Press release

Certificates Made to Measure

The certification system of the German Sustainable Building Council (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen, DGNB) is being rapidly expanded.

Its occupancy profiles for new construction now  include office and administrative buildings, industrial and retail buildings, educational facilities, and residential buildings. With the focus to date on new buildings, the DGNB is now developing, step by step, the foundations for the certification of existing buildings. At Consense 2010, the DGNB’s annual congress held on 22 and 23 June in Stuttgart, the first certificates were awarded for the occupancy profile “Modernization of office and administrative buildings”.

When developing new occupancy profiles, the DGNB puts great emphasis on keeping the costs of certification as low as possible. This applies not only to the documentation to be submitted, which is largely based on documentation which is required for the planning and construction process anyway. A further advantage is that all new occupancy profiles comply consistently with the DGNB System. This means that auditors, conformity checkers, and other parties are familiar with the principles of the certification process. This keeps the extent of further training required to a minimum and reduces processing costs in many areas.

“The consistency of the system is the reason we are able to develop new user-profiles at such speed,” sums up Christiane Lemaitre, DGNB’s CEO. The possibility of introducing tailor-made profiles onto the market within a short time makes the DGNB certificate stand out from other international labels for ecological or sustainable construction. And “there’s another reason for the DGNB’s speed: our strong membership basis. At present, around 320 experts are working on new occupancy profiles.” All work groups are formed on an interdisciplinary basis and generally consist of architects, investors, project developers and community representatives, industrial companies, and further experts from the construction and real-estate sectors.

The basis of the DGNB System consists of a clearly arranged core system comprising the central criteria of sustainable construction. Work groups derive from this core system the way in which the criteria and the evaluation basis for a new occupancy profile will specifically be structured. This includes individually weighting the criteria for each profile and individually calibrating the threshold, reference and target values. In educational facilities, for instance, acoustic comfort plays a more important role than in industrial buildings; and in office buildings, the requirements for interior air quality are higher than in retail buildings. Multiple quality controls and a comprehensive practical test mean that each new profile is precisely tailored to its respective market segment.

Since the DGNB Certification System takes into account the various aspects of sustainable construction in a balanced fashion, it is well-suited not only to the evaluation of buildings, but also as an optimization tool in the planning phase.

Overview of Current Occupancy Profiles:

New retail buildings - supermarkets:
This occupancy profile includes supermarkets and specialist stores such as large drugstores or hardware stores. The evaluation takes into account both the performance of the overall building and also of the interior building systems. Due to the high energy and media consumption in retail buildings, the evaluation focuses in particular on these aspects. Family friendliness is also integrated in the evaluation.

New retail buildings - shopping centres:
Shopping centres include centrally planned supply facilities covering a large surface area, mainly occupied by retail-trade, restaurant and catering, and service-sector businesses. In the evaluation of shopping centres, public access, utility supply, and operational areas are primarily considered, including their interiors and building systems. However, the interiors installed by individual occupants are only given limited consideration. The aspects of energy demand and family friendliness also play a central role in this occupancy profile.

New industrial buildings - logistics buildings:
Logistics buildings are defined as buildings used for the distribution, delivery and sale of goods. Unlike with other occupancy profiles, when evaluating logistics buildings, a reduced occupancy period of 20 years is taken as a basis. In this occupancy profile, the site location is given greater attention. The aspect of easy access for people and goods is also incorporated into the evaluation.

New industrial buildings - production facilities:
This occupancy profile covers all buildings in which commodities or consumer goods are produced from raw materials or primary products, for instance through work output or energy use. When evaluating these building, here too, a reduced occupancy period of 20 years serves as a basis. An important feature of the DGNB evaluation of production facilities is the separate consideration given to production areas and office areas.

New educational facilities:
Educational facilities cover kindergarten and daycare centres, schools, university and other higher education buildings whose rooms are mainly used for seminars, lectures or as classrooms. The modular evaluation also takes into consideration ancillary use-areas such as offices, kitchens, cafeterias, libraries, and gymnasiums. However, separate buildings such as sports facilities, libraries, or cafeterias are not considered. The design of outdoor facilities is taken into account in the evaluation due to its importance for users.

New residential buildings:
Residential buildings with more than six living units are eligible for this certificate. A focus of the evaluation is the comfort and well-being of users. Criteria such as noise protection, spatial flexibility, and interior hygiene therefore carry a significant weighting. Low maintenance costs and value retention of residential buildings, as well as the quality of the apartments themselves also assume central roles in the evaluation.

New office and administrative buildings:
This certificate is available for all buildings which are mainly used for office and administrative activities. Apart from ecological and economic aspects, the evaluation focuses on user comfort – especially acoustic, thermal and visual comfort – which have a significant influence on the performance and motivation of employees.

Modernization of office and administrative buildings:
This occupancy profile relates to existing buildings which are mainly used for office and administrative activities and which have been modernized through relevant measures, such as refurbishment of the façade or the building’s technical equipment. Considerable importance is attached to the recording of service charges and amortization costs in the evaluation; the certification system is therefore particularly suitable for architects and developers as an optimization tool in the planning phase.


The DGNB Certification System is being rapidly expanded.

Further information
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen e.V.
German Sustainable Building Council
Kronprinzstrasse 11
D-70173 Stuttgart
Tel.: +49 (0)711 72 23 22-0
Fax: +49 (0)711 72 23 22-99

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