The Bloc in downtown Los Angeles, which is currently being transformed into an “open-air urban destination” that will be home to an office tower designed for creatives and the 496-room Sheraton Grand hotel.

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