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December 25

EDGE Certification – The Complete Guide

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Why can EDGE be a strategic certification?

Certifications such as LEED have sailed on calm waters for a long time, capturing a large part of the Green Building market in the last 15 years.

However, much has changed: dozens of new certifications have emerged to fill the niches not served by LEED and look for a share of the rapidly expanding sustainable market.

One of the most talked about certifications in recent years is EDGE. However, is this certification worth it?

Read on for an excellent overview of EDGE Certification…

But first, an overview of the current market.

A Post-Certification World

Certifications are seen today with much more skepticism than ten years ago when they entered the Brazilian market in earnest. Large construction companies learned, implemented, and analyzed the results obtained.

Many did find significant results, especially in office buildings. Other companies found bureaucracy, restrictions, and even little conversion into sales depending on the quality of the certification adopted, mainly in the residential sector.

To prove my thesis, I talked to some of the largest construction companies in the south of the country, in which we provide consultancy.

The first works in developments with a high standard of quality. In this conversation, it was said that the company no longer adopted certifications because they were “plastering” its projects. Customers with a high purchasing standard were prevented from making the changes they wanted in their property, increasing dissatisfaction.

Another large company we worked with commented that they did not see a return on investment because the certifier did not help them to clean up the data to work effectively with the marketing sector.

Although the second company lost opportunities due to internal errors, it is undeniable that not all certifications are suitable for all projects. Especially considering enterprises that managed to “hack” the model, obtaining certified projects without meeting the minimum required by Performance Standard, a guideline considered more basic in most criteria.

With the new certifications available and the crisis, this scenario left developers confused and worried about which certificate would be the best option for their following projects…

And it is in this scenario that EDGE becomes a great option.

Want to Certify EDGE?

Develop the EDGE Certification for your building and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses, improve your design and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

Emerging Markets: A Growing Trend

Although only a small proportion of buildings in emerging economies are now certified, it is in these regions that they can have the most significant influence on both the economic and environmental fronts. Green structures have just begun to take root in unexpected places, signaling that a better future is possible.

The trend may be linked to a heightened awareness of the importance of certification, a competitive desire to outperform peers still developing traditionally, and a sincere attempt to do as minor damage as possible to an environment that is becoming increasingly threatened. Reaching a tipping point and offering advantageous financial rates and progressive government regulations, emerging incentives in various areas are accelerating the construction of green buildings.

Due to a combination of financial and government incentives and intense lobbying by CAMACOL, the country’s national provider of EDGE certification, 8% of new build growth in Colombia, for example, received EDGE certification.

Because developers understand the importance of product distinctiveness, especially in real estate, a roughly equivalent percentage of new build growth (8% of the addressable market) is EDGE certified in Vietnam.

Today, EDGE Certification is a global program that is available in over 160 countries around the world. According to the IFC, the Edge Buildings Certification program has helped certify over 1,500 buildings in over 160 countries since its launch in 2013.

Take a look on this video where we explain the EDGE certification in detail:

How Does EDGE Certification Work?

EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) was created by the IFC (International Finance Corporation) to make the certification process easier and more accessible.

Developments can obtain certification by achieving a minimum projected reduction of 20% in energy and water use, in addition to savings in energy embodied in materials, compared to a standard building.

Let’s detail EDGE certification categories some more:

  1. Energy: The energy category covers measures related to the building’s energy consumption, including the use of energy-efficient systems and technologies, the integration of renewable energy sources, and the optimization of energy use through measures such as daylighting and shading.
  2. Water: The water category covers measures related to the building’s water consumption, including the use of water-efficient systems and technologies, the integration of rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse systems, and the optimization of water use through measures such as drip irrigation and low-flow fixtures.
  3. Materials and resources: The materials and resources category covers measures related to the building’s impact on the environment, including the use of materials with low environmental impact, the optimization of material use through measures such as recycling and reuse, and the use of materials that are sourced locally or regionally.

These categories are intended to help building companies understand the key areas they need to focus on to achieve EDGE Certification.

Therefore, it becomes a more straightforward and adaptable certification in different regions of the world, unlike LEED, which requires a series of adjustments due to industrial or international technical standards.

The EDGE App

If, on the one hand, we find in current certifications a model where the submission of documents for manual review is a slow and tiring process, EDGE brings simplicity through prescriptive data in the EDGE App, the central differential found by the certification.

The app lets you quickly determine the optimal mix of building design strategies for the best return on investment. Below we can see a sample of the online simulator running an office building through prescriptive data:

As we can see, the building captures data from different projects, from offices, hospitality, retail, light industries, warehouses, hospitals, educational facilities and. .. residences, which is precisely one of the “weak points” of LEED in Brazil.

Critical Benefits of EDGE Certification

Below are some of the differentiators that can be gained through certification, as reported by EDGE Himself:

  • Investment Planning: EDGE is a free, easy-to-use investment planning tool that quickly calculates the ROI for your green building strategies.
  • Project Savings: You can use EDGE to quickly project and report your energy, water, and GHG emissions savings.
  • Powered by data: EDGE’s advanced database understands local weather conditions and building usage.
  • Simplicity: All efficiency simulations are built into the platform, and certification can be achieved through existing documentation.
  • International Recognition: EDGE certification is globally recognized and supported by the World Bank Group.
  • Service Excellence: GBCI can quickly certify your project at a modest cost compared to other certifications.

Want to Certify EDGE?

Develop the EDGE Certification for your building and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses, improve your design and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

An Example Around the World

The IQON building will become the tallest in the city of Quito. Designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the IQON contains 154 apartments with offices and shops.

The building embraces nature, with trees and plants climbing the 33-story facade. The exterior is made of rotating concrete boxes that form a unique geometric design, serving the dual purpose of an “urban tree farm” and private terraces for residents.

Trees native to the region will be planted in the outer concrete boxes until they outgrow the space and are transported into the La Carolina park, creating a cycle of returning to the natural environment.

In addition to green features for improving the environment and reducing water and energy consumption, the office also chose to use local materials and sustainable landscaping and waste management methods for the building.

Sustainability Strategies Used on the Building

Energy: Reflective paint/tiles for exterior walls and ceiling, exterior shading devices, low-density coated glass, heat pump for hot water generation, energy-saving lighting, lighting controls for hallways and stairs, and sinks solar hot water.

Water: Showers and low-flow faucets, dual flush cabinets, rainwater collection system, and gray water treatment and recycling system.

Materials: Controlled use of concrete for slabs, roofing, and external wall construction; drywall over metal studs and medium-weight hollow concrete blocks for interior walls.

Other Successful Case Studies Around the World

Here are a few successful case studies of buildings that have achieved EDGE Buildings Certification:

  1. The World Bank Group’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States achieved EDGE Certification in 2016. The building’s energy-efficient design and use of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and a green roof, helped it achieve a 37% reduction in energy use compared to a similar building using conventional design practices.
  2. The Dalian International Conference Center in Dalian, China achieved EDGE Certification in 2016. The building’s energy-efficient design, including the use of geothermal energy and a rainwater harvesting system, helped it achieve a 37% reduction in energy use compared to a similar building using conventional design practices.
  3. The SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland, New Zealand achieved EDGE Certification in 2016. The building’s energy-efficient design, including the use of solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system, helped it achieve a 36% reduction in energy use compared to a similar building using conventional design practices.
  4. The DNV GL Headquarters in Høvik, Norway achieved EDGE Certification in 2016. The building’s energy-efficient design, including the use of geothermal energy and a rainwater harvesting system, helped it achieve a 30% reduction in energy use compared to a similar building using conventional design practices.

These case studies demonstrate the potential for buildings to achieve significant energy-use reductions and improve their overall sustainability through energy-efficient design and technologies.

EDGE Certification Costs

EDGE is always mentioned as “a more affordable certification”, where you can certify a building with a reduced investment. This does not happen in all cases. It varies a lot depending on the area of ​​the project to be certified.

The best way to learn about certification costs is by submitting through the EDGE App. However, for basic cost scaling purposes, they are as follows:

  • Registration Fee: Flat fee of US$300.
  • Certification fee: US$0.22 per m², excluding garages.
  • Project Audit Fee: US$4,000.00.
  • Construction audit fee: US$4,000.00.

Therefore, projects with a larger area will benefit from certification costs. Sometimes these costs can become even more expensive than LEED. However, the advantage of EDGE is that the certification process is greatly simplified by the EDGE App, saving some high costs for consultants that LEED always requires.

It is worth noting that these fees are subject to change and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the building(s) being certified. It is recommended that companies interested in obtaining EDGE Certification contact UGREEN directly for more information about the certification fees.

Want to Certify EDGE?

Develop the EDGE Certification for your building and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses, improve your design and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

How long it takes to achieve an EDGE Buildings Certification?

The time it takes to achieve an EDGE Certification will vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the building(s) being certified, the availability of the necessary documentation and data, and the completeness and accuracy of the certification application.

In general, it is recommended that companies begin the certification process as early as possible in the design or construction process to ensure that all necessary documentation and data are available and to allow for any necessary adjustments.

Once the certification application is submitted, it typically takes several weeks for it to be reviewed and a decision to be made. If the application is approved, the construction company will receive an EDGE Buildings Certification for the building(s).

It is worth noting that the EDGE certification is voluntary, and achieving certification is not a requirement for construction companies. However, obtaining certification can help companies differentiate themselves in a competitive market and may be of interest to clients and stakeholders who value sustainability and efficiency in buildings.

How hard is it to achieve EDGE Certification?

The difficulty of achieving EDGE Certification will depend on many factors, including the size and complexity of the building(s) being certified, the availability of the necessary documentation and data, and the completeness and accuracy of the certification application.

In general, achieving EDGE Certification may be more challenging for more significant or complex buildings. These buildings may have more systems and materials to evaluate and require more documentation and data to support the certification application.

However, achieving EDGE Certification is not necessarily a difficult or impossible task. Building companies that are well-prepared and organized and have a clear understanding of the certification criteria and process are more likely to be successful in obtaining certification. Talk to UGREEN to have a more straightforward and effective process in your company.

What are the main advantages of EDGE Certification compared to LEED?

Both programs offer several advantages to building companies seeking to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their facilities. Here are a few critical differences between EDGE Certification and LEED:

  1. Scope: EDGE Certification is focused on the design and construction of new buildings, while LEED covers a broader range of building types and stages, including existing buildings, interiors, and neighborhoods.
  2. Certification criteria: EDGE Certification and LEED have different certification criteria, with EDGE Certification focusing on energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and materials and resources, while LEED covers a broader range of sustainability and efficiency measures.
  3. Certification process: EDGE Certification and LEED have different certification processes, with EDGE Certification involving an online application process and LEED involving on-site assessments and a rating system.
  4. Cost: The cost of obtaining EDGE certification and LEED certification can vary depending on the size and complexity of the building and the specific program being pursued. EDGE Certification may be more cost effective for new construction projects, while LEED may be more suitable for existing buildings or interiors.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue EDGE Certification or LEED certification will depend on the specific needs and goals of the building company and the building(s) being certified. Both programs can provide valuable recognition and support for building companies seeking to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their facilities.

Want to Certify EDGE?

Develop the EDGE Certification for your building and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses, improve your design and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.

The EDGE Zero Carbon Certification

Thanks to EDGE Zero Carbon certification, building companies can certify their projects as carbon neutral. Minimum water and energy savings of 20% are needed, along with on-site energy savings of 40% and 100% of energy savings coming from renewable sources or carbon offsets.

For a project to qualify for EDGE Zero Carbon certification, it must meet three criteria:

  1. The type of building must be one of those listed in the EDGE App.
  2. A facility must have been occupied at 75% of its usual level for at least a year.
  3. A building must be recognized as EDGE Advanced, saving at least 40% more energy, 20% less water, and 20% less embodied energy in its materials.

Overall, the Zero Carbon category of EDGECertification can play a role in helping to decarbonize the built environment by recognizing and promoting buildings that have achieved net-zero carbon emissions, raising awareness about the importance of sustainability in buildings, and encouraging the adoption of more sustainable building practices.

How is EDGE certification streamlining ESG Goals for building companies?

Obtaining an EDGE Certification can help to build companies streamline their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals by providing a framework for evaluating and improving the sustainability and efficiency of their buildings.

Here are a few ways in which EDGE Certification can streamline ESG goals for building companies:

  1. Establishing clear targets: The certification criteria provide a clear set of targets for building companies to aim for in terms of sustainability and efficiency. This can help companies focus their efforts and resources on achieving these targets.
  2. Demonstrating progress: Obtaining an Edge Buildings Certification provides independent verification of a building’s sustainability and efficiency, which can help to build companies demonstrate progress towards their ESG goals to stakeholders such as investors and clients.
  3. Improving performance: The certification process involves a thorough review of a building’s systems and practices, which can help to build companies identify opportunities for improvement and make changes to enhance the sustainability and efficiency of their facilities.

Overall, EDGE Certification can provide a valuable framework for building companies to align their operations with their ESG goals and demonstrate progress towards these goals to stakeholders.

Ready to Start Your Sustainable Positioning?

Many doubt whether EDGE is the best investment option for their project. Mainly considering the number of certifications available in the current market.

Want to find out which certification is best for your investment?

Click below to learn about our sustainability services and which certification is best for your project.

Want to Certify EDGE?

Develop the EDGE Certification for your building and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

Discover our courses, improve your design and become a protagonist of the sustainable future.


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