Green construction and city sustainable development certifications

In recent years, the certification in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) has become an important tool for assessing the both individual buildings environmental friendliness and the urban environment comfort degree.
The international LEED system and ISO smart city standards in the field of sustainable development are not the only ones used in different countries of the world. Each certification offers a unique set of parameters helping to adjust the sustainable development goals to the facility types and context: office buildings, interiors, housing, urban environment, etc.

1. International ISO standardization

Building certification criteria:
  • energy efficiency;
  • environmental friendliness;
  • materials, etc.

City certification criteria:
  • progressive environmental, energy, transport and utility policies;
  • residents' involvement in decision-making related to the city development;
  • creation of educational centers to increase the residents' social activity;
  • dispersed allocation of labor resources.

Application geography

International standards are applied in 164 countries including Russia.

Case example

Standard ISO 37120 "Indicators for city services and quality of life" served as the basis for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG), which the OECD countries follow to develop urban environments.

Every year, the American Association evaluates 105 cities according to the standard criteria in the US Cities Sustainable Development Report. The standard has become an effective tool to assess the urban policy and infrastructure dynamics in the US cities.

2. Leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED)

Building certification criteria:
  • design and construction of green buildings;
  • design and construction of internal premises;
  • development of green areas;
  • retail companies (commercial interiors).

City certification criteria:
  • energy efficiency, energy and environment;
  • air pollution and CO2 emissions;
  • environmental friendliness of materials and efficient use of resources;
  • natural systems and environment;
  • transport and land use;
  • quality of life.

Application geography

International certificate (including Russia).

Case example

In 2017, Washington became the world's first platinum LEED city due to its sustainable development parameters. The city has a developed transport network, a bicycle rental system, and the growing number of hotels and public places certified according to the LEED standard.

3. Environmental standards in BREEAM construction

City certification criteria:
  • energy use;
  • environmental pollution;
  • environmental friendliness of materials and efficient use of resources;
  • health and well-being;
  • transport network efficiency;
  • management processes.

Application geography

BREEAM standards are applied in 77 countries of the world.

Case example

The building of the American agency Bloomberg L.P. in London is considered the world's most sustainable office building. Its BREEAM rating is 98.5%. This is the highest rating ever given to an office building.

4. Environmental standards in DGNB construction

Certification criteria:
  • energy efficiency and environment;
  • social and cultural aspects;
  • economy;
  • applied technologies.

Application geography

The international certificate is applied in 20 countries of the world.

Case example

Aeschbach-quartier Aarau, Switzerland.

In the course of evaluation, this quarter received a total score of 72.1% and was awarded a gold DGNB certificate. The Aarau city follows the "2000-watt society" strategy.

5. Energy efficiency standard of new Green ZOOM construction

Certification criteria:
  • location of development territory;
  • energy efficiency;
  • environmental friendliness of construction and finishing materials;
  • environmental friendliness of the development territory;
  • water consumption efficiency;
  • environmental friendliness of the buildings interior.

Application geography


Case example

The Botanica residential estate in St. Petersburg. The total area of the developed quarter is 59,216 sq. m. The approaches used include 33% energy saving, 38% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, natural ventilation of premises, use of environmentally friendly materials.
Olga Arkhangelskaya
Partner, EY
"The certification according to international standards allows to not only certify the high quality and environmental friendliness of a facility, but also ensure the users comfort and savings on maintenance. Given the long life cycle of real estate facilities, the operation costs reduction by 10-15% (which is achievable for green buildings) can significantly decrease the total cost of the property ownership.

At the moment, the most common type of certification in both Moscow and Russia is BREEAM, which has a fairly flexible system of criteria. According to this standard, more than 200,000 buildings outside the UK have already been certified and ca. 1 m buildings are in the process of certification."
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