Sustainability Report 2019

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Austria – Sustainability at BUWOG


BUWOG Group GmbH has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Vonovia SE since November 2018. With its Asset Management, Property Sales and Property Development divisions, it covers the entire residential real estate value chain and manages a real estate portfolio comprising around 22,500 units in Austria.

As of December 31, 2019, around 2,700 units were in the development pipeline in Vienna – these properties are either already under construction or preparations are under way to commence construction work in the near future. Roughly equal proportions are to be sold as condominiums and included in the rental business. 842 new units were completed in 2019. In the medium term, the development pipeline is currently scheduled to comprise around 6,300 units. This means that the company is making an important contribution to alleviating the shortage of housing. The BUWOG brand is associated with a high level of customer satisfaction in the real estate development business (see AR 2019, Corporate Structure).

In terms of the sustainability performance of Vonovia’s Austrian business, which operates under the name of BUWOG, we consider climate and environmental protection both in the development business and in the portfolio, the energy management system and our employees to be topics of particular relevance and cover them in greater detail below.

Climate and Environmental Protection in Our Development Activities

The planning and development of new residential properties takes place within a social framework in which climate and environmental protection are playing an increasingly important role. Of particular significance are the issues of:

  • Energy supply and consumption
  • Processes that conserve resources (covering areas from project development to construction to life cycle costs)
  • The use of environmentally friendly materials
  • The degree of impervious surface coverage, addition of greenery to roofs and facades
  • Mobility
  • The residential environment and neighborhood solutions


proportion of square meters with
energy efficiency classes A and A+

for construction starting in 2020

Energy supply, consumption and energy-efficient building technology are the main issues in development. As a result, we have set ourselves the objective of increasing the share of energy efficiency classes A and A+, measured based on area in square meters, in relation to primary energy requirements to over 40% for projects to be completed in 2020. Projects with construction starting in 2020 are to achieve a share of 79%.

One good example of our sustainable measures is the residential tower (Tower 3) which is being built as part of the project “The Marks,” comprising three high-rise buildings. All of the privately financed condominiums will feature ventilation systems using heat recovery. Stale air in the home will be replaced by fresh air from outside, ensuring a pleasant interior climate. To reduce heat loss associated with ventilation, the heat contained in the used air will be stored in a heat exchanger and added back to the incoming air. In another major project, heat in the completed buildings will be generated using a combination of three heat pumps and a condensing gas boiler in order to heat the water supply. In addition, photovoltaic systems with a total output of approximately 77.5 kWp are planned for roof installation. This corresponds to a total of 250 modules with an output of 310 watts per module. The electricity generated by the photovoltaic system will be fed into the heating and cooling system, mainly to cover the power required for the heat pumps. Surplus energy is to be fed into the public grid.

Various pilot and research projects, including energy supplied from renewable energy sources and other energy-related and environmental innovations, are being implemented in new construction.

Designing ecological leisure spaces is a primary concern in all new construction projects. Numerous buildings feature green spaces that serve as natural habitats for flora and fauna at ground level, on roofs or on facades. In addition to the optical effects, these green spaces also offer a practical added value, for example, by slowing the flow of rainwater into the partially overburdened municipal sewage system and by making a considerable contribution to the microclimate, especially by preventing heat building up in densely populated urban areas. The new “Biotope City” neighborhood in Vienna will be a pioneering prime example of urban design incorporating vegetation. The joint project on real estate located on Triester Strasse that formerly belonged to Coca Cola was developed as part of a cooperative planning process. The entire planning process for the “Biotope City” was backed by scientific research. The research project aims to simulate micro-climatic effects and then implement measures to create green spaces across construction zones. The establishment and use of links between the various planning teams operating at the site is crucial for the success of the project. The resulting GREENpass® tool is to be used to scale the positive effects developed as part of the project. The open space plans for the “Biotope City” include urban gardening flowerbeds in the ground floor areas, as well as the addition of greenery to roofs and facades. There are also plans to ensure an efficient water supply for the vegetation. As part of the “Biotope City,” we realized the “AMELIE” project, comprising three building components featuring a total of 136 privately financed condominiums.

In order to handle valuable raw materials that we come across when dismantling old buildings in a sustainable manner, we launched a large-scale project in Vienna in 2018 for recycling and reusing entire construction elements. The former existing building on the site of the new customer and administration center at Rathausstrasse 1 was carefully dismantled in a project involving several stages and in close collaboration with BauKarussell, a cooperation network for socio-economic enterprises, and in partnership with the “Harvest Map” ReUse platform. This allowed us to separate a considerable amount of waste and to return materials such as aluminum, copper, marble, etc., to the materials cycle for reuse. Furniture and parts of the interior fittings were also given a new lease of life. Mobile partition walls, for example, are being used in the canteen kitchen of a social business hotel in Vienna. Ultimately, around 90% of the building was returned to the materials cycle as secondary raw material via a processing plant. During the dismantling of the site in Vienna that formerly belonged to Coca Cola, we were also able to avoid around 450 metric tons of waste and recycle some of the materials, such as the roofing panels.

Intelligent mobility solutions are becoming increasingly important in urban areas and play an increasingly larger part in our urban development projects. E-mobility, bicycle solutions and local public transport connections are planned early on when designing new buildings. Future requirements for electric charging points and empty cable conduits for retrofitting are also taken into account in order to avoid increased costs later and to actively contribute to the development of more ecological forms of transport. “The Marks” project, for example, will provide space for around 2,000 bicycle parking spaces in a bicycle arcade spanning all of the building zones. The arcade will feature three stories as an architectural feature that will link the three high-rise buildings. Following its completion, the roof of the arcade will be used to house communal gardens and a walkway spanning the entire site that can also be used as a running track.

Around 1/3

of new buildings completed in 2019

awarded sustainability certificates

Building certification is another process used to demonstrate to investors, owners, tenants and interested members of the general public how sustainably a property is planned, built and managed. The “MARINA TOWER” project, a joint project in collaboration with IES Immobilien, was awarded the Austrian Sustainable Building Council’s (ÖGNI) gold sustainability certificate, as did the “SeeSee” project. The above-mentioned customer and administration center located at Rathausstrasse 1 was awarded pre-certification in gold by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), with an award from the Austrian Sustainable Building Council (ÖGNI) set to follow after the project’s completion in May 2020.

Certified Energy Management System

BUWOG Group GmbH has had an ISO 50001-certified energy management system in place in Austria since 2013/14, which features both established processes and a written energy policy. It is a voluntary instrument used to systematically manage and continuously improve energy performance. The objectives are to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and cut energy costs. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has a positive environmental impact. The energy management system demonstrates a clear commitment to managing energy issues professionally and in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner. As a result, all energy-related issues relating to the entire portfolio of new buildings, as well as the existing portfolio, are managed as part of the certified energy management system.

Icon – Pen in a circle

Full commitment to
Austrian climate targets –

partner of klimaaktiv pakt2020

Since 2011, BUWOG has been one of twelve committed major companies – the only one in the real estate sector – partnering with the ambitious “klimaaktiv pakt2020” launched by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. Acting as pioneers in company climate protection, the partners have entered into a voluntary but binding commitment to support the achievement of the Austrian climate targets by the end of 2020. Specifically, the targets include a reduction in greenhouse gases of more than 22%, an increase in energy efficiency of at least 20% and the use of renewable energy sources for at least 34% of total energy by 2020, compared with the baseline year of 2005. The considerable commitment made by the twelve partners can already be seen in the results, with the jointly agreed targets for 2020 being achieved ahead of schedule in 2019. Plans are under way to continue the initiative with a “klimaaktiv pakt2030.”


Responsibility, commitment, flexibility and professionalism are the defining qualities of our team. In order to ensure that this does not change in the long run, we are focusing on employees’ health, safety, performance and motivation.

We have been committed to promoting family life for years now, the aim being to allow our employees to strike a balance between family and work commitments by offering a range of tools designed to meet their specific needs. We have therefore been participating in the “berufundfamilie” (work and family) audit conducted by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Families and Youth since 2017. This is a voluntary government seal of quality that aims to achieve improvements in the awareness of family issues. The seal is awarded as part of a structured audit process. The objective is also to use the audit to achieve positive commercial effects on employer appeal, employee loyalty, motivation and identification, and to minimize staff turnover and absences.

In addition to a company physician, an occupational psychologist and a safety officer, our health promotion activities within the company also include a health day, held twice a year, which we use to provide our employees with information on topics such as exercise, ergonomics, nutrition and psychology. Employees can also take a medical exam or receive biofeedback. Workshops on a diverse range of topics, such as reducing stress, conflict management and relaxation, are also offered in cooperation with the occupational psychologists.

We conduct annual appraisals with the aim of developing our employees’ skills and promoting their personal development. Targets are formulated and development and training requests are discussed along with more general development options. The range of individual measures offered in the form of individual and group training includes professional courses covering topics such as non-profit housing law and tenancy law, and personal development seminars based on the Process Communication Model®. In the reporting year, the focus of our management training was on measures to support the change process for the integration with Vonovia SE. The efforts we made in the past to train employees to take on management positions have paid off once again. We were able to fill virtually all new team and department head positions internally.

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