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The Social housing projects in Erlangen , Source: European Investment Bank

Erlangen pushes for climate goals with high-standard, energy-efficient social housing

Erlangen pushes for climate goals with high-standard, energy-efficient social housing

A new project will involve financing from the European Investment Bank and hopefully lead to calming of the rental market

On Monday, the municipal social housing association GEWOBAU in Erlangen, Germany, announced the construction of 442 social and affordable housing units, as well as the retrofitting of an additional 564 existing units. Both will comply with Germany’s highest energy efficiency standards.

The project will be financed by the European Investment Bank to the tune of 75 million euros and greatly alleviate the housing pressure that has been building up in a rapidly expanding town. Furthermore, the programmer for constructing high-efficiency affordable housing is unique in Germany and it reflects local authorities’ commitment to thinking in future terms.

A town with ambition

Erlangen is the second most expensive city (after Munich) when it comes to renting in Bavaria. It is also the seat of one of the largest Siemens offices in the world, employing 23,000 people.

The local university, founded in 1743, also attracts considerable amounts of students from across the world. Furthermore, the city’s population has grown considerably in the last 40 years and it continues to rise. All these factors contribute to a rent increase similar to many German cities.

The municipal housing association GEWOBAU Erlangen, however, wants to take back control over the city’s main resource – housing, and curb the spike. They want to offer citizens affordable and eco-friendly options as the city strives to reach its carbon neutrality goals.

Housing is on the agenda

GEWOBAU Erlangen is one of the oldest and largest housing associations in Bavaria, with a portfolio of 8,500 homes. According to the company, one in every five people in the city finds their home through GEWOBAU. On the other hand, their mission is to provide affordable and social housing for the population and through sheer numbers, they play a significant role in the city’s future.

The new 442 housing units will meet the highest energy efficiency standards in Germany. 63% of the homes will be classified as social housing, while the rest will be defined as affordable housing. As a reference, the income threshold of eligibility for affordable housing in Bavaria is 34,500 euros per year for a two-person household.

Additionally, GEWOBAU will refurbish 564 existing units to make them more energy-efficient. It will also acquire further 126 new social housing units in existing buildings.

The project aims to promote social inclusion, as well as focus attention on housing energy efficiency as a road to reach climate neutrality goals in the city by 2030.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle praised the project as a collaboration showing the way for affordable housing and energy efficiency while helping the sustainable growth of a city. He continued by explaining that energy efficiency does not have to be equivalent to high rents.

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