FAQs on the new DGNB award nomenclature

The DGNB has changed its award nomenclature for buildings and districts, which has taken effect on 1 July 2015. From now on, the Platinum certificate is the highest DGNB Award that can be conferred.

The “Certified” category no longer exists with existing buildings. It is replaced by the certificate in bronze. Apart from this, the same requirements apply to existing buildings as they do with new buildings: platinum replaces gold, gold replaces silver and silver replaces the previous award in bronze.

The same changes apply to districts that apply to buildings.

The same regulations apply for projects abroad that apply for projects in Germany.

The changes of the award nomenclature for pre-certificates correspond to those for new buildings.

The DGNB System and the respective criteria are not affected by the changes to the award nomenclature.

The new award nomenclature is effective immediately and applies retroactively to all projects in the certification process prior to 1 July 12015. The first plaques with the new award nomenclature will be awarded at the beginning of October at the Expo Real trade fair. The prior replacement of plaques already issued is not possible for technical reasons.

This will happen automatically for all projects that were registered in July 2015 for certification, were already registered at this time, or were currently in the conformity inspection process.

For all projects that have already received certification, we will contact the applicants and ask them to confirm by 31 January 2016 whether they want the award level of their project to be adapted to the new nomenclature. Those interested will need to confirm the following four aspects, whereby the declaration needs to be signed and then returned to us:

  1. The use of the building has not changed since the date of certification.
  2. The current constructional and structural design of the building corresponds to the version at the time of certification.
  3. The current design and operation of the technical building services correspond to those on the date of commissioning of the building.
  4. The building meets at least the requirements of the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) 2009 in terms of the primary energy requirement or undercuts the requirements of EnEV 2007 by at least 30 per cent.

As an alternative to the last item, it is possible to provide the DGNB with the consumption data for the building according to the system used for certifying existing buildings. In this case, the DGNB will get in touch with you as this will require detailed consultation.

The retrospective adjustment is free. In addition, it is possible to have the plaque and the certificate exchanged at cost price.

Projects that have already been certified can be adapted to accord with the new award nomenclature by 31 January 2016 at the latest. This will be done on a voluntary basis. This requires that a written declaration is sent to the DGNB that confirms that there have been no fundamental changes since the building was certified and that the energy standard meets the requirements of the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) 2009.

The DGNB will soon be writing to the applicants of all projects already certified for this purpose. It will then be possible to exchange the plaque (€350 plus statutory VAT) and the certificate (€95 plus statutory VAT) at cost price.

The DGNB requires this declaration for quality assurance reasons. Ultimately we cannot be sure that the buildings have not undergone fundamental changes since their completion and certification that could considerably influence the certification results. By means of the declaration, the owner or applicant confirms that the building continues to be operated to the same quality that was instrumental at the time of the original certification.

For the retrospective adjustment, we are merely charging a fee to cover the costs for producing the new plaque and certificate as well as the organisational work within the DGNB office. A plaque costs 350 euros (plus statutory VAT). A certificate costs 95 euros (plus statutory VAT). The previous plaque and certificate must be returned to the DGNB on being replaced.

For the adjustment, we are not charging for completely new compliance testing but are merely charging a fee to cover the costs for producing the new plaque and certificate. These cost 350 and 95 euros respectively (plus statutory VAT).

To do this you need to get in touch with the DGNB office (Anna-Maria Pfeil, tel: +49 711 722322-47, email: zertifizierung@dgnb.de) and provide a written declaration by the end of the year that you wish the adjustment.

The award level for the pre-certificate can also be correspondingly adjusted retrospectively.

The retroactive upgrade or adjustment in accordance with the new award nomenclature is not binding but voluntary.

No, that is not planned. Whether promotional material is also adjusted parallel to the changeover is up to the owners and developers themselves. We recommend using the “new” logo in new editions of your publications. We will send you this as a file if you wish to make an update.

The DGNB will be writing to all auditors and members to inform them about the new award nomenclature. All applicants for previously certified projects will be contacted separately to ask whether they wish to adjust their award level. For this purpose we are sending a declaration form, which needs to be signed and returned to the DGNB. In this declaration they must provide certain details about the building that are intended to ensure that the building still corresponds to the quality level that was originally tested in the certification.

The current owner or a person duly authorised by the owner can apply for the adjustment.

We are responding to a widespread desire prevalent within our membership and the market. It should be noted that, particularly in the international sphere, the decision for or against a certification system often depends more on the colour of the award levels and less on the content and thus the verified qualities of a building.

By adjusting the awarding system, we want to bring the basis of the discussion into balance. Our aim is to talk about the content and qualities rather than the colour of the award. It is certainly much easier to start the discussion, when there is no need to explain that Gold is not same Gold in comparison the various certification systems. With this step we also want to highlight the great commitment of owners and project teams within the DGNB Community. 

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