Circular building aims to create buildings that are optimised over their entire life cycle. In terms of materials, the aim is to use resources that are already available, to reduce mass and thus minimise environmental impact. A sound information base is needed to assess whether buildings are already contributing to a circular economy, how long they can be used and adapted, and whether they can be dismantled, separated and reused in the future, i.e. whether they are recyclable.
This is where the DGNBs Building Resource Passport comes in. As a documentation format, it creates an information base for all phases of a building's life cycle and thus makes an important contribution to transparency about the materials used, the greenhouse gas emissions of buildings and their circularity. It can also be linked to existing tools. The DGNB Building Resource Passport is to be understood as a documentation template that is not universally recognised. However, when certifying a project according to the 2023 version of the DGNB System for New Construction of Buildings, the use of the DGNB Building Resource Passport is desired and simplifies the assessment process.
The basic concept of the Building Resource Passport is based on the idea of the successfully established Energy Performance Certificate. The idea is that the resource passport should contain the essential information on resource use, climate impact and circularity for each individual building.
This will provide all the necessary information to best support the development of 'urban mines', the implementation of circular renovation and new construction, and circular demolition.
In the long term, the Building Resource Passport creates the basis for a consistent circular economy in the building sector, in which all life cycle phases, from design to reuse or recycling, are perfectly coordinated and interconnected. This requires full transparency about the materials and components used, their value and ownership. It is the foundation for a new shared economy, new business models and a high quality built environment.
Owners of new or existing buildings receive information about the materials actually used and any harmful substances. They also receive information on the potential of materials and their value. For planners, the tool offers added value, especially when the optional additional sheets (see below) for the Building Resource Passport are used. These allow in-depth analysis for qualified advice to clients and the development of circular, resource-saving options.
Building contractors can use the format to systematically document the measures they have implemented and to clearly present the services they have provided. Local authorities can also benefit from the use of project-specific building resource passports. For example, they can be used as a basis for the construction and management of urban mines. In the future, the format could also form the basis for the approval of resource-optimised, circular buildings.
The Building Resource Passport can be used for both new and existing buildings. It is designed as a fillable template. The template is based on a catalogue of building components, exports of BIM models or cataloguing of the building in the appropriate tools.
Detailed instructions on how to use the templates, with a full description of all topics covered, will follow shortly.
Some providers of digital tools for building documentation or optimisation, such as Concular, Madaster, the Circularity Design Toolkit from EPEA or the Urban Mining Index, have already implemented or are planning to implement the requirements of the DGNB's Building Resource Passport. The compatibility with federal and EU measures, such as the planned digital building passport, is also ensured.
You find detailed information on the DGNB Building Resource Passport listed below.
Depending on what information is available for the building, the Building Resource Passport can be downloaded in two versions: a complete version and a short version for getting started.
The following tool can be used to display the relevant aggregated information and values for the building resources - both in the short and the complete version. To illustrate the application, you will also find an application example based on a fictitious project below.
In addition, below you will find an example of a completed building resource passport based on a fictitious project, as well as a document containing six additional sheets that can be used for more detailed documentation.
With regard to content, the Building Resource Passport comprises six overarching categories with a total of 25 aspects, which are either mandatory or optional:
In order to assess the quality and reliability of the data provided, the data quality of relevant individual input values in the Building Resource Passport is assessed and output as a number from 0 to 3 per area in the form of a Data Quality Index. This index classifies the quality of the data with respect to the applied methodology for data collection for information on numbers and characteristic values: 0 = no information / not reliable, 1 = estimated / imprecise (e.g. statistical values), 2 = measured / calculated (e.g. on the basis of an extended building component catalogue) and 3 = database / model. The methodologies themselves are classified according to the independence of the determination process: 0 = self-created, 1 = data checked internally, 2 = data checked externally and 3 = data checked independently externally.
In addition to site and year of construction, the basic information of the Building Resource Passport also include the method of construction and the classification into existing and new buildings. This information is crucial for resource use and conservation. Among other things, the type of construction method can influence the lifespan of a building as well as the availability of materials and components for later reuse. The decision to preserve existing buildings is unavoidable given the scarcity of resources in the construction sector, which is why it is highlighted in the Building Resource Passport.
Circular aspects of resource use for the building can be represented by mass-based quotas. To determine such quotas, the total mass of the building must be known. The individual masses are optimally allocated to the building components according to cost groups (according to DIN 276). Based on this information, further evaluations can be made or structured.
In order to achieve comparability and to be able to adequately assess the informative value and quality of the information on circularity given in the Building Resource Passport, it is necessary to indicate the scope of consideration and an estimation of the percentage of the building masses to which all resource-related information in the Building Resource Passport relates.
The Building Resource Passport can and should bundle and classify information collected from material passports and component catalogues. In order to classify the data quality and to establish comparability, the data basis in the Building Resource Passport should be briefly described in qualitative terms.
The different types of materials used in a building should be specified in mass-based quotas. The material composition of a building affects its recyclability and emissions. Knowledge of the types of materials used is the basis for optimising their subsequent use. The classification of material types is based on European agreements.
In a circular building and real estate economy, components, products or materials can be returned to the cycle after the use phase and are ideally useful for people and the environment. If parts of building components, products or materials are already classified as pollutants or harmful substances, or if there is a prospect of their being banned, this makes future use or recycling difficult or impossible. Pollutants or hazardous substances already in use should be isolated in closed loops to prevent them from being recycled.
It is therefore necessary to determine whether harmful substances are present in the building. Further measures can be confirmed by certificates and documented in the building resource passport. Verification using common tools such as the DGNB System (criterion "Local environmental impact" ENV1.2 or according to the DGNB's EU Taxonomy Verification) or the BNB System (criterion K1.1.6) is recommended and can be presented in the building resource passport. In the case of existing buildings, it is also important to know whether and, if so, when and with what results a pollutant report has been prepared.
The mass-weighted shares of recovered, recycled and renewable or non-renewable primary materials used in the building provide information on the actual contribution to circularity already made. A more differentiated listing and subdivision of these shares into reused, recovered (recycled) and renewable raw materials in the building clarifies the quality of this contribution and the efforts made to implement circularity today. An indication of the primary materials avoided can also be provided.
Much of the world's waste is generated during the demolition and construction process. These materials should be treated as valuable resources and recovered to the greatest extent possible. Both the total amount of construction and demolition waste and the recovery routes should be documented using quotas.
In order to be able to assess the climate impact of the building or of the measures carried out as part of its modernisation, transparency is required with regard to greenhouse gas emissions (calculated over the entire life cycle). By presenting and allocating the greenhouse gas emissions (and the non-renewable primary energy used) in the Building Resource Passport to the life cycle phases structured according to DIN EN 15978, it is possible to identify the level of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption from production, transport and construction that have already been emitted and those that will occur in the use and after-use scenarios. Building-related greenhouse gas emissions are of great importance for the ecological footprint of a building.
Adaptability and flexibility allow for intensive use of space and the preservation of the building, even if the requirements for its use change. The Building Resource Passport can be used to document the extent to which the design of the building allows for multi-use or subdivision of space. In addition, information on the degree of space utilisation and space requirements per reference unit creates comparability in the context of efficiency and sufficiency of use. Qualitative statements on expandability can help to extend the remaining useful life of buildings and achieve intensive use.
The dismantlability of buildings can be described in quantitative or qualitative terms. The separability into materials of the resources, products and components used can also be described quantitatively in the form of quotas or qualitatively.
To enable the circularity of buildings and their components, end-of-life scenarios need to be considered at the design and planning stages. In the design of a building, this means preparing for repair, conversion and deconstruction from the outset, and developing concepts and concrete instructions so that resources are available in the future. The various design concepts that contribute to circular construction can be appropriately documented in the Building Resource Passport by indicating whether appropriate concepts and instructions for adaptability, deconstruction and segregation by type are available.
Future circularity can be described by showing the possible "after-use paths" of the materials and resources used. The information should be provided in the Building Resource Passport based on the current state of the art. Other perspectives can also be considered in the optional supplementary sheet.
The resources of the building should be classified according to their subsequent use, such as reusability or (material) recyclability. If no subsequent use is possible, the type of disposal or landfilling that is likely to be required should be indicated. At the building level, the information should be given in mass related quotas.
Circularity encompasses a wide range of building and material characteristics. An aggregated overall assessment of circularity is therefore challenging. Overall circularity concerns all life cycle phases of the building: Already successful reuse of building components and conservation of the building fabric are as important as the likely future circularity.
The Building Resource Passport can indicate whether an aggregated quantitative circularity assessment has been carried out using a recognised methodology and what the result was. In this way it becomes transparent which methodology has been used to assess circularity and a degree of comparability is possible.
Various approaches are currently being tested to document the materials used in the building and their properties. A building resource passport needs to connect to current and future design practices. Interfaces to common digital planning tools are therefore essential. The data on which the Building Resource Passport is based should have a high degree of accessibility. Accordingly, it should be digitally readable and enable use by different authorised stakeholders throughout the life cycle. For example, building owners, occupiers and construction and demolition companies can benefit from the transparency created. Renovation and maintenance work should also be recorded to show not only the design status but also the actual state of the building.
The Building Resource Passport was developed in close consultation with the DGNB Committee for Life Cycle and Circular Building, which was founded in 2022. In addition, an open consultation phase was conducted in the summer and autumn of 2022, during which more than 150 suggestions from external persons were received in writing, in individual meetings and at presentations. This feedback, coordination with tools available on the market as well as with a draft of the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development, led to the further developed version published in February 2023.
In addition, alignments with goals and data structures were made at meta and detailed levels, in order to achieve a very high level of compatibility with a large number of existing and new initiatives: From the political steering level for the building sector to the data structure of building products.