Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen

Since 2007, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen (German sustainable building council, DGNB) has been dedicated in its capacity as an independent, non-profit organization to making sustainable building a matter of course both in Germany and internationally. The DGNB now has around 1,200 member organizations, who together represent the entire value chain of the construction and property sectors.

Alongside being a market leader in Germany, the ‘DGNB certificate’ is applied internationally in cooperative projects and direct system partnerships. The certification system is more than just a form of appraisal and distinction: in practice, it is used as an efficient tool to ensure the best possible sustainability credentials in terms of planning, construction, and building operation. Instead of assessing measures in isolation, the certification assesses the global effects on the entire life cycle and concentrates on the actual performance of buildings. This lays the foundation for future-oriented, sustainable buildings and urban districts that best reflect the needs of people as well as the requirements of nature and the environment.

As far as building products are concerned, this means that a product is always viewed holistically, as part of the building. As ever, a product can only deliver its intended effect if used correctly. Applying the product in the wrong area or in the wrong quantity may mean the specific advantages of the product are lost, which in turn can have major effects on the operation of the building. This is why the DGNB system has shifted its focus away from isolated measures (the individual use of a certain product) and has instead directed it on the product's effect on the overall performance of the building in question.

DGNB has also developed the ‘DGNB Navigator’ to help planners and architects. Manufacturers can place all relevant product information on this online platform by means of an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) or other form of certification. Planners can then access the precise information they need to ensure their construction has the right sustainability credentials to meet the building certification, using the data on the platform to inform their product selection. The DGNB Navigator is an important tool that creates a direct link between building products and the certification system.

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