The alliance of professionals for a sustainable living environment

Qui sommes-nous ?

Our history

“Anticipating, sharing experiences, promoting performance in sustainable development”: this is the triptych on which the Alliance HQE-GBC’s actions are based. For more than 25 years now, the Alliance has been working with real estate and development professionals to develop best practices for more efficient structures, using a global, multi-criteria approach.

The emergence of sustainable development in the construction sector


Although thermal regulations have been imposed on new buildings since the first oil crisis,  it was not until the beginning of the 1990s and the emergence of the concept of sustainable development that thought was given to the global impact that buildings, and more broadly the world of construction, can have on the environment. It quickly became clear that it was necessary to bring together the players to build a common language and a proactive approach. This is how the Association HQE was created in 1996 to provide a reference framework, the HQE approach. The foundations were laid with the definition of the 14 targets that carry the ambitions of sustainable development in the building sector, followed by the Explicit Definition of Environmental Quality (Définition Explicite de la Qualité Environnementale) for Buildings, published in 2002.

Standardization, a decisive step in the development of the reference framework for environmental and health declaration sheets


At the same time, from the writing of the DEQE, the members of the Association HQE are involved in standardization work, initially at the national level within the framework of P01E. This work led to the publication in 2003 of the experimental standard NF X P 01-010, which became the reference framework for the environmental and health declaration sheets. Over the years, the standardization work was extended to CEN at the European level, then to ISO at the international level.


Collaborative work at the heart of the association recognized as a public utility


Recognized as a public utility in 2004, the Association HQE favors collaborative work, guaranteeing a global approach to the act of building and the sharing of practices. A certification reference system was developed and the first certificate was issued in 2005. Over the years, the certification standards have been enriched to become an essential reference, and HQE® certification is now one of the most widely used certifications in the world, for buildings under construction, renovation and operation.


From the first experiments in HQE Performance assessment to the birth of the HQE reference framework


Consideration of the impact of buildings on the environment is gaining new momentum with the Grenelle de l’Environnement in 2007, then the Sustainable Building Plan in 2009. The Association HQE, on the occasion of its Assises, initiates an innovative process, with the creation of HQE Performance, a 2nd generation experimental program which is beginning to introduce the notions of life cycle analysis, indoor air quality, circular economy or resilience. Fully launched in 2011, this collaborative innovation work positions the association as a major contributor to the assessment of the environmental impacts of both buildings and land development. It was also in 2011 that the Association HQE became the owner and manager of the INIES database, the national reference environmental and health database for buildings, and now the RE2020. And because the sum of juxtaposed HQE buildings in no way guarantees the creation of a sustainable district or territory, it was also in 2011 that the HQE certification for sustainable development projects was born.


It was also during this period that the four commitments, the basis of the HQE reference framework, were created. These four commitments restructure the 14 targets into a coherent whole with the pillars of sustainable development:


  • Environmental pillar: Respect for the environment
  • Societal pillar: Quality of life
  • Economic pillar: Economic performance
  • Governance: Responsible management

A new international dynamic


Having become Alliance HQE-GBC in 2016 through the fusion of the Association HQE with France GBC, it is taking on an international dimension and establishing itself as the French member of the global network of Green Building Councils.

After the building and development sectors, an HQE certification standard is dedicated to infrastructure in 2017.

Today, the Alliance HQE-GBC France represents the privileged place for dialogue between committed professionals, eager to promote best practices. It is actively pursuing its collaborative and forward-looking innovation work in favor of sustainable design, construction – but also renovation of buildings, development and infrastructure, the foundations of the city of tomorrow.






HQE in a few dates

  • Application of the RE2020
  • E+C- experimentation
  • Fusion of the Association HQE and France GBC, which gives birth to the Alliance HQE-GBC France
  • Creation of the HQE Infrastructures standard
  • Obligation for new constructions to respect the RT2012
  • Creation of the Reference Framework and definition of the 4 HQE commitments, consistent with the pillars of sustainable development and structured from the 14 targets
  • Participation in the founding of France GBC, the French branch of the World Green Building Council.
  • Innovation approach with the creation of HQE Performance
  • Publication of the guide to the HQE urban planning approach
  • Launch of the Sustainable Building Plan
  • Grenelle environnement
  • Construction of the reference system
  • First HQE certification
  • The association HQE is recognized as a public utility
  • Publication of the experimental standard NF X P 01-010 (basis of the EHSF)
  • Definition Explanation of the Environmental Quality of Buildings (EQB)
  • First experiments for certification
  • First Conference on the HQE approach
  • Announcement by the Secretary of State for Housing of a certification of housing in HQE approach
  • Publication of the ISO 14001 standard
  • Creation of the Association HQE, to build the framework for a high environmental quality approach
  • Definition of the 14 targets
  • Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, Minister for Housing and the Living Environment, launches the first work on the environment in construction
  • Initiation of reflection on the global impacts of building and construction on the environment
  • Publication of the Brundtland Report, which lays the foundations for Sustainable Development