Climate Positive, DGNB, DGNB Diamond, Sustainable Building
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Sustainability with top marks: highlights of 2019

Eisbärhaus Bauteil A+B

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!

Outstanding new buildings

Top of the line – in many ways

NürnbergMesse Halle 3C

The new exhibition hall in Nuremberg ©Heiko Stahl/Nuremberg GmbH

In 2019 the building with the highest overall DGNB certification score was to be found in the German state of Bavaria. Coming in at 90.5 per cent, NürnbergMesse’s new Hall 3C received top marks. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the new building is especially outstanding when it comes to economic quality, where it achieved the best score of 2019: 95.6 per cent.

The exhibition hall is notable for its optimal indoor air quality and low operating costs, for returning rainwater to the natural water cycle, and for a building envelope that is not only visually appealing but also of above-average construction quality. Guilia Peretti of WSGreenTechnologies was the DGNB auditor who performed the certification.

The leader of the pack in ecology

Alnatura Arbeitswelt

The Alnatura Campus in Darmstadt won the German Sustainability Award for Architecture 2020. ©Roland Halbe

First prize for ecological quality for new buildings went to the Alnatura Campus, the headquarters of the Alnatura grocery chain in Darmstadt. The DGNB Platinum-certified project earned a total score of 83.3 per cent. For ecological quality, it achieved the highest possible mark of 100 per cent.

The building by the Stuttgart architecture firm haascookzemrich – STUDIO2050 uses natural building materials on a grand scale and has the unique claim of being Europe’s largest office building with a facade of rammed earth. Amani Badr of ee concept was the DGNB auditor responsible for assessing this innovative building.

DGNB Platinum plus Diamond

experimenta Heilbronn

The energy concept of the experimenta building relies entirely on renewables. ©experimenta gGmbH

With an overall mark of 82.5 per cent, the experimenta Science Center in Heilbronn is one of the highest scoring DGNB projects of 2019 (sauerbruch hutton architects). The building owned by the Dieter Schwarz Foundation scored 98.7 per cent for sociocultural and functional quality, setting it apart from the pack. Christian Luft served as DGNB auditor of the project for Drees & Sommer Advanced Building Technologies.

The experimenta building, which aims to offer hands-on encounters with science, also received a Diamond award for outstanding quality of design and architectural culture. Another project in Heilbronn also received this honour in 2019: the SKAIO timber-framed tower.

Best in class for existing buildings

It is not only new buildings that are highly important in the building sector, but especially existing ones. So the DGNB places special emphasis on the certification of buildings in use.

A positive climate balance

Eisbärhaus Bauteil A + B

In the Eisbärhaus, a positive climate balance and well-being go hand in hand. ©BANKWITZ beraten planen bauen GmbH

In 2019, the Eisbärhaus (“polar bear house”) in Kirchheim unter Teck (architect:BANKWITZ) was head and shoulders above the rest in this category. It achieved an overall mark of 95.6 per cent – the highest score ever reached in a DGNB certification. This project by Grundstücksgemeinschaft Hindenburgstraße 36 + 38 is a modern, ecological and passive building featuring a brine/water heat pump, solar panels, concrete core activation, and the clever use of wood.

In addition to Platinum certification, the Eisbärhaus became one of the first buildings ever to receive the Climate Positive award for its carbon-neutral operation. The energy concept and the CO2 rating came from the engineering firm SEEBERGER+PARTNER and BANKWITZ. Volker Auch-Schwelk (sustainable strategies) was the auditor for the project.

Certified housing

ISABELLAs in den Nordstadtgärten

Sustainable urban flats ©KIB Gruppe

The ISABELLAs in Nuremberg show that a DGNB certification with outstanding scores is also possible for residential buildings. All seven buildings owned by Schillerpark KIB achieved scores between 81.7 and 82.7 per cent to reach the highest DGNB award. The flats were planned by Hilmer Sattler Ahlers Albrecht. Hans-Ulrich Schlesinger of BfB took on the role of auditor.

Sustainable urban districts

The DGNB system is not just applicable to buildings, but entire districts as well. Numerous districts are now being built in keeping with the DGNB system.

A district, shining as an international beacon


This is how the Oberbillwerder urban district will look one day. ©IBA Hamburg ADEPT with Karres + Brands

One flagship project in this area is the new Oberbillwerder district in Hamburg, which is currently under construction. This development by IBA Hamburg received a total score of 81.9 per cent for its DGNB Pre-Certificate in Platinum. According to the plan developed by the Danish firm ADEPT in collaboration with Karres + Brands of the Netherlands, the 105th district of the Hanseatic city will feature 7000 flats, schools and day-care facilities. It should also create around 5000 jobs. To make the district sustainable and attractive to residents, it will be circled by a road to act as a green belt, it will have carefully positioned multi-storey carparks instead of space-hogging outdoor carparks, and it will feature different styles of architecture. Thomas Kraubitz of BuroHappold Engineering served as the DGNB auditor for this project.

Top marks for industry

Porsche Leipzig GmbH

A bird’s-eye view of the Leipzig plant  ©Porsche AG

At 81.6 per cent, this project by Porsche in Leipzig is setting a benchmark for others to aspire to. The DGNB awarded Platinum to the 427-hectare plant of the sports car manufacturer. Sven Hoffmann was responsible for the certification of the industrial site in Saxony, which Porsche itself audited.

World leader

Dhanaphiphat Building

The Dhanaphiphat Building in Bangkok ©Dhanarak Asset Development

In 2019, multiple projects across the globe were once again certified to DGNB standards. A score of 80.5 per cent catapulted the Dhanaphiphat Building (architect: Architects Associates Co. Ltd.) in Bangkok into the premier class of DGNB certification. Robert Himmler of EGS-plan (Bangkok) was responsible for auditing the office building of Dhanarak Asset Development, which was awarded Platinum.

You can take another look at the DGNB’s best of the best in 2018 here. And you’ll find an overview of all DGNB-certified projects here.

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