The Environment and Adjustments to
Reflect Climate Change
Climate and Environmental Protection in Our Properties
Climate and environmental protection in our properties includes issues such as energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the portfolio, environmental protection in the portfolio and environmental protection in connection with renovation and new construction measures.
The real estate industry makes a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions via the construction and operation of buildings. For a housing company of our size, this gives rise to a special responsibility. Although we can only influence consumption levels in our properties to a certain degree in our capacity as the landlord – ultimately, tenants are free to decide how much electricity, water and heating they want to use – energy-efficient modernization, modern heating boilers or solutions such as smart thermostats can contribute to a marked reduction in energy consumption and, as a result, emissions. In this respect, much higher standards apply to new buildings compared with existing buildings. Owing to the very size of the real estate portfolio, it is clear that this is the biggest lever Vonovia has in order to make an active contribution to climate protection.
Our aim is to perform energy-efficient renovation measures on more than 3% of our buildings every year. As part of our energy efficiency modernization program, we will be investing in upgrading heating systems over the next few years, allowing us to save around 7,000 metric tons of CO2 a year. At the same time, we will be investing in energy-efficient building upgrades over the coming years. These measures are likely to result in savings of around 28,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2018. Our aim is to keep these investments at a stable level in the years that follow too.
Vonovia can also, however, use effective measures relating to the expansion of renewable energy sources, the targeted procurement of renewable energy and moves to start producing its own electricity using photovoltaic facilities and cogeneration units to actively combat climate change. Looking ahead to the future, we will be producing an increasing volume of renewable energy ourselves.
Vonovia already has a photovoltaic portfolio of 206 facilities with an installed total output of 5.5 MWp. This allows us to generate approximately 5.1 million kWh of regenerative electricity a year, resulting in CO2 savings of around 2,900 metric tons. We want to expand this business area considerably by taking intensive measures to add additional facilities. We are currently planning to add more than 500 photovoltaic facilities to our portfolio a year over the next few years. This could increase our energy production by a further 15 million kWh a year, which would correspond to additional CO2 savings of around 8,500 metric tons.
We also already operate 27 cogeneration units, which generate around 600,000 kWh of electricity using cogeneration. As part of our neighborhood development projects over the coming year, we plan to create a further five large-scale cogeneration units, which will produce around 2 million kWh of electricity a year.
Detailed information on relevance, functioning, concepts, due diligence processes and measures, targets and performance indicators on “Climate and Environmental Protection in Our Properties” can be found in the chapter entitled “Our Service Promise.”
Climate and Environmental Protection in Our Own Business Activities
This section looks at company environmental protection and the impact of transportation/logistics.
Compared with the potential for change to make a positive contribution to climate and environmental protection through our own business activities, the measures relating to our properties provide us with a much bigger lever. Nevertheless, efficiency is, of course, also a key focal point for Vonovia. We continuously seek out opportunities to increase our level of resource efficiency and reduce our impact on the climate and the environment in our business processes as well.
Our craftsmen’s and residential environment organization is a key aspect of our business activities and our customer service (for further information, please refer to the chapter entitled “Our Service Promise”). We intend to further increase our capacities in this area in the future. Moreover, the level of availability and the response time of our craftsmen’s and residential environment organization are to at least remain at their current high levels in the future, since these two factors have a key impact on customer satisfaction. The mobility of our craftsmen and optimization of the related support processes are key aspects in order to enable this goal.
Vonovia had a fleet of around 4,250 vehicles last year. These vehicles are used primarily in our housing-related service organization and for our local customer service. According to our internal statistics, around 7,137 million liters of fuel were used in the 2017 fiscal year, which corresponds to average consumption of around 140 liters of fuel per vehicle and month, or 0.37 metric tons of CO2. Around 95% of the fuel consumption is attributable to diesel vehicles. While our fleet will continue to grow in tandem with our business over the next few years, we aim to use scheduling and route planning, as well as lower-consumption vehicles, to ensure that the increase in fuel consumption and, as a result, in our CO2 emissions is less pronounced than the increase in the fleet itself. The area of transportation and logistics is thus particularly significant for conserving resources and optimizing processes. To improve our use of resources and reduce our environmental impact, Vonovia is therefore closely addressing its vehicle fleet and the number of kilometers driven.
All of these measures aim not only to reduce costs, but also to reduce the energy that needs to be used. This applies both to average fuel consumption and to the total energy used in our business operations. These are to remain at least constant, but ideally drop, in 2018.