Environment and Climate
Vonovia influences the local climate and the ecological environment of the buildings through the construction of new apartments and the management of its portfolio. We want to ensure that this influence is benign by aligning residential developments with the needs of the climate and the environment. Among other things, we focus on protecting flora and fauna. In the long term, we want to develop and revitalize biodiversity in the residential environment, contribute to species conservation and increase the satisfaction of our tenants. We believe that the size of our portfolio and the surrounding green spaces put us in a position to act as a role model and drive the creation of landscapes inspired by and close to nature.
14 million m2
of lawn area
green areas in new construction projects
When designing our residential environments, we find a balance between what is ecologically valuable and what is economically sensible. We take care to choose appropriate measures, such as landscaping, planting trees, installing nesting boxes, creating urban meadows and making sure there are suitable habitats for insects. We use forward-looking plans to ensure that aspects such as maintenance and potential future changes in climatic conditions are taken into account.
We often actively involve our tenants in order to raise their awareness of ecological issues, e.g. by landscaping common areas to make them close to nature or setting set aside spaces that can be used for urban gardening. In the ERntelAA project in Vienna, for example, (see Sustainable Construction and Refurbishment), we put up information panels to tell our tenants about the nesting boxes for endangered species of birds and insect hotels. Our customer magazine keeps our tenants informed about ecological projects and give them tips on how they can get involved themselves.
So far, we have created 120 tenant gardens in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the coming years, we anticipate a significant expansion of this scheme (see project box "Let’s head to the garden!") to more than 1,000 tenant gardens in Germany.
of tenant garden scheme planned
We set ourselves the target in 2019 of creating 100,000 m2 of wildflower meadows and 100 insect habitats by the end of 2020. We have almost completely achieved this goal. We ran a pilot project in Leipzig with an expert from the nature conservancy association NABU – Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V. – to develop a prototype for an ecologically valuable insect habitat. This meets the quality requirements of NABU and has been classified by them as ecologically recommendable. This enabled us to draw up quality criteria for insect habitats for inclusion in our product manual. We can now refer to well-founded, high-quality expertise and product standards in our future projects. A 3,000 m2 habitat for wild bees was created in Leipzig in the course of the project. Tenants were involved in the process with letters, flyers, videos and a website.
of over 250 insect habitats and nearly
100,000 m2 of wildflower meadows in 2020
Over 30 projects have been completed or are being developed nationwide on the basis of our cooperation with NABU in locations including Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Osnabrück and the Ruhr valley. In addition to converting 96,400 square meters of general purpose lawns into wildflower meadows, we have created more than 250 insect habitats and installed over 500 nesting boxes for swifts and bats. The NABU experts also recommended site-specific seed mixtures for the 22 different geographic areas in Germany. We will continue along this path in 2021, and intend to add another activity to our partnership. In addition to expanding the use of nesting aids, joint workshops will be held. We will develop further habitats such as hibernation sites for hedgehogs and deadwood habitats with roof vegetation in partnership with the experts from NABU and test them in our neighborhoods.
An ecological nature trail is being created at Vonovia’s headquarters in Bochum, which will use modern media to communicate the knowledge gained to employees and visitors.
In the community development in Bochum-Weitmar, NABU experts support the implementation of measures to increase biodiversity.
for insect habitat developed with NABU
and included in the project manual
We launched a partnership with the non-profit organization Ackerdemia e. V. in 2020 and are supporting the “Gemüseakademie” project, which uses vacant land on the grounds of schools and other educational establishments to grow fruit and vegetables. This gives children a chance to find out about plants and gardening. We will use other projects like “Bohnenabenteuer” and “Ackerhelden” to make the residents of our neighborhoods more aware of biodiversity.
Other projects in 2020 included creating artificial habitats for bats, birds and hedgehogs, planting more native and climate-resistant trees and shrubs (and including them in our product manual), and converting more grass areas into more varied and ecologically viable habitats for small creatures of all kinds.