In 2013, Japan became the only Asian country to reach the top 20 in globally sustainable competitiveness. Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE) is the green building management system for sustainable construction in Japan. It was created in 2001 and was officially off the ground in 2004. It is certified by the Institute for Building Environment and Energy Conservation (IBEC), which was founded in 1980 in Japan.
CASBEE was created for newly built construction, currently standing buildings, and renovations. It covers four assessment fields: Energy efficiency, resource efficiency, local environment, indoor environment.
The CASBEE also added two separate categories within the system: Q (built environment quality) and L (built environment load) to make it more specific. Q is also divided into three items for assessment: Q1 Indoor environment, Q2 Quality of services and Q3 Outdoor environment on site. Likewise, L is divided into L1 Energy, L2 Resources & Materials and L3 Off-site Environment. CASBEE states that large building owners must submit a blueprint and plan and for the government with access to these plan to publish them on their public website.
The purpose of this is to encourage the owners of these buildings to carry out efforts to reduce the environmental load on their own. In turn, it will create a market that others will value and high-quality buildings and structures will be viewed as sustainable and helpful to the environment.
The scoring goes from level 1 to level 5, with level 1 given if the building meets the minimum requirements, level 3 is given when it meets the average technical and social levels at the time of the assessment, and level 5 is given when the building represents a high level of achievement and sustainability.
Each of the 5 levels gets a letter representing the rating, S, A, B+, B, and C. 1, the best, being S, and 5, the worst, being C. The levels are scored based on a Building Environmental Efficiency (BEE). In order to get a S, the BEE value has to equal or surpass 3. Getting an A is a BEE score or 1.5-3. A BEE score of 1.0-1.5 will get the building a B+. 0.5-1.0 score equates to a B. And lastly a BEE score of less than 0.5 will get you a poor score of C.
In both the “L” and the “Q” categories, the buildings are assessed in the following fields: Water efficiency, materials and resources, energy efficiency, indoor quality, accessibility and ecology, and management. Each one of these categories within “L” and “Q” carry a certain percentage weight over the entire score. Because the CASBEE values some of these categories over the other in terms of importance, they hold different point values equating to the overall score of the structure.
Some advantages of the CASBEE is that it has unique characteristics and definitions in the way that they classify buildings to get their final score. It uses the system talked about above, the Building Environmental Efficiency (BEE), which did not appear before. CASBEE differs from other rating systems in that they assess the relationship between the building and the environment. The evaluation of this system depends on the integration between improving the performance in the internal environment and reducing the negative impact of the building on the external environment.
The certification process is expensive. It is about $3,570-$4,500. This is for a couple reasons. The number of the certification is extremely limited. CASBEE has yet to become widespread because of its complexity and shortage of incentive to get the certification. Users say that it is hard to understand because of its multiple categories. As talked about in the above paragraphs, the “Q” and “L.” categories have made the system difficult to understand. The CASBEE system is also relatively new to sustainability. It still has its focus in Japan, however it is slowly but surely being spread globally. Another disadvantage to keep in mind is that the CASBEE does not rate the aesthetic design. Although this is not a big deal when it comes to sustainability, it means a lot when it comes to a design of a city. Not only do you want buildings to be sustainable, but you also want an aesthetic city that can attract tourists.
CASBEE has many advantages and disadvantages. Both the advantages and the disadvantages come from the system being relatively new. CASBEE is a unique system unlike any of the big ones out there. Their BEE system is one of a kind, their ratings are specific yet complex, and their main focus is evaluating the relationship between the inside built environment and the outside environment. The disadvantages, however, may outweigh the advantages. Because they are not globally known yet, their certification is quite expensive. And because there is not a big push for sustainability and economical heath in Japan, builders see no need to spend the money on getting certified if they do not see a need for the certification. I believe this system will do better in the future than it is now, because it is still a newby ratings system. I believe they will work out the kinks, (i.e., costs, promoting sustainability, and finalizing the “L”s and the “Q”s to make them more organized and simpler to understand.