Sustainable Materials and Products
Using sustainable materials and products for construction, refurbishment and demolition work has an impact on the climate and the environment and is becoming increasingly important. Sustainable construction methods such as modular timber or hybrid methods have a lower energy consumption and reduced carbon emissions over their entire life cycle (see project box “850 Cubic Meters of Wood for Sustainable Construction“). We also use mineral wool for insulation, which has less of an impact on the environment than commonly used polystyrene-based insulation. It is also important that buildings can be broken back down into their original constituent parts so that these materials can be fed back into the circular economy. Timber structures that are held together with screws and joints perform very well in this regard. In early 2021, we took our next step forward in this area by becoming a partner of Madaster, an initiative developing a global registry of materials. The online platform functions as a library of materials. We use it to manage data about the materials that go into our properties and create material passports. These documents contain information about the quality, origin and location of the materials used in a particular building. They also provide an insight into the financial value of a building and its materials, while also giving users an indication of the value of these materials in the circular economy.
Raw materials in buildings are valuable resources that can be reused in various different ways. In the future, we therefore want to include the life cycle costs (production, operation, maintenance, refurbishment, reclamation) of components and products in the product manual and planning guidelines for procurement purposes. Our product manual for Germany and Austria will have a section on the circular economy. The product manual will also be made binding for our partners in these countries and form part of our contracts with them. As part of our Building Procurement Days, we run training workshops to inform our employees about the importance of sustainability in their day-to-day work and in the supply chain.
Vonovia is committed to using environmentally sound raw materials and production methods, as well as sustainable and recyclable construction materials. We also drive product innovation in these areas where necessary. Sustainability and cost-effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. We prioritize energy-efficient electrical equipment in all of our renovation and construction projects, and are working hard to use more products that are made from secondary raw materials. In response to the increasingly tight rules surrounding the disposal of materials, we avoid using hazardous or toxic substances from the outset. Whenever the disposal of hazardous or contaminated building materials requires careful professional handling, we expect all of our service providers to comply with applicable legislation and regulations, particularly those concerning health and safety and environmental protection. Our own employees also receive regular training on these subjects.