Energy in transition – experts in conversation

Socially responsible climate action in the property sector is feasible – this was the general thrust of discussions at a conference where Deutsche Wohnen discussed its concept with representatives from the world of politics, business and research.

The consequences of climate change are already tangible – that is clear to all experts who took part in the conference. There is a need for urgent action to avoid “tipping points” such as the desertification of rainforests or melting of the polar ice caps. In his keynote speech to the conference, Prof. Dr Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency, was emphatic that the housing sector must make a major contribution to this, too. The reasons are clear: after all, this sector is responsible for 35 % of final energy consumption and around 30 % of CO2 emissions.

Deutsche Wohnen’s concept is a proposal for how to drive climate action in the housing sector. A prerequisite for this is resolving the dilemma between climate action and living costs. The financing model for energy-related refurbishment creates incentives for landlords and homeowners and eases the burden on tenants through the Energy and Climate Fund.

“The dilemma between climate action and living costs can be resolved, as our concept for socially responsible climate action shows.”

Michael Zahn
Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Wohnen

This idea was confirmed by the scientific assessment of the Deutsche Wohnen concept, whose core findings were presented at the event by Prof. Dr Michael Voigtländer, property expert at the Cologne-based German Economic Institute. In his speech, he also reminded attendees that old buildings requiring refurbishment are often occupied by people on low incomes.

“It must be possible to bring together the interests of tenants and landlords – with an instrument that sensibly combines climate action, economic viability and social responsibility.”

Prof. Dr Michael Voigtländer, Head of Finance and Property Markets at the German Economic Institute (IW)

This issue was then discussed in depth at a round table. Joining Michael Zahn and Professor Michael Voigtländer on the panel were Dr Jan-Marco Luczak (Member of Parliament, CDU), Christian Kühn (Member of Parliament, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Sabine Nallinger (Managing Director Stiftung 2°) and Michael Lowak (CEO of Real Estate Segment, GETEC Group).

In summary: there is agreement that the long-overlooked property sector finally needs to proactively do something to reduce emissions and meet climate policy targets. And the experts believed the Deutsche Wohnen model to be an interesting approach to driving climate action in the property sector in a socially responsible way while taking account of joint responsibility.

“Of course, we feel bound by the Paris climate targets. By 2050, we want to have climate-neutral housing stock.”

Dr Jan-Marco Lucak, Member of Parliament, spokesperson for legal affairs and consumer protection, CDU/CSU parliamentary group

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