More housing, more sustainability

Implementing energy efficiency upgrades for old apartments and building new apartments in a city suffering from a housing shortage, all in a socially acceptable way, sounds like just the right solution to the major challenges of our time. And this is precisely what is now being realised in Grellstraße in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin.

Grellstraße had a rather loveless start in life – it was simply called street 19 in the development plan. A section of the street was subsequently named after August Eduard Grell, a musician born in 1800 who, among other things, was director of Berlin’s Sing-Akademie. These days, Grellstraße is part of the highly popular and vibrant Prenzlauer Berg district. “The Deutsche Wohnen district suits the company’s portfolio in every way,” says David Weinert, Technical Project Management team leader at Deutsche Wohnen Construction and Facilities GmbH. “The modernisation project combines many aspects – energy efficiency upgrading, redensification and 1930s housing architecture.” What’s more, the district is in the heart of Berlin. With its refurbishment work and new builds, Deutsche Wohnen is playing an important part in the urban development and preservation of the Berlin boroughs. Here, too, Deutsche Wohnen is working closely with the borough and has accordingly concluded a cooperation agreement regarding the socially acceptable implementation of the measures. As such, a joint information event was held for the ensemble’s residents together with those involved on the part of the borough back in October 2017, long before the work began.

The Grellstraße district in figures

Year completed: 1937
Houses: 6 portfolio buildings, 2 new builds
Residential units: 253 portfolio and 111 new-build apartments
Investment volume: EUR 57.5 million
CO2 reduction: 914 tonnes per annum (83%)
Time frame: 2019–2022

All the tenants were offered talks at further on-site meetings, which were then held between October 2018 and February 2019. Here, the tenants’ individual questions could be answered and the measures were explained in detail. “Such comprehensive work represents an encroachment on people’s familiar environment, so communication based on trust is important,” says Lutz Reichert, Head of Commercial Project Management at Deutsche Wohnen Management GmbH, explaining the communications approach. “Seven of our team members listened to all of the tenants’ concerns with the aim of concluding a modernisation agreement with the tenants’ consent.”

Although the district doesn’t appear to be all that big, there is a great deal happening, focusing in particular on the refurbishment and modernisation of 253 portfolio apartments with a view to energy conservation. In addition, there will be 111 new apartments, 48 of which in the attics. The outdoor areas will also be redesigned and three new playgrounds will be created. A sustainable approach will be taken, as David Weinert reports: “In the area of new construction, we are creating a green roof that allows rainwater to evaporate while also offering very good insulation. There will be a photovoltaic system too and the attic conversions will feature timber frames.” And that’s not all, as district heating will be used in the future for heating via a centralised heating system with hot water generation. Importance is being attached to a better, more sustainable solution for windows as well – triple-glazed wood windows will be installed instead of plastic windows. The work is scheduled for completion in spring 2022. Important construction phases such as the new construction, attic conversion and the outdoor areas are scheduled to be completed in 2021.

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