The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) and the Green Building Council España (GBCe) have agreed on a comprehensive partnership. As part of the DGNB Sustainability Day on 25 June 2019 in Stuttgart and on 11 July in Madrid, both organisations signed a corresponding cooperation agreement. In the course of the cooperation, among other things, the DGNB certification system for sustainable buildings is being adapted for the Spanish market. It is also planned to link up with the VERDE system developed by the GBCe. In the future, the Council will act as a certification body for DGNB-certified projects in Spain. The overall objective of the partnership is to establish a common European understanding of the requirements of sustainable construction.
"We are glad and proud that we have been able to implement the partnership with the GBCe in such a comprehensive way", says Dr. Christine Lemaitre, CEO of the DGNB. "On the one hand, we are on the same wavelength with our approaches and thematic priorities based on European fundaments. In addition, GBCe has extensive experience in building certification through its own VERDE system and has been working successfully with us in other projects for many years."
As early as 2013, the DGNB and GBCe had signed a Memorandum of Understanding providing for closer cooperation. The step now is much bigger and more concrete as the partnership also means the extensive entry of DGNB certification into the Spanish market. Perspectively, other Spanish-speaking countries, for example in South America, will be added.
"The DGNB system with its holistic understanding of sustainability is internationally the most advanced and the best answer to the most pressing challenges of our time," says Bruno Sauer, CEO of the GBCe. "We are firmly convinced that it fits in well with Spain and that it can help to promote sustainable building in our country significantly."
Recognition of the DGNB certification with the Spanish VERDE system
In a first step, the DGNB criteria for new buildings will be adapted to local peculiarities in Spain and tested in a pilot phase. This adaptation should be completed by mid-2020. Other forms of certification of the DGNB, for example in the field of renovation, for buildings in use or for urban districts, will be available in Spain in the future as well. This is also the case for the application of DGNB's framework for carbon-neutral buildings and sites which is currently being evaluated.
GBCe will undertake the conformity assessment of the submitted documents for all projects that are seeking a DGNB certification in Spain. Here, GBCe benefits from the extensive expertise in dealing with the local system VERDE. In the area of VERDE, a recognition procedure will also be introduced in future. GBCe aims to introduce the double certification on the Spanish market. Any project that receives a DGNB certificate in Platinum, Gold or Silver in Spain will thereby also automatically receive a VERDE certification. "It is important to combine a superior international vision with a local solution," says Bruno Sauer. "That's exactly what we achieve with the double certification."
The partnership also focuses on the topic of knowledge transfer. For example, the GBCe will be the first point of contact for the DGNB in Spain in the field of continuing education and training for experts in sustainable construction. In the fall of 2019, there will be a first joint training session, giving industry experts in Spain the opportunity to qualify as DGNB consultants or auditors.
Towards a European understanding of sustainability
"The partnership is another important milestone on the way to a common European understanding of the requirements of sustainable construction," says Christine Lemaitre. After Austria, Switzerland and Denmark, Spain is the fourth European market in which the DGNB has its own system partner who actively manages the DGNB certification on site. This will also increase the network of European organisations, which in the same way bear the measurable requirements of sustainable construction in the respective local markets.
Together with organisations from Denmark, France, Austria and Switzerland, the DGNB and the GBCe had already launched a new European alliance for sustainable buildings with G17 last year. "The name G17 is derived from the 17th Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations, which emphasizes the value of partnerships to achieve the other sustainability goals," explains Bruno Sauer. "We believe in the power of collaborative initiatives, which is why the partnership with the DGNB is only logical and meaningful to us."
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Dr. Christine Lemaitre (CEO DGNB) and Bruno Sauer (CEO GBCe) signing the cooperation agreement in Madrid | Copyright: GBCe
Prof. Alexander Rudolphi (DGNB President) und Justo Orgaz (President GBCe) signing the cooperation agreement in Stuttgart | Copyright: DGNB