German Sustainable Building Council and HafenCity Hamburg GmbH sign cooperation agreement

A new configuration of the DGNB certificate will in future replace the HafenCity Ecolabel. The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) and HafenCity Hamburg GmbH signed a far-reaching cooperation agreement at Expo Real 2022. The goal is to develop common, comprehensive certification based on the familiar DGNB system for the four major development ventures of HafenCity, Billebogen, Grasbrook, and Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld.  
Key elements of the previous HafenCity Ecolabel will be incorporated into it and developed further. Thus building owners and developers will benefit in future from central, internationally recognized, respected certification.

Certified buildings in HafenCity are resource-economical in their construction, contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions and can to a large extent be returned to the materials cycle during deconstruction. This makes them role models and pioneers in the transformation to area-wide sustainable building. They are setting standards and today are already providing answers to important future issues. Certifiably sustainable buildings also have lower operating and maintenance costs due to their high energy efficiency and are thus much better placed when it comes to renting and selling. Certification makes these advantages visible for all players, i.e. owners, tenants and users.

With the publication of the new joint certificate by HafenCity Hamburg GmbH and the DGNB in spring 2023, the HafenCity Ecolabel will be replaced in its current form as an independent and separate sustainability certification system. From then on, the HafenCity Ecolabel will only be continued in connection with existing contracts, in order to provide continuity for developers. The new certification is based on a special configuration of the criteria of the established DGNB system, tailored to the HafenCity, Billebogen, Grasbrook, and Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld locations. Requirements of particular relevance for projects at these sites will be defined based on the DGNB criteria catalog in the upcoming 2023 version. In future, building owners and
 developers will receive an internationally recognized, ambitious sustainability certificate tailored to the inner-city environment of the four urban development ventures in Hamburg.

Since 2007, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH has been awarding an independent certificate for sustainable building, the HafenCity Ecolabel. Certification was made a condition for the award of planning options on building plots in 2010. Since 2017, the highest platinum standard has been obligatory for all new buildings in HafenCity. HafenCity Hamburg GmbH thus promoted an urgently needed sustainable transformation at a very early stage and has supported and promoted the development of innovative, climate-friendly building solutions. Hence it has played a key role in anchoring sustainability ideas in the real estate industry and raising sustainability standards to an ever-higher level. Certified buildings have been and continue to be role models and pioneers in the transformation to sustainable building and thus an embodiment of practical climate-change mitigation.

In terms of indicators and verification methods, the HafenCity Ecolabel is similar to the successful certification system of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), founded in 2007, of which HafenCity Hamburg GmbH is a founding member. The DGNB certificate assesses the sustainability of buildings over their entire life cycle. Depending on building type, up to 40 sustainability criteria are taken into account in the assessment, which is subject to ongoing development by independent expert panels.

Given the high standards achieved by the DGNB certificate, the extensive links with national and international funding environments, and the established sustainability criteria on European capital markets, maintaining an ecolabel limited to a local market is less and less viable. The pioneering role of HafenCity has been instrumental in this shift towards firmly anchoring the concept of sustainability in the real estate industry and raising sustainability standards to an ever-higher level. The cooperation between the DGNB and HafenCity Hamburg GmbH will enable the course of transformation followed with the previous HafenCity Ecolabel to be successfully continued.

A joint detailed elaboration of the common certificate will now follow the successful signing of the cooperation agreement. The certificate will come into force in spring 2023 when details will be publicly announced. 

Dr Andreas Kleinau, CEO of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH:
 “DGNB is a highly recognized certification organization in Germany and Europe that works continuously to advance sustainability in construction and urban development. It maintains very close relations with the relevant official bodies and systematically draws on the knowledge of a very broad network of experts in the further development and application of its certification. We are delighted to be working with DGNB to ensure that the already very high sustainability standards in our HafenCity, Grasbrook, Billebogen and Science City urban development ventures are maintained in the future.”

Johannes Kreißig, Chief Executive of DGNB e.V.: “Our cooperation with HafenCity Hamburg is based on many years of close collaboration and trust. I am delighted that we are now expanding on this through the certification, as this will benefit everyone involved. HafenCity Hamburg has a massive international reputation and DGNB is Europe’s biggest network for sustainable building, with almost 2000 member organizations, many of them also planning and implementing projects in HafenCity. There will be significant synergy effects for them, as they will have the advantages of DGNB certification, such as eligibility for funding or ESG verification for the EU taxonomy.”

The complete press release (in German) can be downloaded below. Visuals may be only be used for journalistic, scientific, university, foundation-related or official purposes in accordance with the terms of use, provided that the relevant source is cited.