DGNB Diamond shines on architectural excellence

A well-designed building is more sustainable because the users will take better care of it.

But superior design can be difficult to certify. To remedy this, DGNB has developed a special distinction called DGNB Diamond.

The CEO of DGNB, Dr. Christine Lemaitre, explains how DGNB Diamond celebrates exceptional aesthetics and architectural quality in a building.

DGNB certifications have become increasingly popular as building owners have discovered the value of being able to document the sustainability and quality of their buildings. But while a DGNB certification has specific criteria for factors like air quality, material sourcing and life cycle costs, some things are harder to quantify.

– Architects are generally excited about the holistic aspects of DGNB. As we have certified more use types, we began to get feedback about a lack of focus on architectural quality in the certifications. So, we enlisted a board of architects to help develop a way to rate and certify good architecture. The result is DGNB Diamond, says Dr. Christine Lemaitre, CEO of DGNB e.V.

Not a beauty award

DGNB Diamond is an add-on distinction used in connection with a DGNB certification but not as part of the certification itself. The evaluation which determines if a building can earn a DGNB Diamond always takes the completed building into consideration and is only obtainable if the building has already achieved a good DGNB rating.

It is not a beauty award, but rather a recognition of the fundamental virtues that all architects are trained in, Christine Lemaitre explains:

– For the DGNB Diamond, we use a mechanism similar to a competition. A panel of least three professional architects evaluate the building based on considerations that are part of good architecture. They look at factors like functionality, choice of materials, proportions, and context with the surroundings. Based on the combined evaluation, the panel recommends whether to award the DGNB Diamond or not.

Good architecture is not just for architects

So far, nine buildings in total have achieved the DGNB Diamond – seven in Germany and two in Denmark. It is mostly office buildings, but also a congress center and a multi-resident building. All the buildings have had a very intense design phase and a good knowledge of the use and users. This highlights that exceptional architecture is most likely to happen if the architect has sufficient input to make the right decisions.

– DGNB Diamond is intended as a tool for investors and project developers and a way to reach stakeholder groups that have not previously been part of the conversation. We hope that it helps make it clear that discussions about good architecture is not just for architects, says Christine Lemaitre.

Facts about DGNB

  • The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) was founded in 2007 and has around 1,200 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 instill awareness of building sustainability among the broader population.
  • The DGNB is an independent non-profit organization. Its certification system offers a planning and optimization tool for evaluating sustainable buildings and urban districts.
  • The DGNB Academy is an education and training platform that has already provided more than 4,200 people from 40 countries with official qualifications in sustainable building.

Dr. Christine Lemaitre,