The Sustainability of Certification Systems in the Building Sector
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Increasing attention to sustainable development and sustainable practices led to the creation of various certification systems to assess and certify buildings and their surrounding environment upon sustainability. Despite some critics arguing about the vagueness of the concept, in practice common aspects are identifiable which fit the sustainability concept. Therefore, this study aims to provide insight into the extent to which certification systems actually consider these sustainable development aspects, while assessing buildings and their surroundings on sustainability. The indicators are identified from literature and aggregated into a conceptual model in several categories, i.e. issues (planet, people, prosperity), time and spatial dependency. Three widely used systems in The Netherlands are evaluated (GPR-gebouw, BREEAM-NL, LEED) and their websites and reports are analysed to do so. It is found that mainly the planet issue and time and spatial dependencies are considered, but the societal issues, i.e. people and prosperity, are lacking. It is recommended to pursue all the aspects, in order to strive for the twofold sustainable development agenda (ecological protection and societal equity) and to stimulate the built environment to act more sustainably. For further research it is advised to extend the scope to more used certification systems in different countries.