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Serial refurbishment - a strong response to the refurbishment backlog in Germany

18 October 2022

Does Germany still have a chance to transform the real estate sector in terms of energy by 2050? With the right concepts and a spirited approach, yes! In this article, you will learn about the potential offered by serial refurbishment and how ENGIE Deutschland is contributing to the energy transition in the real estate sector.

Great need for renovation in Germany

Germany aims to be virtually climate-neutral by 2050 - and this applies not least to the building sector. This sector is (still) responsible for a third of Germany's CO2 emissions and represents one of the decisive levers for achieving the climate targets. A lot needs to happen in the real estate sector in the coming years - a lot. Germany has already missed its 2020 building targets and the need for renovation remains enormous. Around three quarters of the 22 million existing buildings in Germany need an energy makeover.

The enormous number of urgent refurbishments poses major challenges for housing companies in particular. Energy-efficient renovation measures require complex planning and high investment costs. At the same time, there is a lack of skilled workers and, on top of that, a shortage of building materials is making itself felt in many places. No wonder that the renovation rate is far too low.

But what can housing companies do? In fact, experts in the construction and energy industries are working on innovative concepts to advance the energy transition in the real estate sector. These will help housing companies to cope strategically, economically and successfully with the coming wave of refurbishment. One particularly promising principle is serial refurbishment.


Serial refurbishment - a modern concept for the building sector

Serial refurbishment, or serial building refurbishment, is a new process principle for the energy-related refurbishment of real estate. Instead of upgrading a building with individual components that are costly to produce, refurbishment is carried out with prefabricated standard elements. Heat pump modules as well as facade and roof elements, for example, can be cost-effectively prefabricated in series and delivered to construction sites. These elements can be assembled with significantly less effort, enabling the rapid and efficient complete refurbishment of buildings.

The advantages of the rehabilitation principle:

  • Reduction of time and organizational remediation effort
  • Ensuring high availability of components
  • Reduction of the share of laborious manual work
  • Optimization of the costs of refurbishment measures thanks to low-cost standard elements
  • Ensuring consistent rehabilitation quality through serial measures and components

Status quo: serial refurbishment in Germany

In fact, the method of serial refurbishment has already proven itself in practice. Originally, the idea came from the Netherlands. There, numerous single-family houses were successfully developed within a very short time using the method known as "Energiesprong". Other successful pilot projects have been carried out in Great Britain, among other places.

The German energy and real estate industry also has its eye on the concept. For example, the German Energy Agency (dena) is running a pilot project to adapt the Dutch process for the German market. The German government has also recognized the potential of the concept. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) recently supported the practical applicability of the principle with its "Promotion of Serial Refurbishment" program. As part of the program, numerous experts from the energy and real estate industries are helping to establish serial refurbishment in this country. Contributions include:

  • Feasibility studies on specific properties
  • Development of series solutions and remediation processes
  • Construction of production facilities for components

Creating knowledge for practice: ENGIE Deutschland supports serial refurbishment

As energy and building experts, we are also involved in the further development of the concept. We are currently conducting an innovative feasibility study in cooperation with the GWG Group real estate company. Together, we are creating new impetus for the successful implementation of future modernization projects. To this end, we want to provide valuable insights into the technical, economic and legal feasibility of serial refurbishment measures by the end of June 2023. The project is supported by federal funding of up to 75,000 euros.

Study details

The study is divided into two phases - a concept phase and an application phase. In the first step, we design a state-of-the-art refurbishment concept based on technical analyses. In particular, a scalable solution for heat distribution and ventilation is to be created that can be implemented with the help of serially manufactured elements. The concept is to go far beyond the eligible minimum energy efficiency requirements and serve as a model for future projects. To this end, we are subjecting it to an extensive practical test. In the second part of the study, we apply it to an only marginally



"To achieve a climate-neutral real estate stock in Germany by 2045, we need an application scheme that provides guidance for energy-efficient planning and modernization. Our serial refurbishment feasibility study lays the foundation for this."

Matthias Sommer, Sales Manager Real Estate at ENGIE Deutschland


ENGIE Deutschland - Your Partner for Efficiency in Real Estate

Housing companies are not left to their own devices when it comes to their refurbishment projects. As experienced innovators in the building sector, we support them with contemporary concepts. In addition to our commitment to serial refurbishment, we provide comprehensive advice on the strategic development of new neighborhoods. Innovative projects such as "The New Garden Field" (Das Neue Gartenfeld) are being created. Contact us now - together we will take the right steps towards 2050!



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Our Expert

Matthias Sommer
Matthias Sommer heads the Real Estate Sales department at ENGIE Deutschland GmbH and is project manager for the "Das Neue Gartenfeld" neighbourhood. The graduate engineer is committed to the strategic further development of offers for the residential and real estate industry towards C02-free energy supply.

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