The DGNB System for Existing Buildings and Renovation


The renovation scheme closes the gap between the existing systems for certification of new and existing buildings. With the application of this system, buildings that have undergone renovation can now be certified. The requirements are based on those of new buildings, but also take into account the special features of renovation projects – the focus is on core renovation. In addition to ecological and economic aspects, user comfort plays an important role – for example in acoustic, thermal and visual terms, which has a major influence on the performance and motivation of workers.


In addition to office and administrative buildings, we would like other types of use to participate in the initial application phase. As with the new building systems, different applications of the renovation are also applicable:

  • Office and administration buildings
  • Educational buildings
  • Residential buildings
  • Consumer market buildings
  • Shopping centre buildings
  • Department stores
  • Logistic buildings
  • Production buildings
  • Hotel buildings



The basis for the scheme Renovation, Version 2016 (SBV16) are the schemes for buildings, such as office and administration buildings, Version 2015. In other words, apart from a few criteria (including the tools provided) specially adapted for SBV16, the criteria (and tools) of Version NBV15 (currently only in German language) must be applied.


What conditions must be met in order to apply the DGNB Scheme for renovation?

If the modernisation measures exceed the demarcation regulations for existing buildings, certification after renovation must be carried out. This is the case if the following modernisation measures were carried out in the last 3 years (either a or b):

a) 50 % of the facade and roof surface (energetically effective) + a significant change (generation and distribution) to ventilation, heating or cooling.
b) 25 % of the facade and roof surface (energetically effective) + two major changes (generation and distribution) to ventilation, heating or cooling.


Renovated buildings with mixed-use can also be submitted for certification. The usual demarcation regulations for mixed-use from new construction are to be applied.


What kind of awards are available?

As with the existing new construction certificates, the awards will include platinum, gold and silver.

What requirements does an auditor have to meet?

Since "renovation" is very similar in content to the schemes of the 2015 Version (german), the audit can be carried out by all trained DGNB auditors for buildings.

All documents relevant to the audit are available on request from René Traunspurger r.traunspurger@dgnb.de.


The project registration for the pilot phase of the scheme "renovation of office and administration buildings" has been open since May 2016.
At present, we can provide you with the criteria and tools for the scheme "renovation of office and administration buildings", Version 2016 is within the scope of the pilot phase. However, the system can be easily transferred to other types of use. We will be happy to create tools for you on request.

Existing Buildings

The DGNB Scheme for existing buildings is based on the actual use of the property being evaluated. This simplifies the documentation process considerably compared to the certification of new construction projects. The certificate for existing buildings remains valid for three years, and re-certification is a simple process.

An economically efficient building operation with focussed investment planning is only possible, if transparent data for the building is available. DGNB Certification provides the information and data needed for a sustainable optimisation strategy.

Benefits of a DGNB Certification for existing buildings

  • Holistic approach – the DGNB is the only provider to evaluate the three pillars of sustainability – ecology, economy and social aspects – weighted equally
  • Performance-oriented – the DGNB does not evaluate individual measures but the overall performance of a building. This gives you the greatest possible freedom, e.g. for innovations
  • Life cycle assessment for the entire life cycle
  • Independent compliance testing – we ensure reliable and independent assessment of every project. 

Certification of existing buildings at a glance

  • For buildings over 3 years old
  • Simplified evidence through evaluation of the current status
  • Instead of often complex and expensive simulation of the energy demand, the previous year's consumption can be used as a basis for the evaluation. A large part of the evaluation can be carried out via an on-site inspection.
  • Evaluation of the five topics: ecology, economy, social issues, technology and process
  • Regular review of the status quo enables efficient optimisation


In order to ensure that older buildings can also benefit from a DGNB certificate for existing buildings, the following rules apply to the application of the individual schemes:

  • In contrast to new buildings, existing buildings have to deal with the available building structure and the possibilities for optimisation may be limited. For this reason, there is an additional assessment level for existing buildings: in addition to the award in silver (from 50%), gold (from 65%) and platinum (from 80%), there is also an additional award in bronze from 35% of the total performance index.
  • No differentiation according to building age classes. The evaluation is much easier and a comparison of different buildings is more meaningful.
  • The achievement of the requirements in the lower quality levels of the criteria is always relatively easy.
  • In many criteria there are alternative, simplified verification options.

The pre-certificate for existing buildings

For existing buildings, there is also the option of seeking a pre-certificate before obtaining the full certificate. It allows for estimated values to be given for the criteria that are influenced by, for example, modernisation measures. The pre-certificate is valid for 18 months. In order to obtain a full certificate, only the estimated values need to be verified in the course of certification. The values that have already been verified in the course of the pre-certificate do not need to be verified again. The full certificate is valid for three years.

Differences to the certification of new buildings

The main differences to the certification of new constructions are:

  • Considerably reduced number of criteria (22 instead of about 40 criteria)
  • Evaluation level "DGNB certified" from 35 % of the total performance index
  • Easy to get started, so that older buildings can also be certified
  • Evaluation of actual consumption instead of planning data
  • In the process, the building operation is evaluated
  • Focus on sustainable building operations
  • Regular performance reviews to check the optimisation strategy


The criteria for renovation projects or existing buildings are currently only available in German. If you have any questions our certification team will be happy to provide you with information.

As a DGNB member or DGNB auditor, you can download the german criteria directly from the internal area of the DGNB website.



Overview of all schemes that can be certified according to DGNB renovation and existing building criteria


Ralf Pimiskern
Director DGNB Certification
Phone: +49 711 722322-51
r.pimiskern at dgnb.de