Sufficiency, as a third sustainability strategy, focuses on consumer and user behaviour with the goal of decreased absolute resource and energy consumption. Ifeu explores and integrates this topic in a number of projects.

The term sufficiency derives from the Latin ‘sufficere’ and may be translated as ‘to be adequate’ or ‘enough’. Sufficiency is a sustainability strategy with a key focus on the question ‘How much do we need, and why?’ It is based on a personal and societal definition of the right measure, i.e. the balance between the satisfaction of existing needs and the consumption of resources, and associated negative environmental impacts. Sufficiency seeks a change in attitudes towards time, space, market, property, and existence. Thus, a resource-light, solidary, comfortable and future-proof lifestyle and business practice may be enabled, facilitated and encouraged.

Energy sufficiency

The optimised use of energy for technological applications in Germany has so far failed to produce a notable reduction of the absolute energy consumption. However, in addition to the use of renewable energy (consistence strategy), reduced consumption is essential to achieve the goals of the Energy Transition. The sufficiency strategy as a ‘cultural route’ seeks the limitation and long-term reduction of the absolute energy and resource consumption, and associated negative environmental impacts. Thus, energy sufficiency is a sustainability strategy that aims to limit or reduce the demand for energy supplied by technology through changes in technology use and other use aspects to a sustainable level.

ifeu seeks and explores approaches for energy-sufficient appliance design, alternatives for action and practice, and beneficial infrastructure to contribute to resource-light everyday life.

Sufficiency policy

To avoid placing the responsibility of realizing sufficiency solely on the individual, sufficiency principles should be enabled and promoted by policy measures, instruments and frameworks. Novel measures for wealth, investment in infrastructures promoting a sufficient lifestyle, and changes in the politics of competition and distribution are among the relevant framework measures. Food policy may be designed to prevent food waste and reduce meat consumption. Road speed limits and preferential funding of parking space for car sharing vehicles may render individual car transport less attractive and promote alternatives. However, to encourage and enable citizens to engage in a more sufficient lifestyle, a number of changes in labour, education, health, consumer, transport and economic policy are required.


Policy Workshop Sufficiency II

Better quality of life, less environmental consumption - Policy Workshop Sufficiency II

How can the monthly information on heating and hot water consumption be prepared for consumers in such a way that it is comprehensible and motivates them to adopt energy-saving behavior?

DETECTIVE - Energy saving by digitalisation

How much electricity and heat can be saved through digitalisation? What opportunities and risks arise for users and what is the acceptance and net environmental balance?

Energy efficiency of products

Appliances and installations consume energy when they are used: in the household, in the boiler room, but also in industry and commerce. EU eco-design and energy efficiency labels are drivers for…

Instrumentation options for energy consumption reduction through behavioural change

In climate protection scenarios, sufficiency measures and instruments are barely taken into account, despite the considerable energy saving potential of such measures. The aim of this project is…

LebensRäume (Living Spaces)

Due to an increase in living space per capita, living space is currently scarce in Germany, and not just in large cities. What options do municipalities have to support their residents in the search…

Individual climate action scenarios

Many citizens struggle to identify with the Federal Government goals for greenhouse gas reduction by 2050. They have difficulties to discern transparent courses of action for their everyday life…

Strategic development of the National Climate Action Initiative III

Future advances of the National Climate Protection Initiative should focus on the “100% climate protection” principle, including necessary funding initiatives.

Strategic development of the national climate protection initiative II

The Federal Environment Ministry’s National Climate Protection Initiative (NKI) encompasses a wide range of funding and support schemes designed to promote climate protection amongst the target groups…


Evaluation and monitoring of the funding scheme Energy Savings Meter

Energy savings meters are to take advantage of the trend towards digitalisation: final consumers can monitor their energy consumption with the help of digital measurement systems. Thus, savings…

Scientific analysis of the development of energy consumption and measures to improve product-related energy efficiency

In light of the energy goals of the Federal Government, it is imperative to substantially decrease the energy consumption of products along with other measures. The current project offers technical…

A roadmap for the energy transition

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has connected the individual strands of the energy transition to form a whole, creating interfaces and transitions in the form of a roadmap for the energy…

Strategies of the National Climate Initiative

The project analyses options to improve efficiency and climate protection in Germany in terms of the technical and economic potentials, the parties involved, the export prospects and political…