Expert support of the project groups in sustainability issues: socio-economic and ecological assessment services

The r² integration and transfer project – specifically the Department Life Cycle Engineering in the Chair of Building Physics at the University of Stuttgart (LBP GaBi) and the Institute for Industrial Production (IIP) at the KIT – supports the individual project groups with services to analyse sustainability aspects, especially raw material and energy efficiency, socio-economic effects (for example, cost savings for companies; creating and preserving jobs) and ecological aspects. These were used to determine the influence of key variables on important sustainability indicators in a research project, for instance the type, amount and make-up of a material, energy or monetary flow.

The results obtained for each project were made available individually to the r² groups. They were shown as potentials and used as input to an aggregated assessment.

The methods applied were mainly material and energy flow analyses, investment and cost estimates and aspects of life cycle analyses in line with DIN ISO 14040 and 14044, described in detail in Albrecht et al. (2012), Brandstetter et al. (2012) and Ostertag et al. (2012). Operative support came from the GaBi database and software.

Based on the results of the analyses, the ecological and socio-economic benefits of newly developed technologies and processes could be shown quantitatively. Support in an early stage of the project helped to identify relevant key parameters early on and how to focus the project in a targeted way.

Within the scope of the ecological and socio-economic consultation, support was given to the joint projects in individual questions and in the overall implementation of an ecological and socio-economic analysis.