Interview with Andreas Wende – sustainability in the real estate industry

Today more than ever, companies are required to act responsibly – towards society, their clients, their own employees and the environment. This interview with Andreas Wende, Head of Sustainability at Mobimo, discusses the importance of sustainability in the real estate industry, Mobimo's goals and measures, and how these are being implemented in the Oberägeri project.

02. May 2024

What goals has Mobimo set for itself? What has Mobimo done in terms of sustainability, and where are you now?

In all the things we do today, we ask ourselves: what contribution can we make as a company to becoming more sustainable?

In 2021, Mobimo set itself ambitious new CO2 reduction targets to be met by 2050. It goes without saying for us that, for example, our new buildings are environmentally certified and that we consider sustainable operation and electric charging points right from the outset. We are also investing in our property portfolio. The replacement of conventional heating systems and energy-related renovations are particularly important here.

We will also continue to focus on social aspects, by which we mean in particular high-quality living environments that promote the health, well-being and safety of our customers and employees.

What role does sustainability play in customer requirements? How do you see the link between quality and sustainability?

Mobimo owns and develops properties in prime locations, meaning that customers have correspondingly high expectations of our products. In addition to traditional quality features such as functionality and architecture, these also include “sustainability features” such as energy efficiency, mobility and materials. In this sense, sustainability is part of an extended quality promise.

What aspects of sustainability have you been able to implement in the Oberägeri project?

The Oberägeri project uses lake water from Lake Aegeri to provide almost CO2-neutral heating and cooling for the apartments. Only appliances with the highest energy efficiency ratings and LED lighting are used. Energy efficiency is assured by the Minergie certificate. The building’s own photovoltaic system generates CO2-neutral electricity, and the entrance hall is equipped to connect to electric charging stations. The high-quality architecture, well-thought-out and attractive floor plans, spacious terraces and seating areas, communal open spaces and green areas, and breathtaking views all combine to create high-quality living space for our clients.

Can you explain how you use lake water for heating and cooling?

A lake water catchment system is used to generate energy from Lake Aegeri. The water is taken from the lake at a depth of 22 metres below the mean water level and pumped to the underground lake water centre (plot 23), where its heat or cold is extracted via a plate heat exchanger. It is then returned to the lake via the return pipe. Heat energy is extracted from Lake Aegeri during the winter, and heat energy is returned to the lake in the summer. Mobimo realised the plant. The municipalities of Unterägeri and Oberägeri are the future owners and operators of this combined heat and power plant. The individual buildings in the Mobimo development are not supplied with lake water, but with a water/ethanol mixture that is supplied via the plate heat exchangers with the heat/cold previously extracted from the lake water.

How do residents benefit from their own photovoltaic (PV) system?

Each of the ten buildings has its own PV system. As members of an own-consumption association (ZEV), the residents of a building can collectively use the electricity produced by the building’s own PV system and benefit from lower electricity costs. For example, communal areas, underground garages, building services systems and electric charging stations can be supplied with the electricity generated on site in a cost-effective and CO2-neutral manner, and surplus electricity can be sold to the grid operator. The ZEV participants have a shared grid connection and constitute a single customer in dealings with the grid operator. The community bills the electricity costs independently via an external billing manager and benefits from the low-cost, sustainable electricity.

Why are common sustainability goals important?

We firmly believe that great progress can only be made if everyone understands the meaning of our sustainability goals and our fundamental attitude. By “everyone” we mean our partners and customers, but above all our employees. Our aim is for all our employees not only to understand and live sustainability, but also to put their heart and soul into ensuring that the processes and products for which they are responsible are sustainable.

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