explore our market researches

Market reports

See all

News I published 04 October 2022

Proliferation of sustainability certifications causes confusion among architects

Whether through top-down pressure like the European Green Deal, or bottom-up demand from clients, the demand for sustainable buildings European architects encounter in their projects is ever growing. The construction process of buildings involves many different players, however, and as we have seen in our research among them, sustainability is a broad concept that can be understood in different ways.

Sustainability certification helps clarify the definition and allows measuring and quantifying the sustainability of a building to prove to government, clients and all other stakeholders in a building’s lifecycle how sustainable it actually is. Given the central role certification plays in sustainable construction and the central role architects play in the construction process, we asked architects from eight European countries which sustainability certification they consider most important in the construction industry.

Architects’ opinion on certifications varies a lot per country

Of all types of certification, BREEAM was mentioned as most important by the largest share of architects. In a way that is not surprising, as it is the longest established building sustainability certification, originating in the UK in the 1990’s. Still, BREEAM is only mentioned as most important by as few as 16% of European architects. Those architects are mainly from a few of the researched countries, and clearly not from Germany or Italy, where BREEAM is not mentioned as most important certification at all.

The BREEAM example shows that the importance of sustainability certification for building construction is still very much determined by national boundaries. Casa Clima is an even stronger example of this. It is the second certification in the graph, mentioned as most important by 9% of European architects. Zooming in, our data revealed that those architects are only from Italy, where a whopping 71% of architects consider Casa Clima the most important sustainability certification.

Architects’ knowledge of sustainability certifications is limited

That in certain countries, certain certification is more predominant does not mean the above European averages tell us nothing solid. The most mentioned answer to the question which sustainability certifications are most important in the construction industry was ‘don’t know/no opinion’, mentioned by 37% of European architects. This shows that overall, architects’ knowledge of sustainability certification is still rather limited.

Looking at specific countries, the ‘Don’t know/no opinion’ shares range from 17% in France, to a whopping 70% in Germany. Italy is a great exception, though. As mentioned before, 71% of Italian architects considered Casa Clima the most important certification, followed by Leed (20%) and some others. Only 3% of Italian architects claimed to not know or have no opinion.

Manufacturers can become knowledge leaders

Aside from knowledgeable Italian architects, it is clear that the knowledge of European architects about sustainability certification is still limited, especially in certain countries. For manufacturers of building materials, this shows an opportunity to act as knowledge leader concerning sustainability certification, especially given that architects consider manufacturers’ websites the most important source of information on sustainability of materials.

To find out exactly which sustainability certifications are found most important in specific countries, and for a full overview of the view on and ideas about sustainability and circularity of architects from eight European countries, we refer you to the Q1 2022 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Architectural Barometer.

Fresh Insights Await

Our latest reports

Delve into the newest findings across various market segments, crafted for a cutting-edge overview. Explore our latest reports, brimming with up-to-date data, trend analyses, and in-depth examinations, all tailored to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the current market dynamics.


Home Improvement



Trends in material usage Q1 2024

2024 102 pages

Explore the evolving trends in material usage among European architects in Q1 2024. Delve into the factors driving material preferences and the impact on construction aesthetics and sustainability.


Media orientation H2 2021

2024 161 pages

Explore the media engagement patterns of contractors to optimize your marketing strategies. Dive into a pool of insights that unveils how contractors interact with different media channels.


European Green Deal Q4 2021

2024 88 pages

Explore the impact and reception of the European Green Deal among architects. Understand how the initiative is influencing architectural practices and sustainability measures.


BIM Q4 2023

2024 246 pages

Key insights regarding the BIM usage and behaviour of European architects, and our latest future building volumes prognoses


Purchase Channels H2 2023

2024 123

Explore the buying and ordering behaviour among contractors in H1 2023. Uncover the key channels used, share-of-wallet and much more.


Behavioural segmentation and media usage report 2023

2023 75 pages

This report provides a comprehensive overview of purchase behaviour, products, and media usage, specifically focusing on European handymen. It delves into how handymen use media, and for what purposes, and examines their habits and preferences in terms of purchasing behaviour.

Home Improvement

DIY versus DIFM Q4 2021

2024 113 pages

This report is a must-have if you’re in the home improvement industry. It provides a wealth of information on the behaviour of DIY and DIFM consumers, their motivations, and the factors that influence their purchasing decisions.

Home Improvement

DIY or DIFM Q4 2023

2024 70

Explore the prevailing trends between DIY and DIFM in Q4 2023. Understand consumer preferences and the factors influencing their choice between DIY and DIFM.

Home Improvement

Branding Q3 2023

2023 93 pages

This report offers an extensive overview of the home improvement industry, with a focus on branding and the most popular brands within different categories. Within this report, you will gain insights into how customers perceive home improvement brands and what motivates them to buy certain products.

Home Improvement

Purchase channels Q2 2023

2023 114 pages

The European Home Improvement Monitor offers valuable insights on purchase channels in the European home improvement industry, examining the evolving preferences and behaviors of consumers across traditional retail and emerging online platforms.

Home Improvement

Rise of digital natives Q1 2022

2022 120 pages

Explore the impact of digital natives on the home improvement sector in Q1 2022. Discover how digitalization is shaping consumer behaviors and market trends.

Home Improvement

Purchase Channels Q2 2022

2022 124 pages

Uncover the prevalent purchase channels in the home improvement sector during Q2 2022. Delve into consumer preferences and the factors influencing their purchasing decisions.


Sustainability Q1 2024

2024 81 pages

Delve into sustainability trends in the home improvement sector in Q1 2024. Discover consumer preferences and the shift towards eco-friendly home improvement solutions.


BIM Q1 2024

2024 84 pages


Sustainability Q1 2024

2024 99 pages

The European Electrical Installation Monitor report provides a detailed analysis of the sustainable solutions in the installation industry. This report specifically focuses on sustainability aspects in the industry.


Challenges toward sustainable future Q4 2021

2024 111 pages


Purchase channels Q4 2021

2024 106 pages

Delve into the training needs within the electrical installation sector. Understand the areas requiring skill development to meet the evolving demands of the industry.


European Heat Pump Monitor: Homeowners’ insight


The European Heat Pump Monitor: Homeowners’ insight is an annual survey based on about 4.000 online interviews with homeowners, conducted in 8 European countries. The report covers a range of topics, relevant to understand the sentiments, buying behaviours, concerns, and evolving needs of the target group. It includes 8 country-specific insights, with cross-country comparisons, and provide guidance for shaping successful and sustainable strategies for business growth.