Real estate developer STRABAG Real Estate relies on its own "Innovation Management" to drive sustainable project development - short interview with Simone Walser, Head of Innovation Management.
Everyone is talking about sustainability. Where specifically is there still potential for improvement in the real estate industry?
Buildings account for around 40 per cent of total energy consumption and around 36 per cent of associated greenhouse gas emissions in the EU - both in the construction and use phases. As STRABAG Real Estate, we already ensure in the design phase that our projects require as little energy as possible during construction and in subsequent operation, or even generate as little energy as possible. Through well thought-out planning and the use of energy-efficient materials and technologies, we are already developing neighbourhoods that actively contribute to climate protection. Ideally, the demand is covered by renewable energy sources and even excess energy is fed into the power grid.
How does SRE implement sustainability in project development?
Our actions are dominated by three megatrends: Sustainability, individualisation and digitalisation. As a real estate developer, we have to respond to all three. In the development of real estate, we are driven by the question of the balance between high-tech and supposedly low-tech, as well as the share that digitalisation can contribute to sustainability. How smart does a building have to be? Where does digitalisation benefit and where can a return to building tradition bring advantages?
What does a company's own innovation team do?
A lot has happened in the field of sustainability in recent years - new technologies, sustainable building materials and digital solutions have been developed and used in project development. In order to be able to offer our customers sustainable and future-proof products, my innovation team and I work together with experts at 18 premises to find optimal solutions. We take into account all possible sustainable aspects and measures as early as the planning stage and consider the entire life cycle of a building. In the process, we also examine appropriate measures such as new building materials, degradable materials, problem-free recycling or revitalisation. The team works according to the Future Dialogue concept. With the network, we want to promote the exchange of knowledge, identify future trends, build a learning organisation and further develop the culture of innovation.
What sustainable projects are currently in progress?
There are many. Particularly noteworthy is our office property SILO Plus, which has just been sold. Building component activation, photovoltaic system and numerous other measures ensure minimal operating costs. In the Taborama residential tower, sheep's wool was used as interior insulation, and in Leystraße a large research project with CO²-reduced concrete is currently underway. The plus-energy quarter "CAMPO Breitenlee" is currently being built in Podhagskygasse, which produces more energy than it consumes.