Commercial areas

Certify sustainable commercial areas with the DGNB

Commercial areas, which are predominantly home to manufacturing buildings and warehouses, are increasingly discussed in the sustainability debate. In this context, the design and optimisation of individual buildings falls short: Future-proof cities need climate-neutral districts that are able to contribute more to sustainability and climate action than all of their individual buildings taken together. In addition to issues of climate action, climate adaptation and also sustainable mobility, sustainable energy supply across all areas plays an important role for commercial areas. A central goal is to create synergies and a circular economy  within the area and the neighbouring districts. In addition, concepts for jointly organised facilities such as canteens or restaurants and childcare are also relevant for the planning of sustainable commercial areas. The DGNB scheme provides support here as a planning tool.

The current DGNB System for Districts, version 2020, applies to commercial areas.

  • Contribution to climate action through reduced emissions of greenhouse gases over the entire life cycle
  • Adaptation to climate change (use of rainwater; sponge city)
  • Enhancement of biodiversity (e.g. through greening)
  • Establishment of energy cycles and re-use of materials at district level (circular economy)
  • High quality of stay for employees and visitors
  • High location attractiveness for companies of the green economy
  • High national and international competitiveness
  • Creation of synergies between the companies (joint facilities and offers)
  • Sustainable mobility offers
  • Saving resources and costs through the sensible use of technical systems (smart infrastructure)
  • Maximum use and generation of renewable energies in the district
  • High flexibility of construction sites, buildings and open spaces

The certificate is aimed at project developers, investors and municipalities or their economic development departments.

  • Holistic consideration of all relevant sustainability requirements
  • Transparent and independent quality assurance
  • Image building as an attractive and sustainable district
  • Communication of the project to the public and increase of acceptance
  • Marketing and financing advantages
  • High value stability
  • Increasing the attractiveness of the location to attract innovative companies
  • Reduced effort for DGNB building certification due to the creditability of evidence from district certification
  • International applicability and comparability
  • Contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The focus of the scheme is on sites for manufacturing industry and warehouses where different companies want to locate. In contrast to the DGNB scheme industrial sites, the individual buildings are only taken into account with their basic values.

Briefly explained – the DGNB System for Districts

Get a first insight into the DGNB System for Districts, Version 2020 in this short video: Which criteria are relevant, which types of districts can be DGNB certified?

Selected DGNB certified projects

Kö-Quartier
Kö-Quartier, Düsseldorf
Districts New Construction
Commercial Areas
Berlin TXL - UTR - Campus West
Berlin TXL - UTR - Campus West, Berlin
Districts New Construction
Commercial Areas

The criteria sets available

Document|pdf|English|10 MB

DGNB Criteria Set Districts, Version 2020

Overview of all
criteria and schemes

In order to address the individual characteristics of your building project, the DGNB System takes into account a variety of criteria and schemes.
You can find an overview here.

Overview of all criteria and schemes

Project registration

To register a project, clients must first hire a DGNB Auditor. This auditor can then register the project. Auditors also accompany the entire process and take over the verification and submission to the DGNB. They are active worldwide and specialise in certain schemes.

The current DGNB System for Districts applies to commercial areas.

Find a DGNB auditor

Scale of fees

project registration


Your contacts

Matthias Schäpers

Senior Project Manager Climate Positive Cities and Communities

Dr. Stephan Anders

Director Network and Consulting