The HQE ® certificate was introduced in 2005 by the "Association pour la Haute Qualité Environnementale" (ASSOHQE), which was founded in 1996 in Paris. It was originally aimed at the renovation and refurbishment of existing office and school buildings, but was later further developed for the assessment of residential buildings. Today, its application is mostly seen in French residential construction. However, international orientation is an aim. The number of projects certified world-wide is ca. 380.000 (http://www.behqe.com/fr/hqe-dans-le-monde/cartographie-des-projets).

To assure quality in the HQE ® method, an assessment is carried out after each phase – commissioning, draft and completion – which is then used as a basis for certification.

Three levels can be achieved in the certification process:

  • Basic level

  • Performance level

  • High-performance level

This involves 14 assessment criteria, divided into 4 classes:


  • Relation of buildings to their immediate environment

  • Integrated selection of construction methods and products

  • Low environmental impact of the site


  • Energy management

  • Water management

  • Waste management for the waste generated during the project

  • Maintenance and repair management


  • Hygrothermal comfort

  • Acoustic comfort

  • Visual comfort

  • Olfactory comfort


  • Health-related room quality

  • Health-related air quality

  • Health-related water quality