Introduction The ability to predict and measure the success of a building or development against pre-set environmental or sustainability criteria is a challenge that has been tackled with varying degrees of success. Before the UK Building Research Establishment (BRE) launched its Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) in 1990 the only methods available for predicting the performance of buildings were those designed to calculate specific criteria such as thermal loads, energy or water consumption or life cycle impacts of product manufacture. These models were designed primarily to size equipment, predict running costs or optimize the manufacturing process.