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Framework for carbon neutral buildings and sites

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Credits: DGNB

The Framework for carbon neutral buildings and sites of the DGNB makes a significant contribution to making the decarbonisation of the building stock practically feasible by 2050. The current version of August 2020 is based on an initial version published in 2018. Its methodology has been evaluated in numerous projects. This version in english serves as a basis for an international application.


What is the framework?


In the framework, the DGNB has compiled its definition of carbon neutrality and the corresponding explanations of procedures and strategies. The aim of the document is to create clarity on the market and to educate all actors involved in the planning, construction, operation and management of real estate with regard to effective optimisation approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Specifically, the framework describes comprehensive, practically applicable rules for accounting the CO2 emissions of buildings and sites. Based on the definitions formulated there for carbon neutrality in the operation and construction of buildings, the framework provides the basis for developing building-specific climate action strategies. The basis for this is provided by individual Climate Action Roadmaps, as presented in the framework. In six steps, it is shown how each building obtains its specific action plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest in the most economical way.


The framework also provides support for the concrete implementation and evaluation of the measures derived from the strategy and defines the framework for corresponding CO2 reporting.


Structure and content of the framework


The framework presents the following four basic elements of a climate action strategy in detail:


  • Part 1: CO2 accounting for status assessment
  • Part 2: Climate Action Roadmap
  • Part 3: CO2 reporting
  • Part 4: Quality assurance and verification

The DGNB System can be understood as an incentive to apply the framework and put climate action into practice. The various forms of DGNB Certification offer different starting points and motivations for dealing with climate action requirements. These include, for example, the planning and execution of new buildings or renovations with low CO2 emissions from construction or carbon neutral building operation.