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Assessment systems

Facet - Mediq office, Utrecht (Architects: Van Tilburg Ibelings von Behr).

Currently the concept of sustainability is very broad and not clearly defined. CEN/TC 350 is working on a set of European standards for quantifying sustainability (see Standards). These standards are expected to be published in 2012 and will provide indicators, a methodology to determine these indicators and a communication format. CEN/TC 350 does not deal with sustainability weighting or rating systems for products or buildings and will not label buildings. This will be left to the politicians.

A number of assessment systems (software or web based) for providing a building with a sustainability label are available in the Netherlands. The three most important are:

BREEAM-NL is an initiative of the Dutch Green Building Council (DGBC). The DGBC was founded by the investment and property development sector, where there was a need for an international label for property classification. BREEAM-NL is the Dutch version of the original English BREEAM: 'Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method'. The method was developed and introduced by the British research organisation, the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

Greencalc+ is a specialist program, developed by NIBE and published by DGMR. Greencalc+ enables specialists to enter comprehensive building details. A building's sustainability score is determined by comparison with a reference building that represents the sustainable building situation in 1990.

GPR Gebouw
‘GPR gebouw’ is a web tool designed for use by principals, councils, architects and consultants. The tool enables the sustainability of a building to be determined by a quick scan of the design data. The package was developed by the City of Tilburg and was launched by W/E Consultants. GPR expresses the sustainability performance of buildings in terms of scores.


The Foundation Sureac (owner GreenCalc+), W/E Consultants (owner ‘GPR Gebouw’) and DGBC (owner BREEAM-NL) have recently taken the initiative to provide their instruments with a common language for the sustainability assessments of buildings. If the various assessment systems use the same terminology and determination methods to interpret and weigh the same concepts and situations, this will minimise confusion. They can also complement each other, so that during a development process it is even possible to move from one instrument to another. Regarding harmonisation, talks are currently underway between the three organisations and the Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM).

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