Masthusen becomes the first development to achieve BREEAM Communities final certification outside of the UK

Masthusen is located in the Western Harbour district of Malmö in Sweden. This 160,000 square feet, 1000 home, and 18 neighbourhood development, ambitiously implemented the BREEAM Communities international bespoke process and were successful in achieving a ‘Very Good’ rating.

BREEAM Final Stage (Step 2 and 3) Very Good (57.5%)

Scheme: BREEAM Communities 2008: Mixed Use
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Developer: Diligentia: Masthusen (Bilenkv7)
Assessor company: White Arkitekter AB
Project manager: NAME
Architect: Kanozi Arkitekter

About the Development

Once an area renowned for shipyards and car manufacturing, it is now a thriving sustainable commercial and residential development. Located in the Western Harbour district of Malmö in Sweden, this 160,000 square feet, 1000 home, and 18 neighbourhood development, ambitiously implemented the BREEAM Communities international bespoke process and were successful in achieving a ‘Very Good’ rating.

This certification provides recognition of the developments sustainability throughout the masterplanning process. The area is now in the construction phase and once built, will act as a central destination for those living and working on the Western Harbour. This resilient regeneration of the formally industrial, Western Harbour, is an important part of the City of Malmö’s wider ambitions for sustainable development.

Following the success of this community, Diligentia, the first developer to use the BREEAM Communities assessment framework outside the UK, is now also applying BREEAM Communities to other projects in Sweden including the development of an area in Sundbyberg just north of Stockholm.

Development Details

  • Includes residential units and 20,000 m² of non-domestic spacing for offices, shops and services.
  • Parkland is located to the north of the site and a large square forms the development’s centrepiece.
  • The City of Malmö, the developer and other partners in the development have co-operated extensively under the shared goal of the BREEAM Communities certification to agree on aspects of the design and planning, responsibilities and implementation.

Project Objectives

When BREEAM Communities assessments are undertaken outside of the UK, a bespoke appendix of criteria are developed to take account of the local context, such as local climatic conditions, cultural context and different planning systems. As the developer had a strong understanding of the area and surroundings, the BREEAM Communities assessor was able to build on learnings from earlier Western Harbour developments and utilise this knowledge to support the development of the bespoke criteria. Working with the developer, design team and the municipality, the criteria were developed to reflect the need to provide and support:

  • Appropriate space for new, small businesses, and ensure that new businesses complement rather than compete with existing businesses.
  • Space for growing food.
  • Sheltered and internal space for community engagement.
  • Strategies to reduce noise and light pollution.
  • Whole life material costing.
  • Considerate constructors’ practice.

Sustainability Benefits

Diligentia, one of Sweden’s largest real estate companies, decided to seek BREEAM Communities certification for Masthusen to help maximise the project’s sustainability benefits and to demonstrate these achievements to the City of Malmö and future developer partners and tenants. ‘This mixed use development was the first of its kind for Diligentia,’ says Anna Barosen Project Manager at Diligentia AB, ’and the sustainability issues were very important to the project. To make sure we handled all relevant issues, we were looking for a tool that could help us lead the way.’ As part of creating an appealing, dynamic and more sustainable urban environment, the Masthusen development includes the following sustainability attributes:

  • Mixed-use community providing housing, offices, retail and education facilities.
  • Range of tenures and occupational uses, creating vibrancy and supporting existing and new small businesses and restaurants.
  • Sustainable building materials.
  • Strong emphasis on designing the area to be adaptable to the impacts of climate change.
  • Vehicle-free transport solutions, with extensive fast and safe cycle paths that are well connected to the rest of the City of Malmö.
  • Improvements to public transport where buses are given high priority at traffic lights and higher frequency bus services connect Malmö with important areas of the Western Harbour.
  • Car pool available on site, through a partnership with ‘Sunfleet’.
  • Sustainable refuse management.
  • Strong focus on urban biodiversity and reducing building energy use.
  • Individual buildings certified under BREEAM Europe Commercial 2009, Mastering Portal 6, which offers 6,000 sqm of office space and 1,800 sqm of retail and service space (“Excellent” rating).


Major developments such as Masthusen take several years to design and build. BREEAM Communities was developed to operate to these extended timescales. Furthermore Diligentia highlight that the BREEAM Communities framework enabled them to “place great emphasis on bringing in key sustainability issues very early in the urban development.” (2013)

Masthusen went above and beyond the criteria necessary to meet the mandatory requirements of a BREEAM Community and this year (2014), through alignment with their bespoke criteria, the development achieved a ‘Very Good’ rating with a score of 57.52%. Through implementation of the sustainable certification scheme (BREEAM Communities) the Malmo site is now able to build upon the sustainability credentials achieved at the community level through certification at the building level. The BREEAM Communities and Building level schemes are aligned to complement the use of the BREEAM methodology throughout the lifecycle of a development. This development will act as a model for the implementation of “BREEAM” throughout the developments lifecycle with the developers aiming for high ratings under BREEAM New Construction.

Impacts of BREEAM Communities on the design process

“Applying BREEAM Communities has helped the project team to integrate sustainability issues into the development phase…and to understand which questions to deal with early in the process while we can still change the layout.

BREEAM Communities certification will demonstrate to our clients that sustainability issues are important to us, and that we provide a good product that is third-party certified.”

Anna Barosen, Project Manager, Diligentia AB


“Working with BRE on the development of the bespoke BREEAM Communities standard for Masthusen provided us with an ideal opportunity to review how we develop sustainable communities in Sweden.

For us, BREEAM Communities is the optimal tool for collaboration between authorities and developer. At the same time it provides the ability to assess a wide range of sustainability issues within the same project. I would recommend all developments undergo such a process.”

Anders Nilsson, BREEAM Communities Assessor, White Architects

Masthusen: A hub for resilience

Through the implementation of the BREEAM Communities framework Malmo has successfully established itself as a hub for sustainable resilience. Taking into account the following issues: Climate and Energy; Place Shaping; Ecology and Innovation; and many others, Malmo has acted on its vulnerability to climate change and will continue to do so through adoption of BREEAM building level schemes. Masthusen, an area once known for its carbon emitting, climate degrading developments has successfully implemented BREEAM Communities to make a substantial step forward to achieving both the City and the European Union’s climate targets. The success of the sustainability credentials that have been driven by BREEAM Communities have prompted Diligentia to use the sustainable framework to enhance and develop the masterplan for subsequent projects.

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