The DGNB is keen to actively contribute to transformation in the building and property sector. This role we identify with also entails involvement in a whole host of research projects, public campaigns and initiatives, all aimed at finding groundbreaking and sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by our industry. We would like to present some of the projects in more detail here.
In order to actively contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable building and property sector, the DGNB has not only developed its own certification system for interiors, buildings overall and districts, but it is also involved in a variety of research projects and initiatives. The topics looked at range from ensuring existing buildings become climate-neutral as quickly as possible to financing property sustainably and promoting resource efficiency.
Translating concepts into practice
A number of the initiatives the DGNB is currently participating in build on projects we have already been involved in for some time. One such initiative is the #BuildingLife project, the first part of which ran from December 2020 to November 2022. The aim of this project was to promote the interests of the European Green Deal through the development of so-called decarbonisation roadmaps – and thus strengthen climate protection in the building sector. The idea of the EU in establishing the European Green Deal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Based on the #BuildingLife initiative, the DGNB subsequently developed its Guide to Climate-Positive Existing Buildings.
The new #BuildingLife 2 initiative is about ensuring our Guide to Climate-Positive Building Stock is shared with more market stakeholders, hand in hand with the development of implementational support and knowledge-based insights into both implementation measures and recommendations for policymakers. #BuildingLife 2 runs from June 2023 to June 2027. In addition to the DGNB, further green building councils in Europe are also participating in the project.
More Life 2 Level(s)
The DGNB is also involved in the More Life 2 Level(s) project, the aim of which is to apply Level(s), the EU assessment and reporting framework, to ten selected buildings and construction projects. These examples should then be used as case studies. The DGNB is playing a role in three initiatives with the aim of helping stakeholders apply the Level(s) framework to their projects, to answer questions of a technical nature and to safeguard quality standards. Launched in May 2023, the More Life 2 Level(s) project runs for four years. The DGNB was also previously involved in Level(s) issues for the Life Level(s) project, which concluded in 2022.
UrbanFactory II is a research project looking into forging better links between commercial and industrial sites on the one hand, and on the other, stakeholders in surrounding areas, with the aim of saving resources. For example, use of a canteen is being shared by a number of different parties, or waste heat emitted by a production facility is being used to heat a nearby housing estate. The project centres on the cities of Braunschweig and Wolfsburg, and in addition to companies, both local residents and the municipal authorities are also assessing potential areas of concern and ways for the different parties to work together. The initiative allows the DGNB to share its experience in developing certification systems, particularly when it comes to urban districts and industrial sites. We’re also providing support with the systematic development of criteria for assessing the sustainability of urban production sites. The idea of the new assessment system is to support stakeholders (especially factories in urban areas) by offering a tool with which, among other things, to make optimisations or identify potential improvements. The UrbanFactory II project started on 1 July 2021 and will run until 31 July 2025. It was preceded by the UrbanFactory research project.
CREATE (Climate Neutral Buildings and Sustainable Real Estate Finance) is a joint research project looking at climate-neutral buildings and sustainable property financing. Its focus lies in developing and optimising financial and insurance services in line with the EU taxonomy, not only so that they are a precise match with the need to address the backlog of property renovation projects in Germany, but also in order to unleash the greatest possible potential to cut carbon emissions. In other words, carbon-intensive buildings should be made climate-friendly. To this end, the project is developing tools that will make it easier to introduce and optimise financial products that not only take into account the needs of financial services providers, but also of potential customers. This involves looking not only at the availability and quality of information, especially data on the extent to which existing buildings are being renovated in Germany, but also at the needs and expectations of financial services stakeholders – as well as incentives in place for customers and any hindrances when using sustainable financial products. The key task for the DGNB is to identify relevant information, particularly on buildings, and verify the quality and availability of data. The CREATE project was launched in October 2022 and runs until September 2025.
Involvement in international projects
Project: Awareness-raising and capacity-building for stakeholders in the building sector – implementing a system for assessing the sustainability of buildings for future-oriented development in Croatia
Funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation, this project sets out to develop a methodological framework for assessing the sustainability of buildings on the property market in Croatia. Assessments are based on the entire life cycles of buildings. In addition to offering its expertise, the DGNB has been providing access to its empirical know-how, literature and publications, all of which has been received by a variety of specialist committees and adapted to the requirements of the Croatian market.
The aim of the Build4People project is to support the Cambodian capital, Phnom Pen, with its transformation into a sustainable city offering a high quality of life. A particular focus of the initiative lies in the building and property sector, based on an approach to research that transcends multiple disciplines, involving architects, urban and landscape planners working closely with energy experts, urban climatologists, environmental psychologists and sociologists. The task adopted by the DGNB is to assist with the formulation of sustainability criteria for the early phases of district development projects. These criteria should make it possible for the city to steer the development of urban districts through private project management companies – with its sights set on sustainability. The project started in 2021 and runs until 2025.