Latest Posts

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

DGNB & Co. compared – Part 3: Features that make the DGNB System special

For many people, the three leading international systems for certifying sustainable buildings – DGNB, LEED and BREEAM – are sometimes used in the same breath and the public perception is that they’re largely interchangeable. But if you take a closer look at the obvious overlaps between the systems, there are actually a number of fundamental differences. This is what our blog series is about. Read More

DGNB & Co. compared – Part 2: Structural conditions

For many people, the three leading international systems for certifying sustainable buildings – DGNB, LEED and BREEAM – are sometimes used in the same breath and the public perception is that they’re largely interchangeable. But if you take a closer look at the obvious overlaps between the systems, there are actually a number of fundamental differences. This is what our blog series is about.
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DGNB & Co. compared – Part 1: basic differences

For many people, the three leading international systems for certifying sustainable buildings – DGNB, LEED and BREEAM – are sometimes used in the same breath and the public perception is that they’re largely interchangeable. But if you take a closer look at the obvious overlaps between the systems, there are actually a number of fundamental differences, so it’s not quite right to consider them synonymous. Read More

Ready to shape the future: Christine Lemaitre re-elected to join WorldGBC’s Board of Directors

In 2008 the DGNB became the official German member of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), a global network of over 70 Green Building Councils around the world. Since then, the DGNB has been intensively involved in WorldGBC’s activities. Now, Christine Lemaitre, CEO of the DGNB, has been re-elected to join the World Green Building Council’s Board of Directors for another two years.

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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. Read More

Indoor air quality – or why good air is a must for healthy buildings

Looking after the health and comfort of everyone, no matter how old, is one of the central goals of the United Nations. Accordingly, the UN has even given the issue its own sustainable development goal (SDG). In terms of its implications for sustainable building, this has an influence on how the DGNB looks at areas such as air quality in indoor environments. It is also why this issue has its own criterion under the DGNB System. Read More

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). Read More

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.  Read More

Exactly what was needed – or why Version 2018 of the DGNB System is much more than a simple overhaul

Certified construction? Oh yes – that’s those handy plaques in platinum or gold, the ones that allow building owners to walk around with architects and announce publicly, “Look everyone, we’re sustainable!” Sort of – yes, that’s one way to describe sustainability certificates. Though actually, buildings don’t simply earn certificates because they deserve to, especially after investing so much time and hard work. It is also a well-earned award for of all those important decisions to look after the environment, for keeping a close eye on commercial viability, and for ensuring the development will be good for the people within the buildings and districts.

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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.

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Role models for sustainability: the best sustainable projects certified by the DGNB in 2017

2017 was a successful year for DGNB certifications. It is becoming more and more important to organisations that they plan, build or operate buildings, or entire urban districts, holistically – taking the whole range of sustainability factors into account. This was also highlighted at the Expo Real Trade Fair for Property and Investmentin Munich in October, where the DGNB issued a record number of certificates.

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A sustainable vertical city: the FOUR Frankfurt project

There can be no doubting that FOUR Frankfurt is currently one of the most exciting high-rise building and urban district developments in Germany. Over the next few years, an extraordinary ensemble of high-rise buildings will be erected on land covering 215,000 sqm, which used to be occupied by Deutsche Bank directly at the heart of the financial metropolis. One of the buildings will tower to a height of 228 metres (748 ft), making it the third-tallest high-rise building in Germany.

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The DGNB in China: in future, quality will make the big difference with projects

The number of buildings that have been constructed in China in the last 15 years equals the total number of buildings that already exist in Europe. Construction volumes remain high and the demand for certifiably better buildings is growing. And this is where the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) certification system comes into play, serving as a quality standard for projects reflecting Made in Germany levels of sustainability.

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“We need more ambition, creativity and courage”

“Systems that limit planners’ creativity and design freedom are fundamentally wrong and ineffectual,” says Thomas Auer, Professor for Building Technology and Climate Responsive Design at TU Munich and Managing Director of Transsolar Energietechnik. In our blog interview, he discusses the differences between international certification systems for buildings and the special role played by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), also reflecting on the responsibilities architects and engineers will face as a result of necessary changes in the environment we build around ourselves.

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The DGNB celebrates 10 years: “Responsibility without tunnel vision”

For an entire decade now, the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) has done more than any other organisation in Germany to shape sustainable building. The DGNB has also been the undisputed market leader for many years. As the largest network for sustainable building in Europe, we bring the pioneers of the construction and property industry around a single table. To mark our tenth anniversary, we invited some 300 guests to celebrate this milestone with us at the Academy of Arts in Berlin (Akademie der Künste).

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The circular economy and its role as a driver of sustainability

Thinking consciously about how natural resources are used has always been a core topic at the DGNB. Right from the beginning, the DGNB has offered a certification system that favours a holistic approach to carbon footprints. Therefore, this has always involved not only the conscious selection of building materials according to their composition and origin, but also a methodical assessment of the ‘reclaimability’ of individual residual materials – all based on strict criteria, criteria that have thus become established in the market.

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“The DGNB Certificate will play an increasingly important role”

With a market share of over 80 per cent for new commercial properties and more than 60 per cent of the overall market, the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) is the undisputed market leader in the German commercial property segment, well ahead of other certification systems. This was the conclusion of the latest market report issued by BNP Paribas Real Estate – Market Focus: Green Buildings 2017. Hermann Horster, Head of Sustainability at BNP Paribas Real Estate, answered our questions about the role played by certified buildings in the investment market, also covering a variety of other issues.

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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.

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“Everybody in the project understood the quality improvement“

The DGNB System has been applied in China for some years now and the first projects have already been certified. During BAU Congress China, taking place in July 2016 in Beijing, we talked with two experts that have practical experience in applying the DGNB System on the Chinese market. Their conclusion: The DGNB System is very well received and fits perfectly to the needs of the Chinese market.

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50Hertz: “A precious award when it comes to design and Baukultur”

Hardly anything makes such a difference to a city’s skyline as the architecture of its buildings. They are more than just a means to an end, more than just four walls that create space for all the things we need to get done. Buildings foster communication; their design can forge identities and make important contributions to a culture. One edifice that unites these qualities in spectacular fashion is the 50Hertz Netzquartier building in Berlin.

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