5 types of buildings you can construct sustainably with EDGE

Sarah Buente

Over the next few decades, rapid urbanization will change the economies and lifestyles of people living in developing countries. And since buildings are expected to count for 30 percent of global carbon emissions by 2030, it is essential that we make the right investment choices today to push the market toward resource efficiency. In India, for instance, 70 percent of the buildings needed by 2030 haven’t even been built yet.

With climate change and the global impact of new buildings in mind, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries, has deployed a green building program. 

EDGE is a green building certification system for new residential and commercial buildings that enables design teams and project owners to assess the most cost-effective ways to incorporate energy and water savings options into their buildings. As a global certification provider, GBCI administers EDGE certification in nearly 120 countries around the world and is the exclusive certification provider for all EDGE projects in India. Certification is offered at a modest cost by GBCI to validate project achievements for financial and community stakeholders.

EDGE is a fast, affordable and easy-to-use mass market transformation tool. Whether designing affordable homes or high-end apartments, hotels or resorts, hospitals or retail establishments, EDGE empowers you to building sustainable architecture. To meet the EDGE standard, a design team or project owner uses the EDGE software to demonstrate their building achieves a predicted savings of 20 percent in each of three areas—energy usage, water usage and embodied energy in materials—as benchmarked against a standard local building.

EDGE applies to new construction, and in some cases, to major renovations, of five building types: 


For homes in emerging markets, EDGE enables developers to offer outstanding value to their customers. Smart homebuyers understand that owning a green home means lower utility bills and a higher resale price.

The EDGE Software takes into account occupancy, the owner’s income level and unit sizes to create a benchmark model for either single-family homes or apartments. A developer’s design team can then use the software to select from multiple practical solutions to create green homes. By helping developers choose solutions that make sense in a given climate, EDGE ensures performance while protecting the environment.  


Sustainable practices are gaining momentum in the hospitality industry. Consumers are requesting sustainable resources and placing more importance on green buildings and practices. By using the EDGE software at the design stage, a hotel developer already knows the numbers, so they can respond to discerning guests. Such factors as the hotel’s star rating, the occupancy rate and whether there are laundry services all come into play when creating a base case model within EDGE.

By achieving EDGE certification, the developer has proof of going beyond self-regulation to become a truly resource-efficient enterprise. For hotels, EDGE certification can be the differentiator—sustainability means a better triple bottom line, and by certifying to the EDGE standard, hotels are expected to enjoy savings of 20 percent or more.


EDGE takes orientation, occupancy density and operational hours into account to model a base case office building. Design teams can then sculpt a more effective and appealing workspace for little, if any, extra cost. 

For developers who manage their properties, green office buildings command higher rents. They work well for developers who build to sell as well, since green buildings command a 7 percent higher asset value, according to a 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics study of 69 countries.


Since hospitals operate 24 hours a day, they consume 2.5 times the energy of an equivalent commercial building. But medical facilities can provide state-of-the-art treatment while minimizing energy and water use, if the right decisions are made at the design stage. EDGE enables health care facilities to target those areas where technologies can significantly reduce energy bills and help facility managers stay within tight budgets. 

EDGE relies on the number of beds, floors and occupancy rates, as well as the size of operating rooms, intensive care units and diagnostic services, to create a base case model. Several types of medical facilities can be EDGE-certified, including a public, private or multi-specialty hospital, an eye care or dental practice or a clinic or diagnostic center.

The aim is to engineer a facility that provides the highest standards of healthcare without wasting resources, making EDGE a wise choice for hospitals in emerging markets.


Retail centers typically spend 11 percent of their total operating costs and 19 percent of their net revenue on energy. With EDGE certification, they can reduce their overhead and benefit from less dependence on energy, attracting customers who care about the environment. 

The EDGE software relies on such inputs as the average footfall rate, number of floors and building orientation to create a base case model. This makes it easy for retailers to decide what works best for the way their particular business operates and for their customers’ preferences. Several types of buildings can be certified, including shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets or big box retail.

Branding a chain or outlet as EDGE-certified provides a marketing advantage over the competition, winning customers who are savvy about where they shop.

Register your project with GBCI today