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Green buildings and declarations

Sustainability is an increasingly important factor within the construction industry. The construction and real estate sector has a major influence on resource and energy use and thus on the environment: large amounts of raw materials and energy are required to construct and then operate buildings. In an effort to minimize this substantial energy and resource consumption, various building certification systems have been established, including the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council). These systems have generated sustainability requirements for many of the products used to make buildings. Such requirements tend to focus on disclosing the product’s impact on the environment as well as any potential negative health effects. Environmental product declarations (EPDs) and health product declarations (HPDs) have therefore become a very important feature of the construction industry. Through these means, certification systems are making sustainability in construction transparent and measurable. They help developers and investors evaluate a building’s ecological and economic characteristics.


The following are some of the most important building certification systems around the world:

  • LEED, USA, since 2000
  • BREEAM, United Kingdom, since 1990
  • DGNB, Germany, since 2008
  • Green Star, Australia, since 2003
  • HQE, France, since 2004
  • CASBEE, Japan, since 2001
  • MINERGIE, Switzerland, since 1998

Environmental product declarations

An environmental product declaration (EPD) is a widely used industry standard developed under ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, and EN 15804.


Health product declarations

A health product declaration (HPD) gives a transparent account of the materials and substances contained within a construction product, as...