The DGNB System

In order to make sustainable construction applicable in a practical mannor, measurable and thus comparable, the DGNB has developed its own certification system. The system was first introduced to the market in 2009 and has been continuously developed since then, and is now not only considered the most advanced in the world, but is also internationally recognized as the Global Benchmark for Sustainability.

The certification system is available in different variants for buildings, districts and interiors. As a planning and optimisation tool, it helps all those involved in construction to implement a holistic and sustainable quality.

The DNA of the DGNB System

In terms of content, the DGNB System is based on three key paradigms that set it apart from other certification systems available on the market:

  • Life cycle assessment
  • Holistic
  • Performance orientation

Within the certification process, the entire life cycle of a project is consistently taken into account and instead of individual measures, the overall performance of a project is evaluated.

The DGNB System is based on the three central sustainability areas of ecology, economy and sociocultural issues, which are weighted equally in the evaluation. The DGNB System evaluates the location as well as the technical and procedural quality with a holistic approach. The performance of these qualities can be evaluated by means of certification criteria. These are individually tailored to different types of use and can be applied to new buildings, existing buildings, refurbishments and buildings in use.

More than a system: DGNB quality throughout the entire life cycle

Every building, from planning to deconstruction, goes through different phases, which are linked to different requirements and conditions. These can be accompanied by the DGNB certification system in terms of a holistic sustainable construction method. The following diagram shows exactly which phases these are.


DGNB System International

From the outset, the DGNB System has been distinguished by its international approach. The system can be easily adapted to climatic, structural, legal and cultural variations in other countries, the DGNB is able to certify worldwide, while maintaining the high quality standard.
In general, DGNB certification for buildings, districts and interiors is possible in every country. English language criteria based on current European norms and standards can be applied quickly and easily anywhere in the world. Auditors who are familiar with both the DGNB System and local conditions recommend adaptations for the local application, which are then reviewed by the DGNB. Conformity assessment and certification in this case is carried out by the DGNB in Germany.
In order to make worldwide application of the DGNB System even easier, the DGNB has published a new, improved international version of the certification system for new buildings in 2020. This includes all the criteria that are available in the German version as well as a criterion concerning fire safety. The difference is that almost exclusively, international standards are used for the evaluation. Learn more
For districts and buildings in use there are also updated versions of the system.
In some countries, we work together with local DGNB system partners. They offer a system which is adapted to local conditions, language and legal requirements. The DGNB system partners operate independently and carry out the conformity checks locally.


The DGNB certificate: proof of greater sustainability in construction

By reducing cost-intensive risks, the application of the DGNB System contributes, to a high degree, of future security for construction projects. The independent certification process serves to ensure transparent quality control. As proof of this quality in construction, a DGNB certificate in platinum, gold or silver can be obtained. A bronze certificate can also be obtained for sustainable building operations or existing buildings.


More about the certification process

The DGNB has defined target values for each criterion. These are weighted differently depending on their use. The aim is to always promote a uniformly high quality of buildings, quarters or interiors.

The DGNB System: market leader in Germany and internationally successful

With a share of over 80 percent in new construction and over 60 percent in the overall commercial property market, the DGNB is the market leader among providers of certification systems in Germany. The DGNB is the European leader in the certification of quarters. More than 8,700 construction projects have already been planned, built and certified according to the principles of the DGNB in more than 35 countries worldwide (as of 31.12.2021).

When used abroad, the DGNB System is adapted to regional conditions. In doing so, the DGNB works closely with leading local organisations in the individual countries. An overview of all partners can be found here.


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


Levan Ekhvaia
Manager International Certification
Phone: +49 711 722322-84
l.ekhvaia at dgnb.de

DGNB Evaluation Criteria

For DGNB auditors and members, the criteria are available in the internal member or auditor area. You are not a DGNB member or auditor? Then you can request the criteria of the German version of the DGNB system here and the international criteria here.