Author: Dr. Anna Braune

Mainstreaming sustainable buildings in Europe

In the first three years of the new decade, eight representative European countries work together on how to incentivise low environmental footprint, low risk and healthy buildings which are economically viable. We do so by establishing reliable assessment methods into our countries’ market mechanisms and by providing training on both the usage on specific projects and on the integration into (green) procurement criteria. We focus our activities on public authorities with their huge possibilities to leverage the targets.

LCA – or why sustainability needs to take the entire lifetime of a building into account

How big is the carbon footprint of a building? How much grey energy is hidden in its four walls? If you want meaningful and honest answers, you need the right tools. The life cycle assessment (LCA) offers effective and tried-and-tested ways to ascertain the impact different construction techniques, energy concepts, building parts and materials have on the environment at every stage of the life cycle. The DGNB System was the first certification system in the world, that has taken the long-term environmental impacts of buildings into account.

Mobile infrastructure – or the contribution buildings can make to green travel solutions

Buildings are a fixed asset and they don’t move much. Yet buildings do have something to do with movement, especially when it comes to the use of environmentally friendly transport. The DGNB has a criterion which is dedicated to the aspect of Mobility Infrastructure, and Version 2018 of its certification system recently adopted a number of topics that will be important in the future.

LCC – or, how do I ask the right questions about costs?

Whether people like it or not, sustainable buildings still have to be judged by how economical they are. For us, this means the DGNB System is not just built on two pillars – environmental quality, next to sociocultural and functional quality; there’s a third key pillar about financial viability: economic quality. One important factor when it comes to economic quality is the criterion Life Cycle Costing (LCC).

Biodiversity – or why building owners can do more for biological variety than they realise

It wasn’t until the extent of insect extinction was understood by the general public that people began to realise how important biodiversity has now become to all of us. Starting with the good news for anyone involved in a construction project: buildings have a significant contribution to make to the promotion of biodiversity. This is aptly demonstrated by the Biodiversity criteria introduced by the DGNB for its 2018 rework of the criteria set. 

GEG 2050: DGNB proposal meets with approval and sparks widespread discussion

An alternative to the 150-page draft building energy legislation – on just three pages? A number of eyebrows were raised when the DGNB released its statement two weeks ago and people first read their emails or saw what was in the press. Is that really possible? We believe it is. Yes, it’s possible! And we’re not the only ones, as the multitude of positive reactions shows.

Saving the world – the DGNB’s contribution to the United Nation’s SDGs

Around a year ago on 1 January 2016, the United Nation’s landmark 2030 Agenda came into effect. The initiative lays down meaningful goals and targets for the future development of our planet with the aim of changing long-term thinking and thus facilitates life in a world of sustainability. The UN’s 17 objectives are called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and each is broken down into a total of 169 targets. These will be used by the UN and its member states to provide development guidelines for the next 15 years. The goals have also provided a foundation for the German government’s recently updated 2016 National Sustainable Development Strategy.

Climate change – can we rise to the challenge?

Two degrees doesn’t sound like a lot. Two is a fairly small number, after all. But how will a rise of two degrees Celsius in global temperatures change our lives and the world? In this case, less is actually more, as Dr Anna Braune, Head of Research & Trends at the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), points out in her commentary on the Paris climate accord signed today in New York.