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There are many different types of environmental certificates for buildings, but in general, it can be said that the goals of using them are to:

- Increase the quality of buildings.
- Reduce negative environmental impact.
- Build healthy and safe buildings.
- Reduce operating costs.

In Iceland, two certification systems have been extensively used to certify buildings and areas: BREEAM and the Nordic Swan.



BREEAM is one of the most well-known environmental certification systems for buildings today, which encourages sustainable building design and ecological management during construction and operation. The BREEAM certification system uses a recognized requirements framework to assess the performance of a building's design, construction time and operating time, taking into account numerous factors, from ecology to energy consumption. These factors are included in the form of nine environmental sections having varying degrees of weight, as can be seen below:


More about the BREEAM certification can be found here.

BREEAM-certified buildings and construction in Iceland can be found here.

The annexe for the BREEAM certification of Sundhöll Reykjavíkur (swimming pool in Reykjavik) in Icelandic can be found here.



The Nordic Swan is a co-Nordic certification system that can be seen widely on products of various kinds. The Swan's certification system is rapidly growing buildings in the Nordic countries and elsewhere. In Iceland, the Environmental Agency is the coordinator of the Swan, and its staff is responsible for assisting companies through the certification process and granting permission to use the logo.

More information on the Swan certification and the list of Swan-certified buildings can be found here.

Other certification types


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system commonly used in the U.S. and Canada. It was created in the early 90s by the United States Green Building Council. More information on LEED can be found here.


Level(s) is a framework developed by the European Commission to assess and report on the sustainability performance of buildings. More information on Level(s) can be found here or in the video below.

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