A Guide to EDGE Certificates for Green Buildings

What is EDGE Certification?

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, developed the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification system to encourage and reward builders and developers who adopt energy- and water-efficient designs in new construction.

EDGE-certified buildings adopt practices for sustainable industrial use and warehousing. They use at least 20% less energy or water than conventionally built buildings, making them more affordable to operate and reducing their environmental impact.

EDGE is the first green building certification system of its kind that is available globally, covering both residential and commercial building types. The EDGE certification is designed to be flexible to adapt to local conditions and regulations.

The EDGE software tool makes it easy for builders and developers to compare the costs and benefits of different design options and choose the most efficient option for their project.

To get certified for EDGE, builders need to pay a certain fee based on the floor area of their facility.

Floor area Price per square meter Minimum fee
0-25,000 m2 $0.29 $2,900
25,000-50,000 m2 $0.24 $7,250

There are a few things to consider when determining an EDGE lead certification fee:

  • Size: A smaller project will generally have a lower fee, while a larger project will have a higher fee.
  • Location: A project in a more rural area will generally have a lower fee, while a project in a more urban area will have a higher fee.
  • Type: A more complex project will generally have a higher fee, while a less complex project will have a lower fee.

An EDGE-certified, resource-efficient building is more efficient than traditional buildings and uses less energy, water, and other resources. It also generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings. As a result, EDGE-certified facilities can help reduce the built environment’s environmental impact.

The benefits of becoming EDGE certified include:

  • Access to financing: IFC provides financing for EDGE-certified buildings, which can help to cover the costs of making a building more energy and resource-efficient.
  • Increased market value: EDGE-certified buildings are more marketable and tend to be valued higher than non-certified buildings.
  • Enhanced reputation: EDGE certification can help improve a company’s or developer’s reputation, as it demonstrates a commitment to sustainable construction.


What is the EDGE Certification Process?

The EDGE Certification Process is a voluntary certification system that recognizes buildings designed to be more energy and resource efficient than standard practice. The certification process is administered by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group.

To receive EDGE certification and become an EDGE expert, a building must first be designed using the EDGE software tool. The EDGE software tool is a free online tool that helps architects and engineers design more efficient buildings.

Once the building has been designed using the EDGE software tool, a certified assessor will review the design to ensure that it meets the requirements for EDGE certification.

A project owner must undergo an energy and resource efficiency assessment using the EDGE software. The assessment examines several factors, including the building’s envelope (walls, windows, and roof), heating and cooling systems, lighting, and water use. Once the assessment is complete, the results are used to generate an EDGE certificate.

The EDGE certification process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the size and complexity of the project.

The resources required from the organization to undergo the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) Certification are as follows:

  • The organization must have a minimum of 10 employees.
  • The organization must have been in operation for at least 2 years.
  • The organization must have a project or initiative ready to be certified.
  • The organization must have the financial resources to cover the certification cost, the application fee, review fees, green mortgages, and other associated costs.
  • The organization must be willing to commit the time and resources necessary to complete the certification process. This includes providing data and documentation as required, participating in interviews and site visits, and making any necessary changes to the project or initiative as required by the certification process.
  • The organization must be willing to commit to the principles of excellence in design and continuous improvement, which includes making ongoing improvements to the project or initiative and sharing lessons learned with other organizations.

The EDGE Certification is issued by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. The IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.

The EDGE certification is a great way to ensure your building is designed for maximum efficiency. If you want to make your building more efficient, the EDGE certification is a great option.

How Hard Is It to Achieve EDGE Certification?

Getting EDGE certification involves a rigorous process. However, it has been designed to be accessible to all types of projects and builders. There are several factors that can affect the difficulty of achieving EDGE certification, such as the complexity of the project and the builder’s commitment to sustainable design.

It may also be harder to achieve EDGE Advanced Certification compared to EDGE certification, as the name suggests. While the latter has minimum benchmarks for energy, water, and materials efficiency, the former is more ambitious in its targets and requires greater resource efficiency.

Builders who want to receive an EDGE Advanced Certification should ensure that their projects have a higher level of performance than the baseline requirements. These include a greater improvement in resource efficiency and a higher percentage reduction in energy, water, and materials use.

There are three levels of EDGE certification:

  • EDGE Assess– Requires the organization to commit to an action plan. It’s best for organizations thinking about their commitment to change, and adopting baselines and benchmarks to track theory progress.
  • EDGE Move– Documents how a company accelerates its progress across the EDGE global standards. It is for companies that have already committed to change.
  • EDGE Lead– The highest certification level, EDGE lead shows that a company has achieved the standards of EDGE certification. It shows that the company has a robust commitment to sustainability.

The EDGE global standards focus on three areas of sustainability: energy efficiency, water efficiency, and materials efficiency. These are assessed by EDGE experts and auditors.

An EDGE expert has in-depth knowledge and expertise in the EDGE certification system and sustainable design. Typically engineers, architects, or sustainability consultants who have received specialized training, these experts help guide teams through the certification process and provide technical advice and guidance on EDGE requirements.

On the other hand, an EDGE auditor is an independent third-party professional who verifies and audits the EDGE certification process. They are the ones who assess the project’s compliance with global standards.

Companies opt to get EDGE certified and favor it over other certifications because of its cost-effectiveness, simplicity, global recognition, focus on essential green building elements, and alignment with their sustainable development goals. It is also adaptable and customizable, flexible across building types and climatic zones.

Future of Sustainable Buildings with EDGE

How long before a company receives EDGE certification will depend on several factors, including the complexity of their project, the readiness and completeness of their documentation, the availability of resources, etc.

However, it is a worthy investment that contributes to the advancement of green construction thanks to its scalability, accessibility, standardized framework, and alignment with global goals. The certification helps achieve a sustainable built environment, focusing on minimizing the negative environmental impact of critical construction areas and promoting long-term sustainability.

Companies that invest in achieving EDGE certification enjoy the following benefits:

  • Reduced environmental impact– Allows them to contribute to mitigating climate change and conserving natural resources.
  • Energy and cost savings– Reduce costs over the lifespan of the building and enhance financial performance through efficient systems and technologies.
  • Increase market demand and value– Attract higher rental and occupancy rates and achieve a greater resale value by appealing to environmentally-conscious buyers and investors.
  • Regulatory compliance– Ensure compliance with current and future regulations, future-proofing the building.
  • Corporate social responsibility– Shows commitment to sustainable practices and environmental responsibility.

The future of sustainable buildings with EDGE certification is promising. Trends show its continuous evolution and expansion in terms of global impact. We can expect EDGE to continue increasing market adoption, expanding the scope of technological integration, regional adaptations, and global collaboration.

EDGE will continue to drive the construction industry forward and help foster a more sustainable and environmentally-responsible future.