System initiator & operator(s)

The SBTool framework was developed by the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (iiSBE). iiSBE is an international non-profit organization whose overall aim is to actively facilitate and promote the adoption of policies, methods and tools to accelerate the movement towards a global sustainable built environment. iiSBE has an international Board of Directors from almost every continent and has a small Secretariat located in Ottawa, Canada.

SBTool is a generic framework for building performance assessment that may be used by third parties to develop rating systems that are relevant for a variety of local conditions and building types. This system has been under development in various forms since the late 1990s, and has been used as the basis for the development of several national rating systems, including:

• SBToolCZ (Czech Republic): In the Czech Republic, the research centre CIDEAS at the Faculty of Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague worked with iiSBE to convert the SBTool framework into a certification system called SBToolCZ. Since the launch of the system in 2010, the Prague Faculty of Civil Engineering remains responsible, in collaboration with iiSBE, for the on-going development and updating on SBToolCZ as well as for training local professional on how to it. Operation of the SBToolCZ certification scheme is carried out by two certification bodies: TZÚS Praha (the Prague Technical and Test Institute for Construction – a member of the SBA) and VÚPS – Certifikační společnost (Research Institute for Buildings – Certification Body).

• SBToolPT (Portugal): Adaptation of the SBTool framework to the Portuguese context and its conversion into a national certification scheme was conducted by the iiSBE Portugal in collaboration with the LFTC-UM (the Building Physics and Construction Technologies Laboratory at the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Minho) and ECOCHOICE. The resulting national certification schemes are SBToolpt-H for housing and SBToolpt-SPTU for Tourism, Commercial and Urban Planning Projects (under development)

• Protocollo ITACA (Italy): The adaptation of the SBTool framework to the Italian context and its conversion into a national certification scheme was managed by ITACA (the Italian Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces) with the scientific support of iiSBE Italia and ITC-CNR, member of the SBA. The resulting national building certification scheme called Protocollo ITACA was launched in March 2012.

• Verde (Spain): In Spain, the SBTool was adapted by the Green Building Council España (GBCe). The resulting certification scheme is called Verde. GBCe trains and appoints authorised Verde assessors, reviews Verde assessments and delivers Verde certificates. Its technical committee is also responsible for the on-going development of the scheme.

Assessment categories

There are seven main different assessment categories, which each cover a number of criteria. Each criterion is scored and weighted. The seven main umbrella categories are: (A) Site regeneration and development, urban design and infrastructure, (B) Energy and resource consumption, (C) Environmental loading, (D) Indoor environmental quality, (E) Service quality, (F) Social, cultural and perceptual aspects, (G) Costs and economic aspects.

In addition to these seven categories, the SBTool framework also provides a protocol for assessing site characteristics.


The SBTool Framework was designed for tailoring to local contexts:

• While some criteria featured in the framework, most are optional: the system is modular
• The weights associated to criteria can equally be tailored to suit local circumstances
• Performance benchmarks providing a basis for the rating can also be locally derived, based, for instance, on local regulatory requirements
• The system can easily be translated into a local language.

As detailed under ‘System initiator and operator(s)’, the SBTool framework has so far been adapted to the following national contexts: Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal and Spain.


The scoring process applied for each assessment criteria comprised in the SBTool relies on a comparisons between the characteristics of the building being assessed and a national or regional reference for minimally acceptable practice, “good” practice and “best” practice.

Scores are weighted based on local priorities, summed and normalised so as to produce a total score between 1 and 10. How this translates into different

certification levels is defined by the authorised third party partners who operate SBTool-based national certification schemes.

For example, SBToolCZ features four certification levels:

• Certified building (score 0 – 3.9),
• Bronze certificate (bronze leaf, score 4.0 – 5.9),
• Silver certificate (silver leaf, score 6.0 – 7.9 and mandatory criteria met),
• Gold certificate (golden leaf, score 8.0 – 10.0 and mandatory criteria met)


The certification process typically involves:

• An accredited/authorised assessor who works with the project team to compile the documentation required for the certification
• A review by the authorised third party who operates the national certification scheme
• Delivery of the certificate by the authorised third party who operates the national certification scheme

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is handled
by the authorised third party who operates the national certification scheme, with scientific support from iiSBE.

Further information here