Quality Infrastructure and Green Building: exploring interlinkages for a Greener Economy




Topics: Resource efficiency policies for sustainable cities and lifestyles
Keywords: Quality infrastructure, green economy, green building, certification, standard, metrology, accreditation, testing, conformity assessment.

Ulrich Harmes-Liedtke, Anna Kruip, Andrea San Gil

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany; sangilandrea@gmail.com


This paper points to the importance of quality infrastructure (QI), defined as the ensemble of metrology, standardization, testing, quality management and conformity assessment, including certification and accreditation, for the Green Economy (GE), which can be thought of as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.

Metrology provides the scientific base for all efforts to promote a resource efficient development and guarantees by traceability the reliability of all measurements. Standards define general accepted rules which guide all practical efforts to promote a greener economy. Conformity assessment organizations, like testing laboratories, certification and inspection bodies ascertain that all stakeholders follow the agreed sustainability standards. Accreditation ensures that conformity assessment bodies are competent and comply with the required standards, providing trust to the process and its products. All in all, QI contributes to the different areas of GE by research and provision of services. It contributes to innovation of products and processes and generates overall trust for the different green measures and certification schemes.

In the specific area of Green Building, QI supports the development of sustainable building materials, the measurement and verification of resource efficiency of energy and water consumption, and defining criteria for design, performance, relation with their surroundings and the assessment and certification of green buildings. Accreditation bodies guarantee the technical competency of professionals responsible of certifying green building projects.

This paper is a product of the project “Promoting innovation in the Green Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by including Quality Infrastructure” of the German Development Cooperation, executed by the National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB). It aims to sensitize the promoters of a Green Economy to the relevance of QI and identify concrete activities to showcase the contribution of QI to a more resource efficient development in the LAC region.


Ulrich Harmes-Liedtke: Economist, PhD, partner and co-founder of Mesopartner PartG/ Germany, consultant for the German Metrology Institute (PTB), involved in a project which explores the linkages between Quality Infrastructure and the Green Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Based in Argentina.

Andrea San Gil: Environmental Engineer, MSc in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy. Founder and Director of the Center for Urban Sustainability in Costa Rica. Consultant and trainer on sustainability, climate change and quality infrastructure.