The road to climate-neutral

Today, Deutsche Wohnen already has one of the most eco-friendly portfolios in the industry. That’s as it should be – as the housing sector affects climate change, too. Deutsche Wohnen has set itself an ambitious goal: our portfolio should be near-climate-neutral less than two decades from now. The basis for this is our climate strategy – featuring efficient measures, implemented in a socially responsible way.

According to the German federal government’s plans, the nation should be climate-neutral by 2045. This past year, Deutsche Wohnen even has set its climate targets for the year 2040. We were driven by three key factors: first of all, the housing industry is one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide. Secondly, Deutsche Wohnen can rely on long-term, secure and predictable value creation. And thirdly, sustainable action has long been a part of our story and our day-to-day.

We had to develop a climate strategy that stood up to scrutiny in terms of its substance.

Jan-Ole Kosch
Head of Portfolio Management, Deutsche Wohnen SE

Step one: analysis

First of all, we asked – and answered – all kinds of questions: Where does the individual, already energy-efficient building stand today?  Where does the portfolio stand if buildings which are not yet refurbished are lifted to the same energy level in the next 20 years? How much CO2 needs to be saved to achieve our energy supply goals? And which technologies and energy sources can be used to make this happen? “We’re looking for the best solutions for each individual building,” explains Jan-Ole Kosch, Head of Portfolio Management at Deutsche Wohnen SE. “After all, just because something is technically feasible doesn’t mean that it is the best solution for us as a sustainable organisation acting in the long-term, or for our tenants,” adds Kosch.

According to the analysis, the fact that the organisation has already invested continually in building shells, smart home technology and energy-related upgrades for many years now is a key advantage in achieving our climate goal. In comparison to other property companies, Deutsche Wohnen already possesses an eco-friendly portfolio.

Energy production: the linchpin

New windows and insulated façades and roofs are one thing – energy supply and energy sources are another. At the heart of this analysis was the question of which energy mix takes us towards climate neutrality – i.e. less than 12 kg CO₂e per sqm by 2040. “It’s very difficult to say now which technologies and energy sources will shape the future. That’s why our climate roadmap is based on a mix of energy,” says Christian Pfeuffer. As Head of Energy Management at Deutsche Wohnen Technology GmbH, he is also part of the team that made a key contribution to the climate strategy. The energy mix ensures security of supply and flexibility. However, our own supply from solar power and thermal power stations is also in play. These are also an integral part of our climate strategy.

Gold status for new construction

Another focal point for Deutsche Wohnen is resource-efficient new construction – with high energy standards based on Gold status under the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) certification system. For new constructions, we are also aiming for the KfW55 standard, which is associated with 20% lower energy requirements, as measured by the current applicable German Energy Saving Ordinance [Energieeinsparverordnung – EnEV]. However, home automation also plays a major role and contributes to achieving climate neutrality. Accordingly, for instance, we allow our tenants to save energy through automated consumption control and to act in a more eco-friendly way using smart home solutions.

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A refurbished tower block in Gropiusstadt, Berlin

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The new construction project “Marienufer” in Köpenick, Berlin

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A new Elstal development using a modular timber construction method

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Decentralised energy supply from solar panel systems

Climate roadmap to 2040

All measures are aimed at minimising energy requirements in the portfolio and using the least CO2-intensive energy sources possible where such requirements are unavoidable. This will allow us to achieve a near-climate-neutral portfolio. In figures, that means we wish to reduce CO2 intensity from the current level of 33 kg CO2e per sqm to below 12 kg CO2e per sqm by 2040. This quantity of emissions is seen across the industry as the definitive target corridor for a near-climate-neutral portfolio.

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