The research project ‘energy sufficiency’ explores strategies to reduce the consumption of energy in private households.

It complements two well established fields of energy research: works on energy efficiency focus on the optimisation of input-output relations by creating more effective appliances, whereas research on energy consistence concentrates on renewable resources. Both concepts however, must fail, as soon as the number and quality of appliances increase. Therefore, strategies of sustainability require research on sufficiency, which – aiming at the absolute reduction of energy use – questions everyday consumption routines.

In this project, the Design Research Lab invites communities of action to a participatory reflection of their individual needs and habits. Cultural probes will facilitate the research process with an enjoyable creative practice. On a more advanced level, participants will be sensitized to the development of new strategies and scenarios for alternative approaches of energy sufficiency.

Strategies of energy sufficiency will be analysed, generalized and evolved on the level of technical devices, consumer behaviour, and urban infrastructures and services. Several of the developed scenarios will be illustrated. In close collaboration with the ifeu – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg, the Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie and the Forschungsstelle Nachhaltigkeit und Klima, the approach will elaborate a general framework for a european, national and regional level and encourage the further dissemination and implementation of sufficiency strategies. This includes concrete proposals and instruments for political actors.


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