In the construction industry, the popularity of sustainability and its benefits have been on the rise in recent years.
Alas, with various building sustainability assessment schemes on the market, there is still no single general method for a comprehensive and inclusive design and building process for sustainable buildings. The literature describes several barriers of entry preventing actors in the industry from seeking sustainability certifications and prioritizing design methods, supporting sustainability in greater numbers.
In the newly developed tool, “DGNB building certification companion: Sustainable Tool for Assessment, Planning, Learning, and Engaging (STAPLE)”, a new Excel-based, interactive, and iterative education focused platform is introduced, intended to engage dialog among stakeholders, building owners, and decision makers, and the assigned group team leaders, based on the five DGNB topics. In order to establish common levels of knowledge, terminology, and understanding for proper interdisciplinary discussions, which would result in suitable and timely decisions, personal and professional development is enabled by imbedded educational documents in multiple formats throughout the tool as plain-language, easily digestible summaries of various topics regarding sustainability and the DGNB certification scheme.
The identified barriers are described in the tool followed by a solution to overcome them. The tool, tested at multiple stages of development and moulded by many individuals both within and outside of the sustainable building industry, has shown to achieve the primary goals of assessment of individual’s current knowledge, educating through multiple stages and formats, and the inspiring of conversation among team members through a graphical display of opinions. Based on user feedback, the conclusion was that this is a desired product on the market. This new approach is expected to dramatically reduce misunderstandings, conflicts, and mistakes during a sustainable design process, helping the design team plan a project to possibly obtain the highest DGNB score if desired and properly documented.