Energy Efficiency and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Objectives, Measures and Indicators


Energy-efficient Modernizations

Vonovia makes a considerable contribution to protecting the climate through energy-efficient modernizations and new constructions. We want to make a decisive contribution to realizing the Federal Government’s target of a virtually climate-neutral building stock by 2050.

To this end, we will continue to conduct energy-efficient refurbishments on at least 3% of the building stock per year and have updated our modernization program for the reporting period to reflect this. In 2018, we again achieved a refurbishment rate of 5%, considerably exceeding the annual target of 3%.

Our modernization program in 2018 included:

  • Measures on the building shell: facade insulation, window replacements, attic and basement ceiling insulation. In total, approximately 18,000 apartments (2017: 18,000) with a living area of more than 1.1 million m2 (2017: 1.1 million) were fully or partly modernized in 2018.
  • Heating system measures: exchanging old heating systems like individual coal or oil furnaces and gradual replacement with new gas condensing boilers. In 2018, we exchanged heating units in approximately 13,000 homes (2017: approximately 15,000). 303-5

To finance energy-efficiency refurbishments, we generally use funds provided by the German government-owned development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The amount of funds available depends on the level of energy efficiency attained. Our measures particularly focus on the two funding programs KfW 151 and KfW 152. KfW 151 covers the refurbishment of a building, and the implementation of individual measures lead in total to achieving a KfW efficient house standard 100, while KfW 152 promotes the implementation of individual energy-efficiency measures such as window replacements and facade insulation. 302-4, 305-5

TOP 10 Modernization Locations by Investment Amount



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In the 2018 reporting year, we were able to cut a total of around 27,300 tons of CO2 emissions (2017: 29,800 tons) by evaluating energy performance certificates. Based on their results, we carried out energy-efficient refurbishments on building shells and renewed heating systems. The energy intensity in 2018 amounted to an average of approximately 166 kWh/m2 (2017: 172 kWh/m2). 302-3, CRE1, 302-4, 302-5, 305-5

Average energy intensity in the portfolio

Energy intensity in the portfolio (graph)

Energy-efficiency in the portfolio

Energy-efficiency in the portfolio (graph)

In addition to the existing energy-efficient refurbishment measures, Vonovia initiates and participates in select research projects to test alternative and cost-efficient refurbishment options and tries them for economies of scale:

  • The Alliance for Climate-neutral Building Stock is a joint project between the housing industry, research institutes and associations which aims to research technical measures to improve boiler efficiency, heat distribution and user behavior and to feed this research into political discourse. Vonovia plays an important part in this project by providing the buildings.
  • Energiesprong is a new refurbishment standard that represents a high level of living comfort, minimal refurbishment times and an innovative financing model. The aim is to conduct refurbishments to bring buildings to net zero, meaning that they generate as much energy in a year as they consume. Energiesprong was developed in the Netherlands and has already been implemented in more than 4,500 buildings. Vonovia is supporting Deutsche Engergie-Agentur (dena) in its endeavors to introduce the Energiesprong principle to the German market.

Energy Supply

We review the technical and economic feasibility of deploying PV plants, cogeneration units (CHP units), heat recovery, solarthermal energy and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in a standardized manner and across the board. We implement these systems directly wherever possible.

Photovoltaics and Cogeneration Units

We thoroughly investigated the potential of photovoltaics in our portfolio in the reporting period. Using data-led preselection criteria, we conducted a detailed solar cadastre analysis on approximately 18,000 properties. We identified more than 5,000 properties that receive a high level of sunlight intensity on the roofs and therefore present considerable photovoltaic potential.

We are currently working on equipping these buildings with PV plants. A team consisting of project managers, back office staff and local construction managers are coordinating the projects. In addition, a large portfolio of approximately 800 individual properties in Dresden and Munich were tendered for PV plant fitting, planned in 2019.

Our plant portfolio consisted of 208 PV plants as of the reporting date December 31, 2018, with total capacity of 5.7 MWp and annual electricity generation of around 5,350 MWh (2017: 3,700 MWh). 302-1, 302-4, 305-5

We use numerous cogeneration units (CHP units) for efficient, decentralized heat and electricity produced directly in the neighborhoods. 302-1

Energy Sales

In 2018, we rolled out energy sales nationwide through our subsidiary Vonovia Energie Service GmbH, enabling us to provide our customers with gas and electricity directly. 100% of the electricity is from renewable sources. The primary source is Norwegian hydropower plants, and we provide proof of this in the form of certificates. In the fiscal year 2018, more than 8,500 customers used green electricity from Vonovia.


We aim to make an active contribution to the transport revolution and support alternative modes of mobility. We also want to get our customers interested in this and are investing in measures such as charging stations for electric cars and e-bikes, and car sharing parking spaces, while reducing the number of traditional car parking spaces. In Pasing, Munich, we are working on a mobility concept, as part of a new construction and vertical expansion project that will allow our customers to rely less on private vehicles in future. In addition to car sharing parking spaces, the concept includes offers for bicycle-based goods transport and a number of roofed bicycle parking spaces. We are planning to include the development of mobility concepts in our neighborhood development projects in the medium term. Overall, Vonovia customers currently have access to 47 car sharing vehicles at 18 locations. Vonovia is also continuing its work on e-mobility concepts. For instance, we are currently planning to erect 34 public charging stations throughout Germany. We are also planning new constructions that enable charging stations and wall sockets to be rapidly retrofitted.

Sector Coupling & Neighborhood Approaches

In addition to the expansion of renewable energies, there is an increased focus on more solid networks between local producers and users of electricity, heat and mobility. It seems probable that considerable savings potential can be realized here with smart management systems. The numerous connected buildings in our neighborhoods offer an interesting starting point in this regard.

  • Vonovia therefore decided to become a founding member of Open District Hub e.V., an initiative organized by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft aimed at enabling intelligent sector coupling in neighborhoods. By establishing open and scalable system solutions based on renewable energy, we aim to find new energy-efficiency property management modes at neighborhood levels. Vonovia is testing and implementing this approach in a pilot neighborhood in Bochum.
  • As part of the “MAtchUP” program funded by the European Commission, Vonovia is involved with the development of the Johannstadt district of Dresden. A combination of city development measures will be carried out to make this district an intelligent and energy-efficient neighborhood. The city, businesses and citizens are working together to discover solutions and new business models aimed at achieving measurable success in terms of energy and resource efficiency. We are modernizing a building complex of 560 apartments. In addition, the city of Dresden will be constructing and operating a PV plant on another Vonovia building. Electric vehicles will also be leased for our employees as part of this project and we will jointly construct charging stations for car sharing. 102-13