Green building rating tools (such as BREEAM) and sustainable building assessment tools (such as SBAT) have been effective at getting designers to think about environmental and sustainability issues in their designs in order to achieve a design rating at a particular point in the design development of buildings.
These tools, however, are less effective in ensuring that environmental and green building issues are effectively integrated into every aspect of the project. For instance, the achievement of a design rating early in the project may mean that sustainability design intentions are ‘forgotten’ later in the project and there may be little attempt to consider more sustainable construction and building operation options.
Avoiding this requires ongoing attention and sustainability must be considered at every stage of a building’s lifecycle and integrated into the building ”product” and ”processes” in appropriate ways. This can be supported by a structured framework. An example of an early version of this was the Sustainable Building Lifecycle.
More recent frameworks address design processes in more detail and an example of this is the Green Overlay. This was developed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as an overlay to their Architects’ Plan of Work and aimed to ensure that sustainability issues were embedded in the work stages undertaken by Architects. A copy of the overlay can be accessed here.