Latest Posts

“A building stands for lifelong learning!”

Understanding and optimising a building in its entirety, creating an aesthetically pleasing and functional company headquarters, making bicycles synonymous with a trendy way of life, living sustainably, driving his business forward – these are the goals entrepreneur Dirk Zedler wanted to achieve with a single construction project. Building the headquarters for Zedler Fahrradwelt is a project, which makes use of the DGNB Sustainability Certificate for Buildings In Use to create an interconnected, sustainable building.
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“The efforts of China will have a significant impact on the global sustainable development”

The Chinese Landsea Group, established in 2001, is among the Top 100 Real Estate Developers of the country and specialized on green tech properties. Xie Yuanjian, Vice President and CTO, talks in our interview about the situation of his company in China, the development of green building and efforts to change the industry to the better.
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„We want to demonstrate that environmental protection and running a business are compatible“

The way we plan and operate our buildings offers enormous potential for saving climate-damaging CO2 emissions. However, to fully exploit this potential, it is important to take an honest, systematic look at our own consumption. DGNB member CSMM – architecture matters has implemented exactly this for its own company. Timo Brehme, founder and managing partner, reports on the motivations, experiences and insights.

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Prof. Thomas Auer, Transsolar

Phase Sustainability – exchanging ideas openly and honestly at the first network get-together

Architects and specialist planners involved in the Phase Sustainability initiative ‘met up’ for the first time on 28 July. The main idea of the get-together was to share people’s experiences dealing with sustainability issues when building. By the end of the day, the participants had benefited from a number of long-overdue discussions and gained many valuable insights. Time for Phase Sustainability to enter the next round.

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Rathaus Freiburg Dachflächen PV

An important start: mandatory photovoltaics in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg

As of 2022, all non-residential buildings in Baden-Wuerttemberg that apply for planning permission will be obliged to install photovoltaic (PV) units on a roof area suitable for solar energy systems. This applies to everything from production halls to supermarkets and office buildings. The new requirement was agreed recently by the state government. The DGNB welcomes this move, which it sees as a step in the right direction. All levers now need to be pulled to meet the 2050 climate protection goals. Naturally, this includes the use of solar energy – and there are many more options. Read More

Living Bridge Amsterdam

Vision of a living bridge in Amsterdam

Housing, park, bicycle and pedestrian bridge – the idea of the “Living Bridge Amsterdam” by Dominik Philipp Bernátek is all in one. A hybrid. A future vision of tomorrow’s architecture, which may offer new solutions in the face of increasingly dense cities. In our interview, the architect talks about the project, current challenges and his visions for our cities of the future.

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Young professionals at the DGNB: “Be open and courageous!”

Networking – a buzzword that nowadays hardly any student or young professional can avoid. At the same time, many wonder whether it is worthwhile to get involved while still at university and whether they have a place between experienced professionals. We spoke with Kasimir Forth on this topic. The Managing Director of the Leonhard Obermeyer Center in Munich got in touch with the DGNB and its network when he was a student himself and continued to participate ever since. His answer: Absolutely! Read More

Building sustainably worldwide

Building sustainably worldwide – while observing local differences

When it comes to cutting carbon emissions, buildings play a decisive role worldwide. There is considerable potential to improve the net emissions of environmentally harmful gases, not just when constructing buildings but also when operating them. What we need now is urgent action. The question is, what’s the best way to make the environment we build around ourselves ‘fit for the future’? Read More

Nordhavn quarter Denmark

Sustainable urban development – now the cities are talking

Changing travel infrastructures, the green energy transition, climate protection, demand for affordable housing, civil participation schemes, digital transformation – the major challenges of our time are part and parcel of life in the city and conurbations. A great deal has already been undertaken to translate sustainable urban development into action on a municipal level. And demands to do something are no less pressing given the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it’s important to promote transformative power in government administration!

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TU Darmstadt

A call for more sustainability at universities

Many architecture departments have yet to develop a proper understanding of the role played by sustainability in teaching and research. It’s such an important opportunity to introduce young people to the topic early and pave the way for the future. All universities should place climate protection and the conservation of resources high on their agenda.

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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.

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The Alnatura Arbeitswelt in Darmstadt, Germany

Sustainable building operations for satisfied users

Anyone wanting to future-proof their building operations and ensure they are focussed on climate protection must take a number of aspects into account, e.g. emissions caused, cost or location related risks – AND the needs of the users. Despite all ecological and economic considerations, it is important to maintain a holistic perspective. The DGNB System for Buildings in Use takes all of this this into account. It also considers three sociocultural and functional criteria, which we present in more detail in this blog, the final one in our blog series.

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Frankfurt am Main

Making the property industry sustainable

It has been a decade since developers started erecting sustainable buildings. They now account for an increasing share of the property market. Now it’s existing buildings that need to catch up. An important point of leverage in achieving this will be to instil sustainability as a fixed feature of the financial industry. There are reasons to be optimistic, however, thanks to initiatives like the European Green Deal and the increasing use of carbon pricing.

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A broshure on climate protection

#ClimateActionNow

Any conversation about climate protection and introducing key measures likely to make a real difference quickly moves on to the topic of buildings. Our choices regarding how buildings are planned, constructed and used have a considerable impact on the carbon levels of our planet, which are currently somewhat worrying. But there’s also good news. We can turn things around and make positive contributions to climate protection in the way we need to – but only if we work together, approach things systematically and act as quickly as possible. How specifically this should happen is addressed by a number of services recently announced by the DGNB.

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Denkraum München

Economically achieving climate neutrality in building operations

If you want to prepare buildings for the future and safeguard the value of your assets in the long term, you’ll need a property strategy that is not only geared to the challenges of climate protection, but also makes sense in economic terms. It will also need to weigh up opportunities and threats for each specific building. This is where the DGNB System for Buildings in Use comes in. We use nine criteria to focus the mind on all kinds of topics with a bearing on sustainability. In a series of blog posts, we describe why it makes sense for all building stakeholders to think more about these topics. In this second post, we consider the economically relevant factors. Read More

Last yeas Winnder of the DGNB Sustainability Challenge

One year later: How the winners of the last DGNB Sustainability Challenge are doing

Building material recycling, gold of pleasure and green hydrogen: these elements gave three finalists of the DGNB Sustainability Challenge 2019 victory in their respective categories of research, innovation and start-up. It is now almost a year since their presentation at the DGNB Sustainability Day. Reason enough to take a look at how their innovations for more sustainability in the construction and real estate industry have developed since then. Read More

Langes Haus

Using buildings and looking after the environment

There are roughly 20 million buildings in use in Germany alone – millions of properties that highlight so much potential to achieve our climate protection goals. The question is, where do we begin? Is there something every individual can do – in practical terms – to use or operate the buildings they own or occupy more sustainably? This is where the DGNB System for Buildings in Use comes in. We use nine criteria to focus the mind on all factors with a bearing on sustainability. In a series of blog posts, we describe why it makes sense for everyone with a stake in buildings to think more about these topics. In our first post, we look at the three criteria of buildings in use, which are relevant for the environment. Read More

City Panorama

Architects – the conscience of the building sector

The role played by architecture in climate change is not yet entirely clear. We’re still trying to work out if we need to take a new stance on architectural culture. Architects now bear a major responsibility. They have become the ‘conscience of construction’ – the ones expected to ask the right questions. Answering these questions is something we can only do together.

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DGNB System for Buildings in Use

The path to making all existing buildings carbon-neutral

All existing buildings in use in Germany must be carbon-neutral by 2050. This is truly a Herculean task for the entire construction and real estate industry. For building owners, users and real-estate portfolio owners, this means their CO2 balance at the end of the year for ongoing building operations must be zero. For this to succeed, a targeted, holistic and, at the same time, building-specific approach to sustainable optimisation is needed. The system’s solution here is simple.

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Green Solution House, Denmark

Wanted: innovators offering new building materials!

As public awareness grows for the need to protect the climate and save resources, there is also increasing demand for appropriate building materials. Manufacturers are expected to ‘do their bit’ in raising the standards of the environment we build around ourselves. There are some interesting ideas out there – but companies need to get more proactive.

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METI Handmade school

Treasures beneath our feet: building with earth

“Architecture is a tool to improve lives” is the vision behind and motivation for Anna Heringer’s work. For her experimental approach and outstanding climate resilient and culturally responsive design, the architect received the first Global Award from the Building Sense Now initiative, founded by DGNB CEO Dr. Christine Lemaitre and others. The award ceremony took place in Madrid, alongside the UN Climate Conference. In her talk, Heringer gave insights into her philosophy and work.

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Elephant in the room

The elephant in the room – of sustainable architecture

“Sustainability in Architecture”: Under this heading guests from the fields of architecture, real estate, research and politics have discussed as part of the event series “Elephant in the room” at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design (ABK). Among other things, they talked about the meaning of the term itself, the right adjusting screws and the question of where the symbolic elephants can be found in the room of sustainable architecture.

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Eisbärhaus Bauteil A+B

Sustainability with top marks: highlights of 2019

A DGNB Certificate in Platinum means meeting the highest standards for holistic quality in all aspects of sustainability – for new buildings as well as buildings in use and urban districts. To kick off the new year, we would like to take time to look back at a few DGNB certification highlights of 2019 and use them as a source of inspiration for an ambitious 2020. Let’s get started!

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Green Solutions Awards

Green Solutions Awards: worldwide role models of sustainable building

192 projects, 37 countries, 3 categories – these are the key statistics of the Green Solutions Awards, recently awarded in France to international beacon projects of sustainable building. The aim of the competition, which is backed by the DGNB, is to highlight reproducible examples of sustainable solutions in the construction sector and urban development industry. Allow us to introduce you to the winners across the main categories.

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COP25: Disillusionment and stagnation: 1, Optimism and action: 0

COP25: Disillusionment and stagnation: 1, Optimism and action: 0

What are we doing anyway? This is the question I kept asking myself after going to this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid. Last weekend the COP25 drew to a close, once again without any real results or ambition to show for its efforts. After three days at the conference, this came as no surprise. But instead of shying away from this painful topic, it is now time for some honesty and openness.

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An expensive attempt at image cultivation? Five facts showing why that’s not the point of a DGNB certificate

An expensive attempt at image cultivation? Five facts showing why that’s not the point of a DGNB certificate

Once a year, the German Taxpayers Federation (BdSt) publishes its ‘Schwarzbuch’ containing examples of what it considers to be wasteful uses of tax revenues by government departments. The current edition names the DGNB certification system as one such example, under the heading of ‘Expensive Image Cultivation’. This leads us to question whether the selection and research methods used by the authors were as thorough as they should be. In this case at least, it shows that judgement was handed down without understanding the subject in the necessary depth. So here in the blog – with the necessary brevity of the format – we present the most important reasons why certification is actually worth it.

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“It makes everyday school life easier” – Interview with Thomas Stöckle (School Administration Office Stuttgart)

The vocational school centre GPES in the north of Stuttgart reached the DGNB highest standard platinum. Eight years later, Thomas Stöckle, head of the “New and extended buildings” department at the school administration office of the state capital Stuttgart, looks back in an interview, talks about the special features of school buildings, the opportunities and challenges of certification and explains what pupils and teachers particularly appreciate.
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Distinguished for being Climate-Positive – feedback from key stakeholders

Distinguished for being climate-positive – feedback from key stakeholders

You can erect and use a building without having any negative impact on the environment. Really? Is that possible? Yes, it certainly is. Even today. For the first time, the DGNB bestowed its new Climate Positive award on eleven projects at the Expo Real 2019 trade show. We spoke to the designers, architects and users of the award-winning buildings. Read More

Answers to Climate Protection Issues – an interview with DGNB President Prof. Alexander Rudolphi

Answers to Climate Protection Issues – an interview with DGNB President Prof. Alexander Rudolphi

Very few could claim to have influenced German sustainable building developments in Germany as much as Prof. Alexander Rudolphi. To the DGNB, he has been an initiator, founding member and president in one – from the very start. His was reappointed to his post in 2019. We spoke to Rudolphi at the Expo Real trade show in Munich, took a snapshot together and looked beyond the horizon.

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Much more than “just” German – the international role played by the DGNB

Yes, it’s true: the D part of the DGNB name stands for Deutsch. We’re German. This has no impact on our operations as an NPO, however: we act on the global stage. Whether it’s in Europe or many other corners of the world, we set up networks and are a much sought-after partner and platform of knowledge for many issues affecting sustainable construction. Probably one of the best examples of this is a recently initiated partnership in Spain.

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DGNB Circular Economy

Shaping the transition towards a circular economy

In recent years, the term “circular economy” has become increasingly widespread and has also reached the construction industry. There are a variety of levers for implementing the concept in the construction and real estate sector. In the report “Circular Economy – Closing loops means being fit for the future“, the DGNB has gathered these levers and addresses the relevant stakeholders whose support and participation is required for a transition towards a circular economy. Furthermore, the DGNB provides a toolbox that shows how the idea of circular economy can be realised in concrete projects in practice. Key message: the transition is actually possible, every single step counts, but we can only succeed if we cooperate. Read More

13 key planning points that help turn the spotlight on people

The average person spends up to 90 per cent of their life indoors. Or looked at another way: buildings have a major influence on our health, productivity and ability to enjoy some rest and recuperation. The DGNB has recently written a new report showing how to arrange the planning, building and operational aspects of a building in such a way that it promotes human well-being and even takes individual requirements into consideration.

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The DGNB is still on the rise in China

The DGNB has now certified buildings or districts in around 30 countries. People from more than 40 countries were trained to become experts in sustainable building by the DGNB. One country that occupies a special position is China. The DGNB’s approach is attracting increasing interest in the world’s largest construction market. This became clear once again at the recent visit to China by DGNB’s CEO Johannes Kreißig.

The visit of DGNB certified projects, important meetings with customers, building authorities and possible training partners. Lectures on the International Conference on Green and Energy-efficient Building as well as a series of award ceremonies for certified buildings. The schedule of Johannes Kreißig and our Chinese colleague Kai Zhang was packed with stops in Shanghai, Xi’an, Shenzhen.

DGNB certification is gaining increasing attention in China

A highlight of the current trip was the award ceremony for the Suqian Yang River Logistics Hub Building 1 & 2 as well as the Gezhouba Purple County Residence Shanghai residential project by the China Gezhouba Group Real Estate Corporation. They are the first in the world to be certified according to the DGNB system as well as the China Three Star local standard.

Suqian Yang River Logistics Hub Building 1 & 2 | Copyright: SPIP

Suqian Yang River Logistics Hub Building 1 & 2 | Copyright: SPIP

Gezhouba is an important partner of the DGNB in China. The company has firmly anchored the DGNB certification in its business philosophy and has meanwhile pre-certified a whole series of construction projects according to DGNB, which are among the largest DGNB projects ever planned.

There are now more than 20 projects with a certificate or pre-certificate from the DGNB in China. Among them and throughout the country are numerous residential projects of China Gezhouba Group Real Estate Development. In Xi’an, two buildings of the world’s largest construction company CSCEC under the Xinfulindai project received a DGNB pre-certificate in platinum. A DGNB gold certificate was issued for the Sino-German Ecopark in Qingdao. It is the first city district in China that has been awarded by the DGNB.

The positive development of the DGNB certification in 2018 was also noticeable in China. Here, the certified area has almost tripled in comparison to the previous year.

DGNB with new and growing partnerships in China

But not only the certification progressed. Numerous important partnerships have been deepened, in particular with the China Society for Urban Studies (CSUS), the China Academy of Building Research (CABR) and the China Green Building Council (CGBC).

An important element for the further development of the DGNB in China is the close cooperation around the Chinese Three Star green building certification system. Here, the DGNB is working in partnership with CSUS on a comparison of the content of the two standards and an associated evaluation with the aim of being able to offer double certification in the future. The freshly honored projects have shown it works. Now it’s time to fine-tune the systems to make double certification more attractive for a broader application.

Joint initiative for more sustainability

This joint initiative is particularly important given the limited comparability of internationally available certification systems, such as DGNB, LEED or BREEAM. This often makes it difficult for investors to tell which system is right for them. Creating more transparency in the Chinese real estate market by offering double certification is an important step and benefits all parties involved. This is especially true for sustainable building, because it shifts the focus back to the actual value of certification as a planning and optimization tool for the implementation of holistic quality.

With its activities, the DGNB wants to make an important contribution to sustainability in China. The responsibility for the sustainable development of the Chinese construction and real estate industry, especially in the global context, cannot be overestimated. Partnerships, such as those built by the DGNB in recent years, are fundamental here. The DGNB is in pursuit of a common goal that can only be achieved through cooperation: the goal of securing the future of our planet.

Building Sense Now

Building Sense Now: Introducing the initiative

Globalization has many positive aspects but when it comes to our build environment the aspects are not always so positive. With a one fits all mentality and the drive to sell the same products all over the world combined with the constant hunger for modernism and efficiency the globalized architecture often doesn’t correspond with its cultural or climate context.

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Using buildings as a treasure trove of raw materials – or how to save resources during a development project

One third of all global resources go into the construction of buildings. But if something involves lots of resources, it also represents an opportunity to save lots of resources. This is where four criteria under the overhauled DGNB System come in: deconstruction and disassembly, potable water demand and waste water volume, sustainable resource extraction and land use. Read More

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. Read More

Planning in the early stages – or why a well-prepared project brief is crucial to sustainability

Thorough preparation is indispensable – and this is especially true with a development project. The early stages of planning are decisive for a high-quality building. The DGNB addresses the relevance of the various aspects of planning for sustainable construction, for example with three criteria: comprehensive project brief; sustainability aspects in tender phase; and urban planning and design procedure. Read More