Certification Systems


The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) evaluates the entire life cycle of a building, from the production of raw materials to its service life right through to the recyclability of the materials after the demolition of the building.

The DGNB has developed different certification schemes for the miscellaneous types of buildings. 36 criteria (profiles) describe and assess the various categories. The weighted criteria add up to an overall result that leads to a Bronze (only for existing buildings), Silver, Gold and Platin rating.


The Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) is currently developing a second German rating system especially for governmental buildings – the BNB. The criteria and the technical rules and standards on which they are based are open to the public, while those of the DGNB are not.


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is the most well-known certification system. It was developed in the USA and introduced onto the market in 1998.

Participating builders or project managers have to fulfill the eight prerequisites described in the five main categories. Apart from that, they may earn a maximum of 110 extra points or ‘credits’ for meeting any other criteria that you they relevant. The overall result leads to a Silver, Gold or Platinum rating.


BREEAM, short for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, is the oldest and most widely used certification system for green buildings. It was conceived in 1990 in Great Britain. BREEAM awards a four-level quality seal based on a simple scoring system that covers eight evaluation categories. The criteria assess the edifice’s effect on the global, regional and local situation and the materials’ influence on the interior architecture of the building.

BREEAM used to merely address the construction phases, from planning to implementation right through to the building’s operation. In 2008, the system underwent a significant facelift to include the entire life cycle and new mandatory criteria and to re-evaluate the environmental impact of the edifice.


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