Instrumentation options for energy consumption reduction through behavioural change

Climate protection scenarios generally focus on policy instruments and measures that are either intended to increase the efficiency of appliances, systems, buildings and processes, or to develop and integrate renewable energies. Sufficiency, on the other hand, depends on changes in consumption and usage behaviour. Although sufficiency measures could open up significant energy saving potentials, they have not yet been systematically integrated into energy policy because they are still not sufficiently regarded as politically manageable variables which are in need of governance.

This research project takes an in-depth look at selected sufficiency measures and political instruments. The project quantifies potential energy and greenhouse gas savings and socio-economic effects, and discusses options for implementation with relevant stakeholders. It also examines the overall economic impact of sufficiency policies, along with the cultural and discursive environment in which they must be implemented and enforced.

The project differentiates between the potential for sufficiency policies in relation to the reduction of the per capita living space and electricity consumption in private households taking into account different target groups and obstacles. These are analysed and integrated into the approaches for the design of the instrument that are to be developed. The project will also address the issue of the reduction in working time by analysing this comprehensive macroeconomic approach for the promotion of sufficiency, as well as developing policies for this topic. An analysis of discourses and narratives on sufficiency policies facilitates a better understanding of the conditions for a discussion about them in politics and the enforcement. The ultimate aim of the project is to contribute to a broader political discussion of sufficiency policies by means of expert talks, stakeholder workshops and publications.


01/2017 – 12/2018


Federal Environmental Agency


Öko-Institut e.V.

Professor Viktor Steiner / FU Berlin

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