Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers regarding DGNB Certification

DGNB Certification: added value, requirements and options

DGNB Certification offers benefits for all parties involved in construction: users, investors and clients, planners and architects as well as product manufacturers.

  • Benefits for users: More life quality and lower ancillary costs
  • Benefits for investors and building owners: Value assurance and risk minimisation
  • Benefits for planners and architects: Higher planning efficiency and less effort
  • Benefits for product manufacturers: Construction product expertise and guidelines

More benefits can be found here. If you would like to delve even deeper, you can read our reports Mehrwert zertifizierter Gebäude (in German) and Mehrwert zertifizierter Quartiere (in German) or request them free of charge. The report NO MORE EXCUSES – Sustainable is the new normal also dispels the most common prejudices about sustainable building and clearly shows why sustainable building is essential.

Yes, there are minimum requirements for certification. You can find them in each case under the following links:

The certification process usually takes as long as the planning and construction of the project itself. In the planning phase, optimisation potential in terms of sustainability is identified and implemented as part of a preliminary investigation. Together with the client and the entire planning team, the DGNB Auditor defines the goals and qualities for the project and documents this with a DGNB Pre-Certificate. During the construction project, the DGNB Auditor monitors, among other things, which materials are used and documents the process in terms of the DGNB Criteria. After completion of construction, the DGNB Auditor collects all the necessary documents for the conformity assessment and submits them to the DGNB Certification Body. After submission, it usually takes four or six weeks until the applicant receives the DGNB Pre-Certificate or Certificate.

For multiple or series certification, the documentation process is optimised and therefore much shorter. For international projects, the process often takes a little longer, as the type of certification and a country-specific adaptation proposal must be agreed in advance. More information can also be found under the question "How does the certification procedure work?".

The certification process runs alongside the rest of a project's processes. The certification system supports you from conception to completion. For an overview, click here.

For international projects

In order to clarify ambiguities in the selection of DGNB schemes, projects outside Germany must submit a "Project-specific Certification Query" (PCQ) to the DGNB office prior to project registration.

Once the project has been registered, the DGNB Auditor uses the so-called "Country Adaptation Sheet" to suggest how the criteria and evidence can be adapted to the country-specific conditions (climate, cultural differences, laws, standards etc.). This is coordinated with the DGNB office. After approval of the adaptation proposals in the "Country Adaptation Sheet", the project documentation can be completed and submitted to the DGNB for conformity assessment.

Further information on the procedure with international projects can be found here.

The DGNB Auditor is the central contact person and sustainability advisor for the project. If you want to have a project certified by the DGNB, you register it with the DGNB and find a DGNB Auditor approved by the DGNB. In contrast to the DGNB Consultant, only the DGNB Auditor may submit the project to the DGNB for a conformity check. In addition to knowledge of the DGNB System, the DGNB Auditor also has knowledge of the required project documentation, the application of the tools and the DGNB System Software. The DGNB Consultant supports the DGNB Auditor in this process. The DGNB Auditor can work directly with the building owner, but also with construction product manufacturers.

Due to the independent assessment of projects by the DGNB, it is also possible that a DGNB Auditor or DGNB Consultant is not commissioned externally, but works directly for the applicant.

Depending on the planning stage, size and complexity of the project, different services and expenses are incurred for the DGNB Auditor. DGNB Auditors support the client and accompany the process from registration through certification to completion. They check and document projects according to the DGNB System for the certification of sustainable buildings. Their concrete services include, in particular, the correct implementation of the auditing process as well as advising the project participants (e.g. client and planning team) with regard to

  • the targeted certification level
  • the necessary steps in the certification process and/or
  • valuable optimisation potentials that can improve the performance and quality of the building project.

The scope of services and the fee are freely negotiable with the DGNB Auditor or DGNB Consultant. Further possible audit services within the scope of a certification can be found here.

  • Participation in DGNB networking events: Here you can talk directly to our experts.
  • Contact the DGNB: Do you have a specific question? Here you can find contact details for the right contact at the DGNB. Or meet us at trade fairs and events.
  • Presentations on the DGNB System (upon request from the DGNB)
  • Pre-Check by a DGNB Auditor for your project

The DGNB System is based on the three central sustainability aspects of ecology, economy and socio-culture, which are given equal weight in the assessment. The DGNB System also evaluates the location as well as the technical and process quality in the sense of a holistic approach. The performance in these qualities is made assessable through certification criteria. These are individually adapted to different types of use and can be applied to new buildings, existing buildings and renovations, interiors, building operation and deconstruction, as well as to districts.

All criteria can be requested here free of charge.

On the one hand, the DGNB has various publications on the topic such as the "Framework for climate neutral buildings and sites" or "Climate positive: now!". You can request these free of charge here.

On the other hand, interested parties can find central information, recommendations for action and instruments in the Toolbox "Carbon neutral building" to design, build and operate buildings and districts in a climate neutral way and to help shape the process.

The costs of a certification consist of the certification costs and the costs for the auditing services. The certification costs depend on the scheme, the gross floor area and the DGNB membership of the applicant. Detailed information on the certification costs can be found here.

The costs for auditing services vary considerably from project to project. A detailed overview of the possible services is provided in the service specifications for DGNB Auditors (in German). The scope of services and the fee are freely negotiable with the DGNB Auditor or DGNB Consultant. It is recommended to obtain offers from several DGNB Auditors based on the defined scope of services. An overview of all DGNB certification experts can be found here.

DGNB System: features, schemes and criteria

Compared to other international certification systems, the DGNB Certification System is a second generation system: The assessment basis is not only based on ecological aspects, but on a holistic view of the entire life cycle of a building or districts. Life cycle consideration, holism and performance orientation are the DNA of the DGNB System. In addition, the focus is on promoting the health and well-being of users, the conscious use of resources in the sense of a circular economy, and the promotion of a high quality of design and building culture. You can find more information here.

The criteria for the various DGNB Systems can be found here on our website on the respective sub-pages:

The DGNB System is applicable worldwide. Since the system can be easily adapted to the climatic, structural, legal and cultural characteristics of other countries, the DGNB is able to certify worldwide. The high quality standard is maintained.

In Denmark, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Croatia, certification is carried out by local DGNB System Partners. These have already adapted the certification system for the respective countries and thus enable local certification. In all other countries, experienced DGNB certification expertes support the adaptation in coordination with the DGNB. Further information can be found here.

You can find out more about the international DGNB System for building certification here.

No, we do not. Not even via the DGNB Navigator or the DGNB Navigator Label. The DGNB Navigator is a building product platform that is the only online platform on the market that combines the information provided by manufacturers on product-specific sustainability aspects with the needs of planners. Building products can be used in a variety of ways and must meet different requirements. For this reason, the DGNB Navigator does not contain certifications of building products, but rather optimally broken down information on products and their properties – with a direct interface to DGNB Certification.

On the basis of this data transparency, planners and architects can select the right products for the respective location. The DGNB Navigator Label stands for maximum transparency and quality. However, it is not a certificate for building products. Manufacturers can use it to document their commitment to sustainability and to provide consumers with the necessary guidance and transparency when selecting products.

Choosing the right building products and materials is crucial for sustainable building. Building products also have an impact on the certification result and thus the overall performance of a building for more than half of the criteria in the DGNB System. A decision is made between criteria with a direct influence and those with an indirect influence.

You can also find all information on the topic of building products on the DGNB Navigator website. An overview is also provided by our brochure "Keep an overview of sustainable building", which you can request here free of charge.

DGNB Certificate: certification levels, validity and projects

The DGNB Plaque is available in Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, depending on the certification level. Besides the certification level, it contains information on the scheme and the year of issue. A sample certificate can be seen here:

Click here to read more about the plaques and other awards.

The validity of the certification depends on the type of certificate. For new construction, the certificate is valid indefinitely. For operational certification, the validity is limited to a maximum of three years. Recertification is possible. Further information on the certification of buildings in use can be found here.

The following link lists all DGNB certified projects that have agreed to publication. Small residential buildings certified by the DGNB as part of series certification are not included in the overview (only the basic certificates of the manufacturers are included). The overview also does not include projects from DGNB System Partners.

Your contacts

Ralf Pimiskern

Director DGNB Certification

Markus Kelzenberg

Director Certification Body