The Best-Known Global Green Building Certifications

November 21, 2023

For those looking for the right green building certification, navigating the ones available can certainly be a lot to take in. Let’s take a look at the four most reputable and well-known schemes: LEED, BREEAM, WELL, and DGNB.

Famous Green Building Certifications

LEED Certification Themes

The certification criteria address metrics on carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environmental quality.

The specific LEED performance criteria vary depending on whether the project is commercial or residential, a new construction or a renovation, as well as various other contextual factors.

Regardless of project type, the certification grants credits according to the following key areas: Climate Change, Human Health, Water Resources, Biodiversity, Green Economy, Community, and Natural Resources.[1]


WELL Certification Themes

To acquire a WELL certification (v2), buildings and spaces need to gain points within 7 themes – or what WELL refers to as “concepts”. These are Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, Mind, and Community.[7]

Projects can additionally receive up to 10 points in the Innovation concept. Included under this concept is the collection of points by achieving other green building ratings such as BREEAM, DGNB, or LEED.

WELL Certification Costs

The estimated certification costs for locations that pursue WELL v2 green building certification individually include:

  • A flat enrolment fee: 2500 USD regardless of project size.
  • Program fee: 0.16 USD square foot. Without a discount, this starts at 6500 USD and is capped at 98 000 USD.
  • A certification fee: This is based on the square footage of the space.

Projects looking for certification for multiple locations can opt for the WELL at Scale program.

Please note: The WELL fees may be country-specific and are subject to change over time. For a specific pricing quote, visit the official WELL v2 Pricing Calculator.


DGNB Certification Themes

High occupant quality of life and well-being is a central tenet in the DGNB System, as is the lifecycle of a building and its operational costs. The certification focuses on life cycle assessment, holistic approaches, and emphasising performance as three fundamental aspects, which makes its system unique.[8]

The DGNB certification areas depend on the project type. For new constructions, over 30 criteria address six topics: Ecology, Economy, Sociocultural and Functional Aspects, Technology, Processes, and Site.