Objectives, Measures and Indicators
The federal government’s environmental protection plan aims to make building stock in Germany virtually climate neutral by 2050. In this context, “climate neutral” means that the buildings have very low energy requirements and that the energy requirements that do exist are primarily met with renewable energy. The material strategies involved in achieving this target are the reduction of resource consumption, increasing energy efficiency and substituting fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.
Energy-efficient building renovation continues to play an important part here, as refurbished buildings need less energy. The current refurbishment rate in Germany of approximately one percent is far from enough to achieve the savings effects required by the middle of the century. Several players in the world of politics, such as the Federal Environment Agency and the German Energy Agency (Deutsche Energie-Agentur [dena]) are therefore pushing to have this rate doubled.
In 2017, Vonovia initially set an annual refurbishment rate of 3%. We will continue to pursue this target, even in light of the fact that we are currently restricting energy-efficiency refurbishments due to economic considerations in order to avoid extra burdens for our tenants. The energy-efficient modernization measures focus on heat insulation for facades, basement and attic ceilings, the replacement of windows and the installation of new heating boilers. The aim is to constantly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in our portfolio (see AR 2018, chapter Our Service Promise).
With new constructions, we can influence the low-emission realization of construction projects and later energy-efficient operation right from the planning stage. Considerably higher benchmarks and requirements apply in this area compared with refurbishing existing stock. We are therefore placing increasing value on optimized energy-efficient building designs and aiming for construction methods that conserve resources. We aim to meet the high requirements of individual KfW standards in both our energy-efficiency modernizations and new constructions.
Another major lever that can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the expansion of renewable sources of energy. Vonovia is also taking active steps in this area and is continually expanding the generation and sale of renewable energy through its own energy sales company.
We are aware, however, that these measures – even considered altogether – will not be sufficient to achieve the target of a climate-neutral building stock by the year 2050. The limits of energy-efficiency refurbishments are already visible – both in terms of tenants’ acceptance and the efficiency gains. Vonovia is therefore actively initiating and participating in numerous research and development projects, providing momentum and driving innovation. The goal is to develop cost-effective measures to improve the energy balance and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the building stock.
Climate and environmental protection is also a factor in our operating processes, albeit a lesser one. We continuously seek out opportunities to increase our level of resource efficiency and reduce our negative impact on the climate and the environment in our internal processes. An important starting point here is our fleet of vehicles, for which we intend to reduce the fuel consumption/consumption intensity.
We are also engaged in dialogue with stakeholders from the world of politics, academia, business and civil society, and we include their ideas in our decisions. We are a member of the associations KlimaDiskurs.NRW e.V. and Deutsche Unternehmensinitiative Energieeffizienz e.V. (DENEFF) and are involved in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety’s dialogue forum “Wirtschaft macht Klimaschutz” (Business Mitigates Climate Protection). The dialogue forum is a two-year project (2017–2019) designed to connect businesses from all industries and to establish specific climate protection measures in companies. 102-13