In the case of the building envelope, the impacts during the use stage are considerably more significant for clients and building certifiers. Architects, designers, planners and building certifiers therefore require that construction product manufacturers provide not only an environmental product declaration giving the mandatory environmental impact data, but that they can also supply documentary evidence and characteristic values for further criteria relating to, for example, thermal insulation, sound insulation, accessibility and light pollution reduction.
The necessary characteristic values and documentary evidence are compiled as optional data by the ift compass in the context of an EPD prepared by the ift. This information is based on the requirements of the respective building assessment schemes (BNB/DGNB/LEED). Those criteria that are directly influenced by the building products and can contribute to the findings of the building certification are identified and described. On the basis of strict adherence to the lists of criteria of the respective building assessment schemes (BNB/DGNB/LEED), the necessary information is provided via the data sheet to the building certifiers (auditors), who can use the information directly for assessing the building.
To do justice to the idea of a sustainable building industry, various assessment systems for sustainable building have been developed by the umbrella association, the World – GBC. The World – GBC is a non-profit organisation, which was founded with the aim of spreading the concept of sustainable building beyond national borders. The most important assessment systems at the building level are LEED (USA), BREEAM (GB) and the BNB as well as the DGNB (GER).
BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method)
BREEAM® was developed in 1990 by BRE (Building Research Establishment Ltd. Community Trade Mark E5778551). It allows the assessment of all types of buildings including schools, courts, apartment buildings, hospitals, residential buildings, industrial buildings, prisons and office buildings. This is for both new and existing buildings, and refurbishments throughout Europe. The programmes of LEED® and DGNB assess different criteria as well but BREEAM considers exclusively environmental criteria such as health aspects and energy and water consumption. Depending on the number of points or credits achieved, buildings are rated as "pass", "good", "very good", "excellent" or "outstanding".
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)
LEED® was developed in 1998 by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and takes the BREEAM scheme a step further. Buildings can be assessed in the design, planning, construction and use stages. A LEED assessment can be conducted for new and existing buildings, schools, hospitals and residential buildings. Assessment is based on six categories – sustainable property, water savings, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor air quality and innovation and design. Depending on the number of points scored, LEED certification has platinum, gold, silver, and certified levels.
BNB (Sustainable Construction Assessment Scheme)
Due to the fact that the existing assessment schemes did not meet the need for an objective, more quantitative assessment, the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) developed its own methodology for assessing the sustainability of buildings. The scheme takes into account environmental, economic, sociocultural and technical qualities, the location of the building and process quality (the design/planning and construction process) throughout the entire life cycle. Overall it assesses according to more than 40 criteria. The awards/medals issued under the BNB scheme are "bronze", "silver" and "gold", depending on the degree to which the criteria are met. The BNB scheme was initially developed for sustainability certification of office and administrative buildings, but can now also be used for the assessment of schools and laboratory premises. The BNB scheme is mandatory for all federal buildings since January 2013.
DGNB (German Quality Label for Sustainable Building)
Based on the BNB system, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen (DGNB, German Sustainable Building Council) has established itself as a commercial association or an institution with an independently developed certification system for Germany. Essentially, the DGNB system is equivalent to the BNB system. A few criteria, e.g. the commitment to freedom from barriers, differentiate the two systems. A DGNB assessment can currently be conducted for 13 types of buildings, e.g. office and administration buildings or laboratory premises.