Voluntary Programs for Low-Carbon Building and City Transformations
BREEAM-NL (the Netherlands, 2009)
Certification and classification arrangement implemented in 2009 by the Dutch Green Building Council (a non-profit organisation with strong ties to the property and construction industries). The arrangement is the Dutch adaptation of the internationally applied Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), initially developed and implemented in the United Kingdom in 1990 (Cole & Valdebenito, 2013). It acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of buildings (residential and commercial property), city district developments, and demolition projects that move beyond the Dutch Building Decree and other mandatory requirements. The Dutch Green Building Council aims to harmonise BREEAM-NL with Dutch building codes and planning legislation. The arrangement is mainly applied for newly developed commercial property—offices and industrial buildings (DGBC, 2015).
In line with other labelling based arrangements, BREEAM-NL build on a set of criteria a building or development project has to meet in order to be certified in categories such as: management, health, energy, transport, water, construction material, waste and land-use. Where possible these are directly related to the mandatory Dutch building codes (DGBC, 2014). Points are awarded for each criterion met, and the higher the total number of points the higher the class of certification—a maximum of 100 points is awarded. It is left to the applicant to mix and match categories and criteria it wishes to meet, but a number of criteria are compulsory. Certification can be obtained in the categories ‘as built’ (when a building design and the construction building meet BREEAM-NL requirements) and ‘performance’ (when a building in operation meets BREEAM-NL requirements). The latter category of certification is subject to periodical renewal. The arrangement awards five classes of certification: 1 Star (‘pass’, at least 30 points, corresponding to meeting at least 30 per cent of BREEAM-NL requirements), 2 Star (‘good’, at least 45 points), 3 Star (‘very good’, at least 55 points), 4 Star (‘excellent’, at least 70 points), and 5 Star (‘outstanding’, at least 85 points, as well as meeting additional requirements). Assessments are carried out by third parties; these are trained and recognised by the Dutch Green Building Council however.
To give some more insight, a 4 Star classed buildings requires 24 per cent beyond compliance with energy efficiency requirements in Dutch building codes, a 5 Star classed building 51 per cent. No requirements are set to lower classes of certification. The ease of acquiring points varies considerably: a 20 per cent improvement of energy efficiency results in 3 points, bicycle racks and shower facilities for cyclists result in 2 points (DGBC, 2014). Once a building or city development project is certified property developers or owners may use the BREEAM-NL logo and the star classification for promotional activities.
DGNB (Germany, 2009)
The DGNB Certificate is the German Sustainable Building Council’s building ceritification and classification program. It tool covers different aspects of a building: ecology, economics, sociocultural and functional aspects, technology, processes, and site. The tool further addresses the building’s entire lifecycle. A colouring (bronze, silver, or gold) indicates a building’s environmental performance. The program is comparable to BREEAM (above) and LEED (below).Website: dgnb-system.de
Eco-Housing Certification Program (India, 2004)
Certification and classification arrangement for housing development developed and implemented by the Pune Municipal Corporation (the building authority in Pune) in 2004, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the University of Pune, the University of Ahmedabad, the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC), and the Energy Resource Institute (TERI). It is administered by a joint certification body comprising of the IIEC and both Universities involved. The arrangement acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of new housing development projects, with as specific focus on site planning, environmental architecture, energy conservation and management, efficient building materials, water conservation and management, and solid waste management (IIEC, 2009).
In line with other labelling based arrangements, the Eco-Housing Certification Program builds on a set of criteria a building or development project has to meet in order to be certified. Some criteria are mandatory, others are optional. Mandatory criteria for energy and water consumption often require participants to comply with the voluntary National Building Code and other applicable government regulation, whilst optional requirements set more ambitious targets. Because the National Building Code is voluntary in India these requirements ask for considerable ‘beyond compliance’ behaviour of the arrangements participants. Compliance is monitored and enforced by the joint certification body prior to construction (i.e., an assessment of the construction documentation), during construction and post-construction. Certificates are issued for a period of five years, after which renewal of certification has to be sought (Darko et al., 2013). The more criteria that are met, the higher the level of certification. Five levels of certification are awarded, represented by stars. The lowest level of certification (1 Star) requires that at least all mandatory criteria are met, and to achieve higher levels of certification require meeting optional criteria (IIEC, 2009). Once a project is certified its developer or owner can use the Star rating for marketing purposes. To incentivise participation in the arrangement the Pune Municipal Corporation gives participants a 50 per cent rebate on the fees related to obtaining building permission, and a 25 per cent rebate on the fees related to construction work inspections (Sonawane Sawant, 2009).
Eco-Office (Singapore, 2002)
Certification and classification arrangement implemented in 2002 by the Singapore Environment Council (an NGO independent from, but financially supported by the Singapore Government) and City Developments Limited (one of Singapore’s major property developers). It seeks to inform office tenants on how they can improve their energy performance, and reduce their water and paper consumption. It certifies office tenants for meeting specific criteria, most of these relate to office tenant behaviour (Singapore Environment Council, 2012, 2013). It actively markets itself as a means for office tenants to reduce operational costs.
Contrary to most certification and arrangements studied, Eco-Office builds on benchmarking. It requires its participants to meet a specified benchmark and is not rating them or labelling them in a specific performance class. In short, the Eco-Office certificate awarded to participants indicates that they meet this benchmark, it does not give insight in their relative performance compared to other participants. Mandatory building codes, planning legislation, and other statutory urban sustainability criteria do not relate to office tenants. The benchmark set in Eco-Office seeks to improve office tenants’ behaviour with 10 per cent as compared to business as usual behaviour. Assessments are split in two stages: first an applicant carries out a self-assessment, if this self-assessment indicates compliance with Eco-Office criteria then it can apply for an assessment by a third-party assessor. If this third-party assessor confirms compliance, the Singapore Environment Council issues a certificate. Certificates are subject to bi-annual renewal (Singapore Environment Council, 2011). They can be used for promotional activities by their holder.
Energy Star Homes and Energy Star Buildings (United States, 1995)
Certification and classification arrangements developed and implemented in 1995 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency—it followed up from the Green Lights arrangement (discussed below under collaborations and pacts). Both arrangements are rating based; Energy Star Homes for new residential development, Energy Star Buildings for new commercial development. The focus of both is on energy performance only. Homes and buildings can be certified in five star classes, with a 5 Star Energy Star classification indicating the highest energy efficiency (EPA, 1997).
Energy Star requirements for homes and other buildings relate to wall and window insulation, equipment for heating and cooling, and lighting and other (fixed) appliances. A maximum of 100 credits can be awarded to a home or building. Certificates are issued ‘as built’ and for some building types are subject to periodical renewal (for example data-centres). Assessment of construction work is carried out by an acknowledged third-party inspectors and certificates are issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. A building certified in the lowest class is at least 15 per cent more energy efficient than a building that complies with conventional energy efficiency requirements in the United States; a building in the highest class is 30 per cent more energy efficient (EPA, 1997)—note that no national mandatory energy efficiency requirements apply in the United States. Once a building is certified property developers or owners may use the Energy Star logo and the star classification for promotional activities. Energy Star Buildings is incorporated in LEED (see below).
EnviroDevelopment (Australia, 2006)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented in 2006 by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (a peak industry body with strong support from the Queensland Government). It acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of buildings and city development projects that move beyond compliance with the Building Code of Australia. The arrangement is benchmarking based, and tailored to different development types: master-planned communities (projects larger than 1,500 dwellings), residential subdivision (projects up to 1,500 dwellings), senior or retirement living, multi-unit residential projects, industrial, retail, education, and health care buildings. It can be applied to individual buildings, but is in practice used for large(r) scale development projects (EnviroDevelopment, 2014).
In line with other certification and classification arrangements it builds on a set of criteria a building or development project has to meet in order to be certified. Among others it requires a reduction of 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and 20 per cent of water consumption compared to requirements set in the Building Code of Australia (EnviroDevelopment, no date). Assessment of development projects against the EnviroDevelopment criteria is carried out by third party assessors. Certification is subject to yearly renewal. It differs from other certification and classification arrangements, however, in that it does not accumulates criteria in its final level of certification—as the popular labelling based arrangements do. Instead, it awards certification in different categories of performance: ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water and community. Once a development project is certified, property developers and owners can use the EnviroDevelopment logo, a series of coloured leaves on a branch representing the categories of certification (EnviroDevelopment, 2010). Each leaf indicates that the development project performs better than the benchmark set for that category, but does not give insight in how the project’s performance compares with other certified projects in that category.
Green Building Index (Malaysia, 2009)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented in 2009 by the Malaysian Green Building Confederation (a non-profit organisation with strong ties to the property and construction industries). It resembles labelling arrangements such BREEAM, LEED and Green Star discussed elsewhere on this page. The Malaysian Green Building Confederation, however, decided not to adopt any of these international arrangements as it felt these had no good fit with the Malaysian-tropical climate, environmental and developmental context, cultural and social needs. The Green Building Index acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of buildings (residential and commercial property) and townships. It is predominantly used for commercial property.
As with the other labelling arrangements studied, it builds on a set of criteria a building has to meet in order to be certified in a specific class. These are: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, sustainable site planning and management, material and resources, water efficiency, and innovation. A similar classification scale is used as under LEED: ‘Certified’, ‘Silver’, ‘Gold’, and ‘Platinum’. All criteria set are optional—which deviates somewhat from other labelling arrangements studied that include both compulsory and optional requirements. Since Malaysia does not have in place mandatory requirements for urban sustainability all requirements de facto require ‘beyond compliance’ behaviour. Some requirements are fairly ambitious: credits (2) are, for instance, awarded if a landscape design does not require any potable water for irrigation. Other requirements are, however, fairly lenient: a considerable number of credits (5) is awarded if a building generates 2 per cent of the total electricity it consumes—only 50 credits are needed for the classification ‘Certified’ (GBI, 2009). Assessment of development projects are carried out by a Green Building Index Certifier (i.e., certification by the arrangement’s administrators). A final certificate will only be issued a year after a building is completed, and certificates are subject to a three year re-assessment cycle (GBI, 2013). Once a project is certified under the Green Building Index property developers or owners may use the arrangement’s logo and level of certification for promotional activities.
GreenLabel (Singapore, 1992)
Certification and classification arrangement developed by the Singapore Environmental Council (an NGO independent from, but financially supported by the Singapore Government) and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. It seeks to endorse consumer products and services—including a wide range of construction products and services—that have less undesirable impacts on the natural environment. The arrangement relates to the Global Ecolabelling Network, a non-profit association of third-party, environmental performance labelling organizations founded in 1994 to improve, promote, and develop the certification of environmental sustainability credentials of products and services.
Comparable to Eco-Office, another arrangement administered by the Singapore Environmental Council (see above), this arrangement builds on benchmarking. It requires products and services to meet a specified benchmark and is not rating them or labelling them in a specific performance class. In short, the Green Label certificate awarded to participants indicates that a goods or service they provide only meets this benchmark, it does not give insight in their relative performance compared to other participants. Whilst this arrangement falls somewhat outside the scope of the other classification and benchmarking arrangements included in this research project it was selected because the Singapore Green Mark scheme awards credits to the use of GreenLabel products. With the rapid export of Green Mark (below) by the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore it gives Singapore based and international manufacturers of construction goods and services that hold GreenLabel certification an international competitive advantage over those who do not.
Green Mark (Singapore, 2005)
Certification and classification arrangement developed by the Singapore Building Construction Authority. It was launched in 2005 and builds on international examples such as BREEAM, LEED, and Green Star—all these arrangements are discussed on this page. Green Mark seeks to make visible the urban sustainability credentials of buildings, building blocks and city districts, including energy and water consumption, impact on the natural environment, and indoor environmental quality (BCA, 2012). Green Mark is an example of labelling: a series of criteria have to be met in order to be certified. Meeting criteria results in the awarding of points. Points are awarded in various categories—energy and water consumption, impact on the natural environment, indoor environmental quality—and are summed up in a total score. The more points a building, building block, or city district is awarded, the higher the class of certification.
Green Mark awards certificates in four classes: Certified, Gold, Gold Plus and Platinum. The criteria set under Green Mark relate directly to mandatory construction regulation in Singapore: as of 2008 a Green Mark classification of at least Gold is mandatory for all new development larger than 2,000 square meters—because of a general practice in Singapore to build high-rise buildings, this requirement de facto implies that all new construction is mandated to meet Gold classification criteria. As of 2013, a Green Mark classification of at least Gold is mandatory for commercial property retrofits larger than 15,000 meters. Assessment of projects is carried out by a Building Construction Authority assessor. Certificates are awarded to completed building or city development projects, and certification is subject to periodical renewal—re-assessment is required every three years to maintain an awarded Green Mark class. The Singapore Government aspired to have 80 per cent of all (existing and new) Singapore buildings certified under Green Mark and meet at least lowest ‘Certified’ class by 2030 (BCA, 2012). Financial and information incentives are in place to meet this goal. Once a project is certified under Green Mark property developers or owners may use the Green Mark logo and level of certification for promotional activities.
Green Star (Australia, 2003)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented in 2003 by the Green Building Council of Australia (a non-profit organisation with strong ties to the property and construction industries). Initially it was introduced aiming at the top 25 per cent of the commercial property market (GBCA, 2012). It acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of buildings and city development projects that move beyond compliance with the Building Code of Australia. It is an example of labelling based certification, tailored to different development types: offices, office interiors, educational buildings, industrial buildings, multi-unit residential buildings, retail centres, healthcare buildings, public buildings, and precinct development projects. The arrangement is mainly applied for commercial property (GBCA, 2015).
In line with other labelling based arrangements, Green Star builds on a set of criteria a building or development project has to meet in order to be certified. Its requirements do not directly relate to the Building Code of Australia, or other mandatory requirements in Australia (GBCA, no date). The more criteria met, the higher the class of certification. Assessment of projects is carried out by a third party assessor. Certification can be obtained in the categories ‘as designed’ (when a building design meets Green Star requirements), ‘as built’ (when the actual constructed building meets Green Star requirements), and ‘performance’ (when a building in operation meets Green Star requirements). The latter category of certification is subject to periodical renewal. Green Star awards three classes of certification: 4 Star (lowest tier), 5 Star (mid-tier), and 6 Star (highest tier). When introduced, it was decided to not issue certificates for relatively low ‘beyond compliance’ behaviour (GBCA, 2012). Comparable arrangements such as LEED in the United States and India, and BREEAM-NL in the Netherlands do issue awards for very low ‘beyond compliance’ behaviour. Certification in the 4 Star class, however, requires a building to only perform slightly better in terms of energy efficiency than compliance with the Building Code of Australia. Once a project is certified under Green Star property developers or owners may use the Green Star logo and star classification for promotional activities.
Green Township (Malaysia, 2009)
Classification and benchmarking arrangement developed and implemented in 2009 by the Malaysian Institute of Planners and the Government of Malaysia. It seeks to improve urban sustainability performance of new and existing urban development in Malaysia, particularly at township level (Rosly, 2011). It is an example of benchmarking.
In order to be certified a building or city development project needs to show at least 10 per cent less energy and water consumption than the baseline set. The arrangement is applied only in Putrajaya—the federal administrative centre of Malaysia—and Cyberjaya—the technology hub of Malaysia—but is developed for larger application throughout Malaysia. It builds on a set guidelines that assist town planners and local governments in (re)developing townships with higher than conventional levels of urban sustainability. The arrangement builds on the United Nation’s Common Carbon Metrics Protocol, an instrument to measure the carbon emissions of development projects (UNEP, 2010). At the time of research the arrangement’s administrators were in the midst of adapting criteria from the UN Protocol to the Malaysian context. Over the four years of study (2012-2015), however, not much progress appears to have been made. The Green Township website (below) has not been updated since 2010, and no other cities than Putrajaya and Cyberjaya appear to participate in the arrangement.
GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment; India, 2007)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI, an independent, not-for-profit, research institute with strong ties to the Indian Government of India) in 2007 in collaboration with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy of the Indian Government. The arrangement is administered by TERI. It acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of new development projects larger than 2,500 square meters, with a specific focus on site selection and site planning, conservation and efficient resource use, building operation and maintenance, and construction innovation (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, 2012).
The program builds strongly on other labelling based certification and classification arrangements for improved urban sustainability, such as LEED in the United States (below) and Green Star in Australia (above). It consists of 34 criteria, of which four have to be met to achieve certification. Different classes of certification indicate how many criteria have been met (on a scale from 1 to 5 stars). A high class of certification corresponds to a high level of urban sustainability of a building or a city development project. The criteria that participants are expected to meet in part relate to compliance with the voluntary National Building Code, other applicable government regulation, and international codes (Evans, Shui, & Somasundaram, 2009). GRIHA certification relates to the design, construction and use of a building of city development and is subject to periodical renewal: certification is valid for five years only (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, 2012). Once a project is certified its developer or owner can use the GRIHA Star rating for marketing purposes.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; USA, 2000)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented in 2000 by the United States Green Building Council (a tax-exempt membership-based non-governmental organisation with strong ties to the construction and property industries). It acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of buildings and city development projects. LEED is one of the oldest and most widely applied labelling arrangements, and many of the certification and classification arrangements studied in this research project build on LEED (and BREEAM). LEED is tailored to different development types: homes, commercial buildings, interiors, and neighbourhood development projects. The arrangement is predominantly applied for new commercial property (USGBC, 2013a).
Comparable to the other labelling based arrangements, LEED builds on a set of criteria a building or development project has to meet in order to be certified. Its requirements for energy efficiency relate directly to common mandatory requirements in the United States. The more criteria met, the higher the class of certification. LEED certification is granted by the Green Building Certification Institute, the organisation that also carries out assessments. While this on paper reflects a third-party process, it is more fitting to consider it an administrator-led process: the Green Building Certification Institute is a United States Green Building Council affiliate organisation (Keller, 2012). Certification is issued in the categories ‘as designed’, ‘as built’ and ‘in operation’—only the latter category is subject to periodical renewal. LEED awards five classes of certification: ‘Certified’, ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Platinum’. Once a project is certified under LEED property developers or owners may use the LEED logo and classification issued for promotional activities.
LEED-India (India, 2001)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) in 2001. The IBGC is a non-profit organisation established by the Confederation of Indian Industry, an association of Indian businesses. It aims to facilitate a transition of India’s built environment towards higher levels of urban sustainability so that the country will be a global leader in this area by 2025 (www.igbc.in). The arrangement is the Indian adaptation of the originally United States’ based LEED (see above). The IGBC has licensed the framework of LEED from the USGBC. Adaptations were made to suit local climate and industry characteristics. It is mainly applied for commercial property (IGBC, 2013).
Building on the framework of LEED-India the IGBC has developed a range of related certification and classification arrangements for homes, factory buildings, schools, and townships. These were areas that LEED-India did not cover. As of 2015, the IGBC has fully switched to its own IGBC certification and classification arrangements and it is in the process of phasing out LEED-India certification by 2018.
LCCFA (Low Carbon Cities Framework and Assessment System; Malaysia, 2011)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented in 2011 by the Government of Malaysia. It acknowledges urban sustainability credentials of cities, townships or neighbourhoods, with a particular focus on carbon emission reductions. The arrangement allows for certifying new and existing cities and settlements. It is an example of labelling based certification. (KeTTHA, 2011). Somewhat different from the other arrangements studied, the LCCF seeks to achieve its goals through local authorities. These are expected to commit to the arrangement, bring together stakeholders, set a carbon emission reduction target, and develop and implement policies to achieve the target.
Comparable to other labelling based arrangements the LCCF builds on a set of criteria a city, township or part thereof has to meet in order to be certified. Requirements relate to urban environment, urban transport, urban infrastructure and buildings. The more criteria met, the higher the class of certification. The LCCF awards six classes of certification: Best Practice 1 (1-9 per cent carbon emission reductions), Best Practice 2 (10-29 per cent reductions), Best Practice 3 (30-49 per cent reductions), Best Practice 4 (50-69 per cent reductions), Best Practice 5 (70-99 per cent reductions), Carbon Neutral (100 per cent reductions). Reductions levels related to a ‘baseline city’ (KeTTHA, 2011). A carbon emission calculator is introduced to support local governments to keep track of their performance, and to self-assess their compliance with the arrangement.
NABERS (National Building Energy Rating System; Australia, 1998 regional, 2005 national)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented in 1998 by the New South Wales Government Sustainable Energy Development Authority—a state level agency; now the Office of Environment and Heritage —and adopted by the Australian Commonwealth Government in 2005. It is a rating based arrangements for existing and new buildings. The focus is on energy and water consumption. Buildings can be certified in six star classes, including half stars, with a 6 star NABERS classification indicating the highest energy or water efficiency (NABERS, 2013). The arrangement was initially developed to certify energy consumption of office buildings only. Whilst it has expanded its reach to include other building types it is applied mostly for office buildings. This is related to the inclusion of the arrangement in the Australian Building Energy Efficiency Discloser Act of 2010.
NABERS certificates the actual energy and water consumption of buildings in use. To generate the rating the actual performance data is adjusted for a building’s size and occupancy, the climate conditions in which it operates, the hours of its use, the level of services it provides and the energy sources it uses. A building with a 2.5 to 3 Star rating indicates average performance as compared to other buildings in its class. A building with a 4 Star rating performs at the same level as a newly developed building under the Building Code of Australia (Steinfeld, Bruce, & Watt, 2011). Assessment is carried out by a third party assessor and certificates are issued by the New South Wales Government Office of Environment and Heritage. Because no mandatory energy efficiency requirements apply to existing buildings NABERS de facto certifies beyond compliance performance. Certification is subject to renewal: for office buildings, for instance, a certificate has to be renewed when a building of 2,000 square meter or larger comes to the market for sale or lease. Building owners and tenants may use the NABERS logo and star classification for promotional activities. NABERS is incorporated in a range of other Australian innovative governance arrangements studied, including Green Star and CitySwitch Green Office.
Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (Singapore, 1992)
The Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS) is a product certification and classification program. SGLS certification may be obtained after a product is assessed against a set of environmental standards developed by the Singapore Environmental Council.
Green Label certified products may give companies a competitive advantage, the certification may be used as a marketing tool, and to consumers or business associates the certification may provide information that helps in making their purchasing decisions.
Sustainable Business Leadership Program (Boston, United States, 2008)
Certification and classification arrangement developed and implemented in 2008 by Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston (a local business interest group), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The arrangement builds on benchmarking, although it has not developed an actual benchmark for assessing participants’ performance. It aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Boston based firms, and has a strong focus on how they use their buildings. It calculates a firm’s carbon footprint based on a series of 118 questions in seven categories, including energy and water consumption, waste production and sustainable procurement. Arrangement administrators then provide firms with a number of recommendations and support them in developing a plan to act to the recommendations. If a firm acts to at least 80 per cent of the recommendation made—assessed by arrangement assessors—it receives a certificate it can use for promotional activities. Certificates are dated with the year of certification to incentivise firms to renew their certificates. The arrangement does not refer to mandatory requirements for urban sustainability and resilience for building use because no such requirements are in place in the United States.
Sustainable Port Developement (Sydney Ports, Australia, 2006)
In 2006 Sydney Ports has implemented the Sustainable Port Guidelines. These Guidelines provide information and assistance to sustainable development in a port environment. Developers on Sydney Port lands have to show the environmental performance of their development. A checklist is used as measurement tool.
Sydney Port does not require its tenants to achieve a certain level environmental performance. Through the Guidelines and the checklist it aims to raise its tenants’ awareness, and provide them with helpful and workable approaches to improve their environmental performance.