Vonovia has opened the Energy Center of the Future (EZZ) in Weitmar, a Bochum suburb, where it will study advanced energy systems.
The project is completely funded by Vonovia’s own resources. North Rhine-Economy Westphalia’s Minister, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, praised Vonovia’s dedication and the newly constructed EZZ as a “significant contribution to a modern renewable energy strategy and climate security.”
These features would include an electrolyzer for producing hydrogen from electricity, as well as fuel cells and heat pumps, all of which will ensure that neighboring buildings and households can be supplied with at least 60% carbon-free heating on a self-sufficient basis, i.e. using decentralized energy. Vonovia generates 25% of the necessary electricity locally, using photovoltaic panels on the roofs of its buildings.
Simultaneously, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding a Vonovia research project in Weitmar, where scientists from various Fraunhofer Institutes, as well as Ampeers Energy GmbH, are creating a neighborhood focused on groundbreaking climate protection concepts.
It’s not just that Weitmar is close to Vonovia’s headquarters that the company has conducted two research projects there. Energy-efficient modernization and current technologies alone would not be enough to achieve or make commercially feasible a near-zero reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in buildings. As a result, Vonovia has agreed to bridge the gap through comprehensive research and technological advancement.
For residents, these projects would be completely free. Furthermore, if the tests are successful, Vonovia plans to extend the findings to all of its residential properties in Germany.
“It would be careless to lose sight of climate protection. It just can’t wait. This is why we’re carrying out research in Weitmar so we can find out how to make all our buildings climate-neutral by 2050. However, climate protection needs to be affordable for our tenants.”Rolf Buch, CEO of Vonovia
“With so many mid-20th century buildings, Weitmar in Bochum is an ideal pilot district, combining a wide range of technologies in innovative and intelligent ways with a view to reducing energy consumption and promoting sector coupling. It means that the energy supply of an urban neighborhood can be made ecologically and economically efficient. The project will also provide important stimuli for other neighborhoods, helping us to create a climate-friendly Ruhr Area.”Economics Minister Andreas Pinkwart