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HQE International (High Quality Environmental) is a standard for non-residential green building worldwide, which considers local concerns, launched in 2011 in Brussels. 

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Certification operator: Cerway, a certification body and the operator for HQE™ out of France, created in 2013.

Date of creation: 2011.

HQE (High Quality Environmental standard) is a standard for green building worldwide, however it considers local concerns, which may differ depending on the country and even the town or city. Indeed, the international building environmental performance assessment scheme therefore includes generic international requirements and all or some local certification requirements adaptation. HQE™ certification covers the entire lifecycle of a building (construction, renovation and operation): non-residential buildings (logistics, retail outlets, hotels, etc.), residential buildings and detached houses as well as urban planning and development. It pursues sustainable performance objectives while giving substantial importance to the impacts of a project on health, personal comfort and the indoor environment.

Number of projects: Over 380 000 projects worldwide and more than 59 millions square meters certified to date in more than 24 countries.


HQE certification exists for different building types: from residential, commercial, administrative or service buildings under construction, to buildings in operation and urban planning and development projects. It covers the entire lifecycle of a building from design phase to full completion on the basis of performance indicators. An independent third party auditor will assess the achievement of the objectives at each main phase of the project. 

The certificate is based on 4 themes: energy, environment, health, comfort.  Each theme is assessed on a scale of 0 to 4 stars. The overall score is achieved from the total of the stars obtained in each of the 4 themes.

Each theme has a number of targets associated : 

  1. Site,
  2. Components,
  3. Worksite,
  4. Energy,
  5. Water,
  6. Waste,
  7. Maintenance,
  8. Hygrothermal comfort,
  9. Acoustic comfort,
  10. Visual comfort,
  11. Olfactory comfort,
  12. Spaces quality,
  13. Air quality,
  14. Water quality.

The following table shows the 14 targets and the themes to which they are related:



Ranking system

The rating of each theme is linked to the level of contribution to the associated targetsThe overall ranking is achieved from the total of the stars obtained in each of the 4 themes, listed previously.

Ranking system_HQE-international

For more information:

What is Be HQE: https://www.behqe.com/presentation-hqe/what-is-hqe

HQE certification characteristics: https://www.behqe.com/cerway/specificities