Madrid Nuevo Norte, the first European project eligible for the two most prestigious urban sustainability marks, BREEAM and LEED

  • Project
  • Sustainability
Both internationally prestigious certifications guarantee the most comprehensive and advanced sustainability measures

Madrid Nuevo Norte, the first Europeanproject eligible for the two most prestigious urban sustainability marks, BREEAM and LEED


MNN polideportivo zona residencial deg copia


DCN has registered the Madrid Nuevo Norte project to obtain the BREEAM and LEED certificates in urban environments and communities masterplanning.  

It is the first European urban development initiative to register its planning and design to achieve the LEED for Cities and Communities Plan and Design certification.  

Madrid Nuevo Norte is also the first Spanish project eligible for consideration for the new BREEAM ES Urbanismo 2020 technical standards.  

In initiating the process for both labels, DCN seeks to ensure that Madrid Nuevo Norte will achieve the most demanding environmental, social and economic sustainability standards.  


Madrid, 17 July 2020. Madrid Nuevo Norte, Europe’s largest urban regeneration project, is making headway towards the most demanding sustainability standards in the international arena. It seeks to become a benchmark for future urban developments in this area. To that end, Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), the main private developer of this project, spearheaded by the Madrid City Council, has registered Madrid Nuevo Norte’s master plan to obtain the BREEAM and LEED certifications. These two top global sustainability marks cover all relevant environmental, economic and social aspects. This is a pioneering initiative on an international level, and the first European project to apply for the LEED v4.1 Cities and Communities Plan and Design certification. Furthermore, DCN’s push to obtain the BREEAM ES Urbanismo 2020 certification for Madrid Nuevo Norte coincides with the review and update of the Technical Standard for Spain. It is, therefore, also the first urban development project to attempt to meet the new sustainability criteria adapted to the urban and regulatory framework of our country.

Madrid Nuevo Norte thus becomes the first European urban master planning that strives to obtain the two top sustainability marks, BREEAM AND LEED simultaneously.


Meeting the most demanding criteria

“DNC’s will to promote and develop a truly sustainable urban environment has compelled our company to seek the two top international sustainability certifications for Madrid Nuevo Norte. “As a first step, we have registered the project with both organisations. We are privileged to be the first project in Europe registered to LEED v4.1 Communities: Plan and Design, and the first to BREEAM ES URBANISMO 2020”, explained Belén Piserra, DCN’s Business Area Manager.

This, she continued, “will ensure compliance with the most demanding sustainability standards, both in communities and buildings. An independent, cross-analysis of Madrid Nuevo Norte and its design will be conducted, based on criteria even more demanding than those required individually by each certification”.

The value of BREEAM and LEED certifications is underpinned not only by compliance with all aspects of sustainability criteria  environment to human health and welfare, as well as circular economy criteria and responsible resource management– but also the fact that these certifications are assessed and issued by leading, independent international bodies.

The first step towards certification is the registration of the project. DCN commits to embrace the certification system and examine the sustainability requirements provided by the certifying bodies to implement and meet their standards, “to achieve the
highest rating possible”, affirmed Piserra.
To carry out this process, DCN draws on the support of Arup, a company with over 70 years of international prestige, specialising in engineering and in urban and environmental consultancy, with extensive experience in developing standards-based
project certifications.

Javier Torralba, director of Breeam Spain, explained that “our standard for developing sustainable urban environments has allowed us to assess over 50 projects worldwide since 2008”. An international experience that “allows us to say affirm that Madrid Nuevo Norte is an exceptional opportunity for the city”. The scale of the intervention and the measures envisaged “will make it a global sustainability benchmark for best practices in environmental protection, human welfare and boosting the local economy, prosperity and job creation”. The assessment will be conducted “with the latest version of BREEAM Communities, recently adapted to the Spanish language and legislation, called BREEAM ES Urbanismo 2020”, said Torralba.

Meanwhile, the managing director of Green Building Warrant Implement Europe (GBCI Europe), Kay Killmann, stated that “LEED standards help communities plan and design the best places in the world”. The person responsible for the LEED mark in Spain
highlighted that “when DCN registered in the LEED for Communities programme, it committing to a sustainable vision and resilient future for Madrid Nuevo Norte, that will make Madrid a global benchmark for habitability in the coming decades”.

There are currently only 20 projects eligible for the LEED Cities and Communities v4.1 – Plan and Design. “DCN joins a select group of eligible pacesetters worldwide, serving as a model for other communities in Europe and around the world”, said Killmann regarding Madrid Nuevo Norte’s application.


BREEAM, sustainability adapted to local realities

BREEAM, the first assessment method for building, was launched in 1990 in the United Kingdom. Building Research Establishment (BRE), a non-profit organisation devoted to research and development of sustainable building standards, manages this certification.

The BREEAM ES Urbanismo mark seeks to bolster demand for more responsible planning and management of urban environments, providing a time-tested certification for comprehensive environmental sustainability. It strives to become a tool for developers and other planners to ensure, improve and measure the sustainability of their urban planning projects independently.

Based in Europe, BREEAM adapts its certifications to the local regulations and requirements of other countries in Europe, including Spain. The Galician Technological Institute (ITG) is exclusively licensed to implement the BRE (BREEAM) environmental assessment methodology in our country.

The methodology is continually evolving and under permanent review. The first urban planning manual for Spain dates from 2012. BREEAM has reviewed the manual this year to introduce new criteria, cover more sustainability aspects and adapt their standards to the current conditions for urban planning in Spain. Against this background, Madrid Nuevo Norte has become the first Spanish project registered in the new BREEAM Urban Planning manual, seeking to become the first to achieve the certification.


LEED for cities and communities, beyond buildings

Since its launch in 1993, the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the North American institution responsible for the LEED mark, has focused on sustainable buildings. It is now expanding its activities beyond this scope to become a benchmark in this area. In 2016,
it created the LEED for Cities and Communities certification to provide a framework for implementing strategies related to energy, water, waste, pollution and carbon emissions to Administrations and other actors involved in urban planning. Coupled to these environmental factors, the rating system addresses social and economic indicators.

It seeks to help create responsible and sustainable urban plans that take into account important issues such as ecosystem stewardship, resource management and consumption, waste treatment, pedestrian, cyclist and public transport mobility and others factors that contribute to the quality of life of its inhabitants. When rating a project, LEED also bears in mind aspects such as the urban design’s resilience and adaptability to unforeseen circumstances and its capacity to mitigate the impact on residents, the measures in place to ensure equal access to resources and services, or the urban design’s potential for improving people’s health and wellbeing.

Furthermore, the certification helps monitor and measure compliance with sustainability targets in a consistent and standardised way. The rating system can be applied to cities as well as districts or neighbourhoods.

17 July 2020


Madrid Nuevo Norte

for Madrid Nuevo Norte