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Building for a better world: new DGNB Report on the Sustainable Development Goals

March 3, 2021 Sustainable Tourism No Comments Email Email

The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) has issued a report explaining the role buildings can play in contributing to the global sustainability goals of the United Nations. The report contrasts the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the potential impact of sustainable planning and construction. As such, it provides architects and planners – but also building owners and local authorities – with useful pointers on playing a more meaningful role in the issue of sustainable development. It also offers a comparison between the SDGs and criteria used for a variety of DGNB certification systems. The DGNB comparison demonstrates that as many as 15 of the 17 SDGs are covered by its certification for building projects.

The SDGs form part of the 2030 Agenda, which was adopted by all member states of the United Nations in September 2015. The goals reflect a commitment made by the international community to socially, economically and ecologically sustainable development. “The SDGs may already be embodied and embraced as a common basis for communication in some countries,” says DGNB CEO Dr Christine Lemaitre. “But we still have so much catching up to do in lots of countries, especially in the building and property industry – despite the key role played by this sector in achieving the goals.”

Almost all SDGs are relevant to building

The DGNB’s aim with the new report is to contribute to increasing levels of awareness of the SDGs in the construction industry, which should provide orientation and add value when it comes to planning and building. “Our motivation was to present the topic in such a way that it demonstrates the direct links between the SDGs and sustainable construction, and that it does this in a straightforward and understandable way,” states Lemaitre.

The publication introduces the topics addressed by the 2030 Agenda, pinpointing specific areas of impact and providing examples of how every individual can contribute to the aims of the SDGs. It also shows why the building sector plays a particularly important role in achieving the goals and which of the 15 SDGs it affects in tangible terms. In addition, the report takes a closer look at the six particularly pertinent SDGs for the building sector:

Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
Affordable and clean energy (SDG 7)
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)
Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)
Climate action (SDG 13)
Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17)
DGNB certification – an instrument for implementing the SDGs

One particular area of focus of the publication is how the SDGs dovetail with different versions of the DGNB system. It does this by examining how the different DGNB certification criteria for New Construction, Buildings in Use and Districts are linked to the goals of the United Nations.

“The DGNB system translates the SDGs into building practice and plugs the gap between overarching global goals and real-world implementation,” states Lemaitre. “This new report will allow anyone with an interest in these issues to see at a glance which SDGs a particular certified project contributes to,” she says. “The certification is thus also suitable as a communication tool for all building owners, and companies and local authorities can integrate it into their sustainability reporting.”

Publication available on the DGNB website

Going by the title Building for a Better World, the new DGNB report is available free of charge in a digital format at: www.dgnb.de/en/council/publications. In the near future, it will also be possible to order the publication free of charge as a printed version.

The DGNB German Sustainable Building Council was founded in 2007 and has around 1300 members, making it Europe’s biggest network for sustainable building. The aim of the DGNB is to promote sustainability in the construction and real estate industry and instil awareness of building sustainability among the broader population. The DGNB is an independent non-profit organisation. Its certification system offers a planning and optimisation tool for evaluating sustainable buildings, interiors and districts. It was developed to help organisations enhance the tangible sustainability of construction projects. The DGNB System is based on the concept of holistic sustainability, placing equal emphasis on the environment, people and commercial viability. The DGNB Academy is an education and training platform that has already provided more than 5000 people from more than 40 countries with official qualifications in sustainable building.

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