Sustainability Report 2019


Objectives, Measures and Indicators

For a residential real estate company like Vonovia, our size gives rise to a special ecological responsibility. Vonovia aims to live up to this responsibility by taking numerous measures in the area of climate and environmental protection. We achieve this by:

  • Making a contribution to meeting climate protection targets and reducing CO2 in the existing portfolio
  • Taking a holistic approach to new and converted buildings
  • Implementing ecologically valuable measures in our portfolio
  • Optimizing the ecological footprint of our business operations

Making a Contribution to Meeting Climate Protection Targets

Our measures are our way of supporting the federal government’s aim of making the building stock in Germany virtually climate neutral by 2050. The main strategies aimed at achieving this target and reducing carbon emissions consist of energy-efficient building refurbishment measures, the expansion of renewable energies and measures to promote and use technological innovation.

Since 2017, we have been aiming to achieve an annual refurbishment rate of at least 3%. We will continue to pursue this target, even though we are currently restricting energy-efficient refurbishments due to economic considerations in order to avoid placing extra burdens on our tenants. We are also focusing increasingly on replacing oil heating systems and using hybrid heating systems.

Target: Annual refurbishment rate
of at least


in 2019:


Another major lever that can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the expansion of renewable sources of energy. Vonovia is aiming to continuously increase its use and proportion of renewable energies, which is why it is expanding its energy production and sales via its own energy sales company, VESG. We also launched the “1,000 roofs” program in 2019, the aim being to equip at least 1,000 roofs – potentially increasing to 5,000 roofs – with photovoltaic modules over the coming years. The energy generated is to be used directly as tenant electricity in our properties in the future – as soon as the legislation allows.

Icon – Photovoltaic

“1,000 roofs” photovoltaic program

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-efficient refurbishments are already visible – both in terms of tenants’ acceptance and the efficiency gains they achieve. This is why Vonovia’s objective is to promote innovation and use new, cost-effective technologies to improve energy efficiency, substitute energy sources and reduce greenhouse gases in existing buildings. We are actively initiating and participating in numerous research and development projects, providing momentum and driving innovation. We work with partners such as dena and the Fraunhofer Society. The Bochum-Weitmar innovation hub that we are in the process of establishing is a good example of our systematic approach.

We are also gearing our investment programs toward achieving the maximum carbon savings. When it comes to selecting the buildings to be refurbished, we will be paying more attention to the impact of carbon savings in the future. In everything that we do, our aim is always to ensure comfortable, contemporary and affordable homes for our tenants.

Taking a Holistic Approach to New and Converted Buildings

We want to make our new buildings future-proof. By adopting a holistic approach, 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.

More than

of new buildings certified

In both our energy-efficient modernization projects and in the construction of new properties, we take care to use building materials that are as ecologically friendly as possible and to meet the high requirements set out in individual KfW standards. In 2019, we received a sustainability certificate (DGNB/TQB (ÖGNB)) for over 20% of the 2,092 new apartments that we built across the Group. Looking ahead to 2020, we have set ourselves the target of building at least 85% of our new buildings in line with energy efficiency class A* (or better). Alternative mobility concepts are also part of our plans.

Implementing Ecologically Valuable Measures

We want our properties to offer liveable spaces not only for our tenants but also for the local flora and fauna. This is why we are aiming to achieve resource-efficient, low-carbon property management that helps to safeguard and promote biodiversity. The idea behind these measures is to prepare our portfolio for the possible implications of climate change at an early stage and make it more resilient. We will achieve this, among other things, through a partnership with NABU that was launched in 2019 and by taking numerous measures to preserve and maintain natural areas in our portfolio locations, for example, by setting up wildflower meadows and insect habitats. Our efforts also, however, include measures such as waste management to increase the amounts that our properties recycle and avoiding unnecessary soil sealing.

Optimizing the Ecological Footprint of Our Business Operations

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 any 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 our fuel consumption/consumption intensity. We also keep an eye on the energy consumption of our office buildings and are expanding the use of green electricity. Moves to digitalize our work processes also contribute to these activities.

Initiative Wohnen 2050

“Initiative Wohnen.2050” 102-13

“Initiative Wohnen. 2050” is a climate policy alliance of more than 30 German residential real estate companies. The aim is to create strategic cooperation and a forum for expert dialogue as well as to address commercial and financial issues in order to achieve climate neutrality in the housing industry by 2050. The initiative is based on an open source approach that involves the joint development of, and sharing of knowledge on, solutions and tools for the resource-efficient development of company-specific strategies for achieving climate neutrality. Vonovia is a founding member of the initiative.

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