Leeds RERF helping Leeds become a zero waste city

What is BREEAM and how does our Leeds RERF score?

BREEAM rating and score

BREEAM is the world’s leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. 

The Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility has achieved a score of 75.89% and a BREEAM rating of Good in the design stage assessment carried out under the 2008 version of BREEAM Bespoke.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) is the world’s leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a building’s environmental performance.

Key innovative and low-impact design features of the building

The Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery faciity has a number of innovative design features.

Green Wall

The southern elevation of the building is covered by the Green Wall. This space will create a large green expanse which will create a natural habitat and in turn attract wildlife. The Green Wall contains a range of plants both native and non-native selected for their appearance, robustness and enhancement of the local biodiversity.

Material Selection

Materials selection was informed by sustainability principles. Selection of construction materials assessed ‘cradle to grave’ concepts and future maintenance requirements. Veolia considered the rating system of the Green Guide to Specification when specifying materials.

Green Corridor

A green link has been constructed connecting the north-eastern corner of the site to the existing green space to the north

A list of any social or economically sustainable measures achieved or piloted

Here is a list of the social or economically sustainable measures in the Leed RERF

  • The applicants contractors Health & Safety Policy states that all workers on or regular visitors to a construction site are registered to the relevant Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
  • Achieve as a minimum 36 points for the Considerate Constructors Award
  • To Meet the British Standard for Accessibility BS8300
  • Applicant and contractor to have in place an Equality & Diversity Policy
  • Areas of the building with different functions will have sub-meters installed to enable energy consumption to be measured by area
  • All lighting system will be designed in accordance with the Chartered Institution of Building and Service Engineers (CIBSE) standards and maintained throughout the life of the ERF
  • High frequency ballasts will be fitted for all fluorescent and compact florescent lamps
  • All external lighting will be specified as energy-efficient and all light fittings will be controlled for the presence of daylight.
  • Within office areas, lighting will be appropriately zoned and occupant controllable.
  • Thermal zoning will be provided so that to allow independent adjustment of heating / cooling system within the Administration building.
  • Incorporate low energy features such as low energy light fittings, motion sensitive switches
  • The proposed development will make a significant contribution to the growth and productivity of Leeds by ensuring that a suitable disposal route is available for residual waste
  • Reduce impact of noise, where practicable all mechanical operations are contained within buildings
  • Community involvement – appointed communications and education manager to manage waste and energy awareness and education matters

​Steps taken to reduce environmental impacts during the construction phase

We took a number of steps to reduce the impact on the environment during the construction phase.

  • Use of straw bale wall to mitigate noise impacts on residential receptors
  • Use of rotary piling instead of driven piles to reduce vibration impacts
  • Monitoring of site energy and water usage throughout construction phase
  • Use of Eco cabins with energy and water efficient features including non-concussive taps, dual flush toilets, PIR lighting and timer controlled heating
  • 100% of site timber responsibly / sustainably sourced
  • Daily dust management/monitoring

Facts & Figures

The main facts and figures about the facility


  • ​Basic building cost - £8,500/m2
  • Services cost - £160/m2
  • External works - £15/m2
  • Gross floor area – 15,300 m2
  • Total area of site – 5.9 hectares

Function areas and their size

  • Reception – 74 m2
  • Offices – 166  m2
  • Meeting rooms – 93 m2
  • Staff Facilities – 55 m2
  • Control room – 95 m2
  • Visitor centre – 130 m2
  • Kitchenette – 25 m2
  • Canteen – 56 m2
  • Bottom Ash Hall – 1,150 m2
  • Workshops – 360 m2
  • Changing rooms – 136 m2
  • First Aid Room – 11 m2
  • Exhibition Centre – 50 m2
  • Area of circulation – 8,100 m2
  • Area of storage – 300 m2

Other information

  • ​1 % area of grounds to be used by community
  • 2 % area of buildings to be used by community
  • Predicted electricity consumption – 0.13 kWh/m2
  • Predicted fossil fuel consumption – 0 kWh/m2
  • Predicted renewable energy generation – 0.72 kWh/m2
  • Predicted water use 86 m3/person/year
  • 0% predicted water use to be provided by rainwater or greywater (rainwater harvested is utilised for the green wall)