Taking care of the future and treading new paths

Deutsche Wohnen has “wohnen” (“reside”) in its name, but we are a company that has gone beyond the confines of classical residential property management. That applies to our commitment to offering nursing care that enables people to grow old in dignity, for example, or the competence we have built up in digital solutions for the property industry. Does that mean we are neglecting our core business? No, we work very hard to create and maintain housing, which is in short supply in many places. The reason for this didn’t change in the year under review: policymakers and public administrators did not do the necessary groundwork. It is neither the capital nor the skills that are lacking, but simply the willpower and the strength to take the necessary decisions.

A long time ago we took a decision that we are convinced is the right one: to think, plan, build and manage sustainably. Given the long lifecycle of a building, we have to anticipate the changing demands that will be made of housing in the decades ahead. One example: if you buy a product in the supermarket today, you can read what it contains in detail. We assume that this attitude will become standard for residential property too. So we take care to use environmentally friendly materials when we refurbish existing properties or build new housing – so that our properties will continue to meet the expectations of future generations.

Another topic that concerns us in this context is energy supplies, because the property sector has a vital role to play in meeting climate targets. Our main approach here is to use more efficient generation methods, and also to switch to more environmentally friendly sources of energy; from oil to natural gas, for instance. In one of our portfolios in Berlin, which is subject to a preservation order, we are currently planning an environmentally friendly district heating solution for 4,500 apartments. Our aim is to cut carbon emissions by 70% in the neighbourhoods that are connected to the system. At the same time we take care to ensure that our heating plants are embedded as well as possible into the existing fabric and character of the estate.

The necessary refurbishment measures are often a burden for the residents of the estates, because they cause noise, dust and also extra costs. So we try to communicate directly with our tenants, either in the context of tenant events or in personal meetings. We know we can rely on our dedicated staff to take the concerns of our residents on board and to agree with them on individual, acceptable solutions.

Sustainability in our business has also gained another facet: digitalisation. Here too, it is essentially about a more sustainable business. The digital management of our gardens and grounds makes more environmental protection possible. Digital controls for lifts, thermostats in the apartments or outside lighting save electricity. And not least, the planned digital logging and presentation of every individual apartment in our portfolio saves time and travel – also for visits by our customers.

I hope you enjoy reading our report.


Michael Zahn
Chief Executive Officer of
Deutsche Wohnen SE