DigiWoh and ROCKETHOME on Climate Protection & Digitalization

More and more companies are recognizing climate protection and sustainability as central fields of action - DigiWoh and ROCKETHOME in an interview.

More and more companies are recognizing climate protection and sustainability as key fields of action. But what does this mean in concrete terms for housing companies and what role does digitalization play in this?

In an interview with DigiWoh Director Arne Rajchowski and Rockethome CEO Yüksel Sirmasac, it becomes clear why climate protection and digitalization belong together. Read now.

Mr Rajchowski, DigiWoh has set itself the specific goal of promoting digitalization in the housing and real estate industry. Why do you see digitalization as the key success factor for the industry?

Arne Rajchowski: I would say it is not THE decisive success factor. It is an important and non-negotiable success factor. Digitalization is not a project or a phenomenon - it is a macroeconomic development that no one can escape. The exciting thing for the housing industry is that digitalization provides us with new methods and technologies that enable us to tackle challenges such as climate protection in a completely different way.

How do climate protection and digitalization go together for you, Mr Sirmasac?

Yüksel Sirmasac: I agree with Mr Rajchowski: we need to understand that digitalization is a building block of our way of life. It is simply part of it and is the means we use to make things more efficient, more attractive or simpler. Climate protection is one of, if not THE goal of our time. We need to find answers as to how we can achieve this goal and use all the means we have to do so. This also includes digital technologies.

Let's make it concrete. Our buildings are responsible for almost 40% of all CO2 emissions in Germany. Digitalization plays a key role in implementing the energy, transport and heating transition - and buildings are the central hub. Through digitalization, we can gain important insights into consumption data and uncover potential savings. We can then use this data and knowledge to control and optimize complex processes such as energy flows in the best possible way. This data transparency is also essential for meeting regulatory requirements and statutory regulations such as ESG, EED and GEIG. In addition, digitalization improves competitiveness by establishing new digital business models in the networking of real estate, energy and mobility with IoT services. End customers can also be motivated to save CO2 through digital incentive models in the living and working environment. The basis for this sustainable change in behavior is end-to-end transparency about the consumption of resources in the home and options to reduce this consumption by simple means.

Buildings should be almost climate-neutral by 2050. From a housing industry perspective, how realistic do you think it is to achieve this climate policy target and where do you see potential?

Arne Rajchowski: For me, unfortunately, it's not a question of realistic or not. It is not a negotiable goal, but a necessity. Climate developments do not negotiate time, costs and project duration with us. The key word here is irreversibility.

Perhaps this goal will lead to a move away from traditional approaches such as insulating buildings and towards other technologies and methods. Let's start with modern analytics to record the entire building system in terms of data and make decisions on this basis.

Smart products and services must meet the requirements of the housing industry. How can this be achieved?

Arne Rajchowski: Quite simply. You have to solve problems for the housing industry, employees and tenants. No housing company has a smart service or cloud AI problem. The problem is perhaps that employees never know whether the tradesperson was on site or not and what they did. Smart means intelligent and digital - we need products like this.

Yüksel Sirmasac: This is possible when housing companies start to think creatively about digitalization and climate protection. Smart and successful products are not developed for the housing industry, but with it. This is exactly where DigiWoh comes in and creates a space in which housing companies can develop ideas together with digitalization experts and climate experts. Everyone involved has expertise in their field. This needs to be brought together.

Moreover, such models only succeed if the end customer is involved in the overall construct. We talk a lot about energy visualization. To be honest, energy consumption alone is boring for most people. You have to put it in the context of your personal carbon footprint and use it intelligently. But if we use the data intelligently to keep homes warm when heat is needed and save costs and CO2 at the same time, everyone recognizes the value in that.

What information about a building is necessary in the context of climate protection?

Yüksel Sirmasac: A building is considered to be operated in a climate-neutral manner if it can demonstrate a balanced CO2 balance for one year. The direct CO2 emissions from energy generation are measured, i.e. direct consumption data for electricity, heat and water, as well as indirect CO2 emissions resulting from the provision of grid electricity. However, avoided CO2 emissions are also included in the balance. These include climate-friendly products and services for generating electricity from renewable energies - PV systems, tenant electricity models... We therefore primarily see building emissions from energy consumption as the data basis for climate protection. We can display such information visually with a climate dashboard for buildings, neighborhoods or apartments. Information on public transport timetables in the building can also be displayed there. In this context, I also consider this to be important information in terms of climate protection.

Socially responsible climate protection is an important aspect of successful change. To what extent can digitalization contribute to social sustainability?

Arne Rajchowski: One example - I receive my utility bill a year after I have incurred the costs. With a high risk of additional payments and no opportunity to intervene. With a modern solution such as a flat rate or a permanent review of the actual costs with the advance payment, we could make payment risks more transparent. More shared facilities in buildings can also help to save individual costs, and digitalization enables access to these facilities and participation.

In your opinion, which aspects are still too rarely addressed?

Arne Rajchowski : In the context of digitalization and the housing industry, the aspect of buildings is absolutely neglected. Terms such as smart home or living focus too much on the tenant, on the apartment. However, the building is exciting. Operating costs and ancillary costs are incurred for a building as a whole. We integrate modern energy concepts or metering solutions into a building. The building stock should become climate-neutral. The aspect of digital buildings is still rare for me.

Yüksel Sirmasac: From a PropTech perspective, holistic building networking forms the basis of our value proposition. That's why we actually continue to try to integrate the tenant more actively into the overall process. Of course, the tenant should not be used as an argument for digitalization. However, tenants must be offered options for action and incentives so that the digitalization concept works. What use are energy concepts or e-mobility solutions if the end user is not actively involved? That's why we rely on energy transparency solutions for operators and tenants, for example. We also try to engage tenants with gamification. With data-based challenges and climate traffic lights, we address the user personally and can encourage the necessary changes in behavior with a bit of fun. This approach can also be applied to the entire building or neighborhood.

How must the market continue to develop in order to make smart living fit for the future?

Yüksel Sirmasac: The question is what you mean by smart living. For me, it's technology that can make climate protection possible, but also new and fairer living concepts. The demand for both is increasing. As technology providers, we just need to make it clearer how smart technologies can help. However, the market is developing in the right direction, both in terms of supply and demand. Politicians can now play their part in accelerating the whole process by providing more support for forward-looking districts. After all, costs are also incurred here. Housing companies and tenants must not be left to fend for themselves. If politicians want climate protection, they must invest.

How can cooperation between the housing industry and PropTechs be promoted?

Arne Rajchowski: We need more projects. I also find the idea that there are specific support options for housing companies to implement projects with PropTechs very exciting. Hubitation from Frankfurt is already taking this approach - and now we are expanding the idea to include the X factor and enabling even more housing companies to participate.

Yüksel Sirmasac: The key to successful collaboration is a partnership of equals. Both sides bring valuable know-how and experience, which together make forward-looking projects possible. For innovation, we always need a willingness to take risks and trust in a positive error culture. Learning also means making mistakes. Agile development processes allow us to try out new things and push boundaries. This allows us to react flexibly and achieve a fast time-to-market. Successful partnerships are promoted by platforms such as DigiWoh, which encourage exchange and bring together companies that are motivated to break new ground and are hands-on.

Invitation to the second workshop "Climate protection and digitalization"

The follow-up to the "Climate protection and digitalization" working group will take place on 22 September. In the workshop, the climate dashboard from the housing industry, which was created in cooperation with DigiWoh member ROCKETHOME, will be further developed through feedback rounds. The future topics of the working group will also be determined.

When September 22, 2021, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Where For members virtually in the DigiWoh

Posted on
Newsletter registration
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Energy transition in residential complexes - the example of Remseck

The Remseck am Neckarstrand construction project combines sustainable construction methods with the ROCKETHOME energy management system to enable an ecological and energy-saving lifestyle.

Learn more

More Press Release