Business Districts

Business districts, which predominantly have buildings for services, special uses (e.g. cinemas) and businesses that are compatible with residential living, are increasingly coming under the spotlight in the sustainability debate and becoming the focus of municipal strategies for sustainable urban development. However, focusing only on the design and optimisation of individual buildings in order to create a sustainable quarter where people enjoy living and staying falls short here. Sustainable cities need carbon-neutral districts that are more than just the sum of their buildings.

In addition to issues around climate action, adaptation to climate change and sustainable mobility, etc., networking with neighbouring districts, the creation of synergies between companies and closed energy and material cycles play an important role for business districts. Ideas and plans for improving quality of life and childcare as well as shopping facilities for employees are just as important as life-cycle assessments and energy technology. The DGNB scheme for business districts provides support here as a planning tool.

Characteristics of sustainable business districts

  • Contribution to climate action by reducing greenhouse gases over the entire life cycle
  • Adaptation to climate change and promotion of biodiversity (e.g. greening, use of rainwater)
  • Establishment of material cycles at the neighbourhood level (circular economy)
  • Promotion of functional diversity
  • High quality of stay
  • Creation of added value for adjacent neighbourhoods and beyond
  • Greater use of open spaces even outside office hours
  • Promotion of health, e.g. through attractive footpaths and cycle paths as well as low noise and pollutant emissions
  • Maximum use of renewable energies on site
  • Sustainable mobility options
  • Resource and cost savings through the sensible use of technical systems (smart infrastructure)
  • High flexibility of construction sites, buildings and open spaces to changing requirements

Target group of the certification

The certificate is aimed at project developers, investors and municipalities or their business development authorities.

Advantages of certification

  • Holistic consideration of all relevant sustainability requirements
  • Transparent and independent quality labelling and assurance
  • Marketing and financing advantages
  • Building an image as an attractive and sustainable neighbourhood
  • Communication of the project to the public
  • Reduced effort and expense for DGNB building certification because documentation from the district certification can be credited
  • Can be applied and compared internationally
  • High value stability
  • Contribution to the sustainability goals of the United Nations

Distinction from other schemes

The focus of the scheme is on mixed-use districts with an emphasis on services.


Dr. Stephan Anders
Director DGNB Certification
Phone: +49 711 722322-45
s.anders at dgnb.de

Added value of certified districtrs

Learn about the added value for projects resulting from sustainable planning and implementation as well as certification.

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Explained briefly - the DGNB System for districts