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Comparing certifications for buildings! Simply Green book!
September 2, 2016

Comparing certifications for buildings! Simply Green book!

Simply GREEN – A quick guide to energy and environmental assessment certifications of buildings is all about environmental and energy certification schemes for buildings. In this book the author Daniel Olsson has compared these certifications and diplayed them in a nice picture. This book discusses six environmental and three purely energy-based certification systems along with fourth briefly discussed certification systems: the British BREEAM Assessment Method, the US LEED Rating System, the German DGNB Certification System, the Australian Green Star Rating System, the Swedish Miljöbyggnad system and the French HQE system; the European Green Building Programme, the Swiss Minergie Building Standard and the German Passive House (Passivhaus) Standard; the Japanese CASBEE assessment system, the Indian IGBC rating system, the US ENERGY STAR program and the French Effinergie system.

A quick look at the environmental certification systems described in the book will reveal certain common approaches, for instance, with respect to the choices of what has an affect on the environment. However, a closer look will show that a number of the systems are significantly different, for instance, when it comes to how different parameters are assessed and weighted, i.e. how the significance of a particular parameter is judged in respect to other parameters. Weighting can be carried out in two different ways: by applying a weighting factor to an individual parameter or to a whole category of parameters, depending on the scoring method used in a particular system, or by assessing a larger number of parameters within the categories on which the system developers want to put the greatest focus. Some systems have a clearer focus on certain issues than others and it is interesting to note how these are reflected both geographically and culturally. For example, the Indian IGBC system is strongly biased towards the precarious fresh water situations found around a number of major Indian cities. The Japanese CASBEE system, on the other hand, is more specific than other systems when it comes to requirements and measures to minimize damage caused by earthquakes. This system also places great importance on so-called light pollution, which is most likely due to prevailing problems in Tokyo and other major cities. A European example that illustrates local and cultural aspects is Minergie, the Swiss energy certification system, which, perhaps not unexpectedly, is primarily marketed as a quality ‘Swiss Made’ brand.

Read more in an article by Daniel Olsson on Wide variations in how parameters are regarded in environmental certification systems, published in Journal REHVA May 2013.