Certification & FAQ’s

Why does IFC have a green building certification system?

IFC recognizes that there is a window of opportunity to shape resilient cities of the future, where more than 70 percent of the world’s population will live by 2050. Today’s cities already account for 70 percent of GHG emissions. By creating a green building certification system for emerging economies, IFC addresses climate change while simultaneously helping to boost prosperity through the construction of buildings with improved operational costs.

What does it mean to become EDGE certified?

“EDGE certified” is a term that pertains to a building project that has been granted certification by a provider through a formal process led by a trained auditor. Utilizing the EDGE software for project design is the first step to becoming EDGE certified.

Can my company become EDGE certified?

Only building projects can be certified. No building material, supplier, firm or individual can become EDGE certified. Additionally, the term “EDGE certified” cannot be used for a building where the EDGE software was utilized for design purposes but the building was not subsequently awarded certification.

Can my project become EDGE certified no matter where it is located in the world?

EDGE certification is available in more than 130 emerging market countries that are included within the EDGE software.

Can I certify existing buildings with EDGE?

Existing buildings and building retrofits may apply for EDGE certification. The same standards apply to existing buildings as for new construction. Materials in existing buildings that are being retained in the building or re-used and are older than five years may be claimed as “re-used.”

Under what conditions can retrofitted buildings be certified?

Completed projects can be certified as long as they meet the same requirements as are expected of a new building. Simple modifications do not qualify unless a major refurbishment has been undertaken. For example, the addition of rainwater harvesting to the building does not meet EDGE requirements as installation requires a change to dual piping.

Can I trade credits among the three resource categories (energy, water and materials) in order to achieve the EDGE standard?

EDGE doesn’t use “credits” but instead works on a simple pass/no pass basis without levels of achievement. When compared to a conventional building, your project must achieve at least a 20% reduction in each of the three resource categories to reach the EDGE standard. Depending on the level of ambition, you can design a net zero building.

If my building is certified at the design stage, am I all set?

A certificate at the design stage is preliminary. A building must be reviewed again by a trained EDGE auditor at the post-construction phase and a site audit performed in order to achieve a final EDGE certificate. This is in case any changes have been implemented during the construction process.

If my project is EDGE certified, is it automatically certified by other major international standards?

EDGE is an independent certification system that currently doesn’t inter-relate with other international rating systems.

Why should I design a building using EDGE if I’m not interested in certifying it?

By utilizing the EDGE software as a free resource at the design stage, you can quickly and easily evaluate the most ideal systems and solutions that result in 20% or more resource efficiency savings. For commercial buildings, you can also quickly view capital costs and their associated payback times.

Why should I choose EDGE over other certification systems?

Choosing a certification system that is right for your project depends on many factors. If speed, affordability and simplicity are important to you, along with climate-smart data that is specific to the location of your project, EDGE could be the best choice. EDGE is non-competitive in nature, as its intention is to help scale up green building eco-systems in emerging markets. EDGE is one of many certification systems, each having their own purpose and advantage within a given market.

Does my project have to receive IFC financing to qualify for EDGE certification?

The majority of EDGE certification will occur outside of IFC’s investment program, as the primary intention is to support the rapid escalation of green building growth, through a wide variety of financing options.

How is the pricing for EDGE certification calculated?

The pricing for EDGE certification depends upon the country, and varies according to the number of buildings, the floor area and the type of building.

What is the role of certification providers in EDGE?

Certification providers such as green building councils provide EDGE certification by serving as third parties that validate the work of independent, EDGE-trained auditors.

How can a local certification provider adopt EDGE?

There is a detailed process for green building councils to become EDGE certifying authorities that involves adoption of the software, target-setting and other collaborative engagement. For more information, email edge@ifc.org.

How can I become an EDGE auditor?

Becoming an EDGE auditor requires completing a training program. For more information, email edge@ifc.org.

Technical FAQ’s

What happens if the EDGE software is changed and my project no longer meets the standard?

There is a version control policy for the EDGE software. Whenever changes are made to EDGE, a new version number is assigned. If you open a previously saved project in a new version your results may be impacted. Projects registered in an older version that are under certification review can be certified for a period of up to four years. Version numbers are indicated on the upper left-hand corner of the EDGE software, and on the pdf feature and EDGE certificates.

How should I choose the income category for a residential project in EDGE if I don’t know precisely who will live in the building?

EDGE expects that the project owner will have a fairly good sense of the user of the property that is being targeted and how that user fits into the economic strata of the given city, in order to achieve accurate projections. In general, the higher the income of the homeowner, the greater the predicted use of energy and water will be.

For a residential project, what is meant by external wall length m/Unit, and how do I calculate this?

If the units are all the same size, then the perimeter can be divided by the total number of units on one floor. If the units are of different sizes, then the wall area can be measured for each unit type and then an average can be calculated. When in doubt, leave the default as is without entering meters in the input field provided.

I’ve noticed that the embodied energy in materials is not changing according to my project’s country. Why is this?

While many aspects of EDGE are calibrated at the country level, this is not true for embodied energy in materials. The materials database is the first of its kind in the world and is meant to express a global average, not a precise figure for a given country. While energy and water reductions in EDGE represent monetary savings to consumers while protecting natural resources, the value of less embodied energy in materials is intangible from a cost perspective but of significant benefit to the global environment.

The default materials that are listed for my country are not accurate. How can I trust the results if EDGE is not creating an accurate base case for my project?

Defaults in the materials section are constantly being improved and will evolve considerably in the near future. The EDGE software will become more closely calibrated to actual practices in countries around the world.

There are important materials that are used often in my country that are missing. What can I do about this?

The list of materials included in EDGE is growing all the time. If you know of a material that is used frequently that is not included in the dropdown menus, it can be added to the database. Simply notify us at edge@ifc.org.

If the external walls of my building are of concrete blocks but a small percentage is common baked bricks, how do I account for this in EDGE?

EDGE now allows the inclusion of a primary and secondary material for internal and external walls, flooring and window frames. Simply choose the primary material and indicate the percentage, and the opportunity to add a secondary material will appear.

What is the source of the default emissions factors used in EDGE to calculate operational carbon emissions?

The EDGE App uses grid emissions factors for greenhouse gases (GHG) published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). EDGE uses the ‘Combined Margin Grid Emissions’ factors for ‘Energy Efficiency’ projects from the ‘Harmonized IFI Default Grid Factors’ (available here). UNFCCC produces the data in accordance with the International Financial Institution (IFI) Framework for a Harmonized Approach to Greenhouse Gas Accounting (available here). The grid emissions data is updated every year.

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