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The HQE association was created in 1996. It brings together building professionals, representatives of local authorities, scientists, environmental protection associations and organizations such as Ademe or CSTB. This association has set up the HQE concept, comprising 14 targets, so that new constructions are done in an environmentally friendly way.

The HQE standard for house construction

The HQE standard for house construction

What is HQE?

The High Environmental Quality (HQE) concept was created by the HQE Association in 1996. It is a voluntary approach and not a mandatory standard. Its principle is to improve existing building techniques in order to save energy and natural resources. It concerns new buildings, in rehabilitation or renovation.

HQE certification is divided into two parts:

  • The operation management system (SMO): tool for defining the appropriate procedures and priority targets for the construction site.
  • Building Environmental Quality (QEB): a common language for identifying environmental issues. These issues are grouped together in the 14 HQE targets.

The 14 targets of the HQE

The HQE Association has established 14 targets. Each corresponds to an environmental concern. They are divided into four sub-categories:

To control impacts on the external environment:


Target 1: Harmonious relationship of buildings with the immediate environment

Target 2: Integrated choice of systems, processes and construction products

Target 3: Low nuisance construction site


Target 4: Energy Management

Target 5: Water Management

Target 6: Waste Management

Target 7: Maintenance and Maintenance Management

To create a healthy and comfortable indoor environment:


Target 8: Hygrothermal comfort

Target 9: Acoustic comfort

Target 10: Visual comfort

Target 11: Olfactory comfort


Target 12: Sanitary quality of spaces

Target 13: Sanitary quality of air

Target 14: Sanitary quality of water

How to obtain HQE certification

Following an evaluation, we obtain a profile at three levels:

- High performance (TP)
- Performant (P)
- Base (B)

To obtain HQE certification, the profile must be TP on 3 targets, P on 4 targets and B on the 7 remaining targets.

Since the implementation of the RT 2012, the target 4 must necessarily reach a level P.

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