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SIMPLY Green – Another book by Swegon Air Academy!
September 4, 2012

SIMPLY Green – Another book by Swegon Air Academy!

SIMPLY EPBD will get a “new sibling”! In next following weeks, Swegon Air Academy will publish a new book about environmental and energy certification systems for buildings. This book discusses five environmental certification systems (BREEAM, LEED, Green Star, DGNB and Miljöbyggnad) and three purely energy-based systems (EPBD, Minergie, Passivhaus) including brief description of CASBEE, HQE, IGBC and Energy Star. The book will be published in Swedish and English. Read the foreword from authors.

Since the first certification system was introduced at the beginning of the 1990s, the demand for certified buildings and further certification systems has grown considerably and, to date, there are hundreds of thousands of certified buildings around the world and hundreds of different certification systems in use. Despite this, only a few of these are actually applicable for international use, i.e., have been designed so that they can be used in different countries or parts of the world.

Environmental certification systems:

  • BREEAM Assessment Method alias Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (UK)
  • LEED Rating System alias Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (U.S.)
  • Green Star Rating System (Australia)
  • DGNB alias Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen or German Sustainable Building Council (Germany)
  • Miljöbyggnad alias Environmental Building (Sweden)


Energy-based certification systems:

  • EPBD alias European Green Building Programme (Europe)
  • Minergie (Switzerland)
  • Passivhaus Standard (Germany)


Briefly discussed certification systems:

  • CASBEE alias Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (Japan)
  • HQE alias Haute Qualité Environnementale or High Quality Environmental Standard (France)
  • IGBC rating system alias Indian Green Building Council (India)
  • Energy Star program (U.S.)


Most of the environmental and energy certification systems are managed and administered by national Green Building Councils around the world. The World Green Building Council, World GBC, is an international organisation that promotes green building and is, in turn, a coalition of the national Green Building Councils in 78 countries. There are regional networks in Europe, Africa, MENA (Middle East and North Africa), the Americas and Asia Pacific. It is important to note that Green Building Councils are non-profit making organisations.

A number of the certification systems described in this book are based on or have, at least, been influenced by national and international standards in the relevant subject areas pertaining to buildings and construction. These standards include: EN 15978, EN 15804 and ISO 21930 (predecessor to EN 15804). However, the degrees to which these standards have been implemented vary ‒ perhaps the effects of standards on certification systems in the future will be more significant. Discussions with key members of the Nordic Green Building Council movement seem to indicate that there is a current and growing trend to use the EN standards as cornerstones in several of the systems available today, especially concerning the use of KPIs, key performance indices, as a basis for comparison.

The authors believe that this book will be used primarily for orientation purposes and as a basis for helping to decide which system to use. In order to clarify the similarities and differences between the different systems, the energy parts of the environmental systems are described in more detail.

Finally, we would like to point out that certification systems are here to stay in the foreseeable future. If developments continue at the same rates as they have done, the majority of future buildings will be certified as a natural part of the building process.


Image by Petra Vladykova