Three brands, three managing directors and one interview: Green Horizons

5 min read

Growing a business successfully requires a clear vision of the future. Being able to prepare for coming developments, drive product innovations and recognise the trends of tomorrow today are all key to this. The same is true of our three brands. The BERÜHRUNGSPUNKTE editorial team spoke to managing directors Dominik Marte, Lubert Winnecken and Karsten Müller to find out more about their outlook for the future, how they view sustainability and what they think the future has in store for the architecture industry. They also share their visions of their dream house of the future.

Dominik Marte (Gira), Lubert Winnecken (KEUCO) and Karsten Müller (TRILUX) (left to right) speak about the challenges and opportunities of the future.

How does your company view the issue of sustainability?

Karsten Müller (TRILUX): Handling resources and the environment with care is part of our DNA and a no-brainer from a business point of view. Everything we do in every part of our organisation is geared towards this and we were doing so well before both society and legislators began demanding environmental protection measures. Our production facilities in Germany are due to become carbon neutral as soon as 2025.

Dominik Marte (Gira): Sustainability plays a big role at Gira too. We have developed a climate roadmap that goes up to the year 2050 and demonstrates our commitment to the United Nations’ 1.5 degree goal. We carefully monitor our progress towards achieving the carbon reduction goals in our climate plan, using a scientifically backed method. On top of this, our products are made to last and can withstand decades of use.

Lubert Winnecken (KEUCO): It is important to us to respect our planet’s limitations and work within them. Our commitment to climate protection is central to this, alongside our other major sustainability goals like increasing resource efficiency, protecting water and our social responsibility. Our sustainability report gives the public transparent information on our position.

“It’s important to us to 
discover bathroom users’ 
individual needs and increase
the comfort factor here. 
That is what we work on 
every day.”

Lubert Winnecken 
Managing Director of KEUCO

What makes your products particularly sustainable or efficient in their use of water or energy? 

Lubert Winnecken (KEUCO): We always design our products according to the principles of minimalism and the optimum use of material. We also make sure that they use as little water or energy as possible. Our PLAN blue fittings, for example, are particularly efficient. The flow limiter on the washbasin fitting lets users reduce water usage to five litres per minute, which also saves energy.  

Karsten Müller (TRILUX): Saving energy is the name of the game at TRILUX too. Our lights use the latest LED technology, which saves an enormous amount of energy. We achieve even greater energy and cost savings by combining these with smart functions that provide light only where it is needed. The lights’ casings are made using only pure plastic or steel to make them reusable and recyclable.  

Dominik Marte (Gira): Our Smart Home and Smart Building products make saving energy easy, while our KNX products can be updated to ensure sustainability over the long-term. Taking the building’s entire life cycle into account like this is particularly important to us.

The Gira HomeServer has been used as an on-board computer for intelligent buildings for 25 years.
Saving water and energy with the washbasin fittings.
A modular design and fully replaceable/ recyclable, including the LED circuit board

What makes your products fit for the future?

Dominik Marte (Gira): A Gira Smart Home or Gira Smart Building is a future-proof investment that delivers peace of mind for the long term. We at Gira stand for durable materials, high quality and timeless design. Our KNX standard makes our systems open and expandable as well. 

Lubert Winnecken (KEUCO): We too create products that prove themselves every day for years on end and stand the test of time. We also aim to meet important sustainability criteria during production, so that the products can be fed back into the cycle.

Karsten Müller (TRILUX): We even helped to develop a cyclical concept for recyclable products as part of the Sumatra project supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. This is of great benefit to the entire industry. Our products also use the latest LED technology. This is what being fit for the future means to us.

“For us, sustainability is also 
about being fit for the future.”

Dominik Marte 
Managing Director of Gira

What influence do your start-up collaborations have on the development of your business and products?

Dominik Marte (Gira): Working with start-ups and investing in independent subsidiaries like ISE Oldenburg opens us up to new ideas and innovations that in turn make us more innovative. In return, we provide the resources of a technology company with 119 years of history.

Karsten Müller (TRILUX): Exactly. As an established business in the international lighting market, we are delighted to help start-ups gain a foothold. We benefit from fresh ideas that make us more innovative. It’s a perfect win-win scenario. 

How do you see the worlds of home and work changing in future, and what trends do you see in the industry?

Karsten Müller (TRILUX): The workplace is becoming more homely. We are seeing increasing demand for “feel-good” lighting. Human-centric lighting will also play an increasingly important role, as it simulates daylight in indoor environments. In an era of working from home and working from anywhere, this can motivate workers to return to the office. 

Dominik Marte (Gira): Given how the worlds of home and work are becoming ever more intertwined, we foresee rising demand too for flexible, multifunctional spaces. Awareness of climate change and environmental protection is another trend. The issue of security will also play an ever greater role. In this regard, we already rely on the most stringent security standard: KNX Secure. 

Lubert Winnecken (KEUCO): Bathrooms will also undergo change. The basic needs and expectations will remain, but customers will become more discerning when it comes to health, aesthetics and comfort. Given the demographic changes in society, we develop products that help older people stay independent for as long as possible. We are also working on aesthetic bathroom products with a modular design, which is another important issue going forwards. 

“Handling resources and the environment with care is part of our DNA at TRILUX, and a no-brainer from a business point of view.”

Karsten Müller
Managing Director of TRILUX

Is sustainability important in your everyday lives too?

Lubert Winnecken (KEUCO): Absolutely! When buying household appliances, we always look for low water and energy consumption values. Our home has an independent water supply, which makes us self-sufficient. The same is true of our energy generation. Lots of small measures can have a big impact. 

Dominik Marte (Gira): That’s true. We pay particular attention to our meat consumption, the quality and origin of our food, and eating regionally. In my work life, I have really cut back on flying and travel by train instead. For last five years or so, I’ve also been working completely paperless. I’m really pleased with the options that today’s digital technology provides. 

Karsten Müller (TRILUX): Sustainability is very important to me as well. I use renewable energy and recently installed solar panels on my home. I’ve already registered for a heat pump as well. Aside from this, all the lights are LED. I also use public transport more for work. 

How do you envisage your dream home of the future?

Lubert Winnecken (KEUCO): My dream home of the future would be in the Münsterland region in western Germany, surrounded by nature. Spacious and self-sufficient in energy, with plenty of room for friends and family. It is designed as a modern interpretation of traditional regional architecture, surrounded by a large terrace. It uses typical materials like Westphalian brick, wood, concrete and natural stone to create an authentic atmosphere. 

Dominik Marte (Gira): I would like a spacious house for our family of five that offers room for guests and hobbies. An older building, lovingly restored with sustainable materials like timber windows and clay. It is surrounded by an extensive garden with a lake at the end. 

Karsten Müller (TRILUX): My dream for my wife and I would be a modern Alpine house, around 150 square metres in size, built around a wooden core. The façade consists of floor-height windows clad with vertical wooden beams. It has a sunken flat roof that collects rainwater for us to use. The house also has a large balcony and spacious, south-facing terrace. I’d like to have solar-active window elements too for generating energy. 

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