DGNB puts existing buildings in focus

DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) presents an analytical instrument and certificate for existing buildings. Sustainable action has become an indispensable element of the building and real estate sectors, and is a matter of course in the planning of many new buildings. It is therefore even more important to place priority on optimizing existing buildings. With its certificate for existing buildings and an instrument for the analysis of existing buildings, the DGNB is focusing on this building segment and offering new solutions.


"Meaningful instruments, which offer a means of achieving transparency with respect to the condition of a building, constitute an essential foundation for greater sustainability in existing buildings. The DGNB existing building analysis therefore takes structural aspects, industrial assets, and building management into consideration," Dr. Christine Lemaitre, CEO of the DGNB, explains.

"This provides a quick overview for companies that service extensive portfolios."

The DGNB existing building analysis produces a comprehensive picture of a building in terms of its sustainability. Based on the DGNB's established criteria catalog, it provides investors, building operators and planners with a sound basis for their decisions about the future of their properties: Are modernization or revitalization measures necessary? Which measures are economically expedient? How sustainable are the management and control measures and how can they be improved? Is it possible to optimize energy and resources management? Can operating costs be reduced? Based on the quality of the solid DGNB certification system, the new instrument ensures maximum transparency and reliability.

Although the DGNB existing building analysis may also be carried out outside the context of certification, the results may be carried over into the certification process if required.

The new instrument is now available for the analysis of office and administrative buildings.

Outstanding building stock
The DGNB has added another important module to its certification system with the certificate for existing buildings. Unlike the planning-based certification of new buildings, real data are used in the process for existing buildings. This means, for example, that the assessment is based on actual energy and drinking water consumption values, as well as operating and running costs. Maintenance and resources management, documentation, strategy and financial reporting are also taken into account in order to acquire detailed information concerning sustainable building management. Furthermore, an appraisal is carried out to determine the actual condition of the property – in terms of accessibility, efficient use of available space or technical quality, for example.

The assessment of an existing building is based on the principles of the comprehensive DGNB system. This means that a building is considered from six points of view:

  • Environmental quality
  • Economic quality
  • Sociocultural and functional quality
  • Process quality
  • Technical quality
  • Site quality

"Existing buildings can exert great leverage to promote sustainability," emphasizes Dr. Lemaitre, "whi

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