Green light for the »Sustainability Performance Center«

Climate change, resource scarcity, energy turnaround – these challenges of today’s society require sustainable solutions. Finding these solutions is the aim of the newly founded »Sustainability Performance Center«, consisting of the five Fraunhofer institutes of Freiburg, the University of Freiburg and industry partners.



The first six pilot projects were introduced on March 6th at the opening of the new performance center: They are dedicated to the further development of energy systems, sustainable materials, robust systems and the way society deals with local and global changes. With the project »SusLight«, Fraunhofer IAF, together with its partners, promotes a nationwide coverage of the resource-efficient LED technology.

How can we secure the future supply of our society with raw materials such as water, oil and land? How can we make sure that there will be enough electricity – both climate-neutral and affordable? How can we stop climate change and adapt to its effects? In order to develop solutions to these central issues, the five Freiburg Fraunhofer institutes and the University of Freiburg combine their competences in the »Sustainability Performance Center«. The performance center is funded with a 7.2 million budget for the first twelve pilot projects by the federal state Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Furthermore, partners from industry will support the research projects with six million Euros.

In interdisciplinary projects, natural and social scientists, as well as humanities scholars work together with companies in order to develop sustainable strategies which take technical, economic and ecological aspects into consideration. The first six pilot projects were presented by the project coordinators at the performance center’s Kick-off-event on March 6th in Freiburg. Among others, they aim to find a way to make use of the waste product CO2 as a raw material. Other scientists investigate how repair mechanisms found in nature can be applied to technical materials. Fraunhofer IAF coordinates the pilot project »SusLight« which aims to further spread the use of the energy efficient LED technology .

Compared to conventional light bulbs, LEDs use 85% less energy and consequently possess an enormous energy-saving potential. Therefore, they can not only reduce global energy requirements, but also lower costs for consumers. Nonetheless, the use of LEDs is not widespread yet. »Even though LEDs can help save money on the long run thanks to their energy efficiency and durability, many consumers decide against LEDs due to their high purchase prices« explains Dr. Michael Kunzer from Fraunhofer IAF. Therefore, scientists from Fraunhofer IAF and the Department of Microsystems Engineering of the University of Freiburg are working on the development of less expensive and even more efficient LED modules and LED drivers within the scope of the pilot project »SusLight«. The  Institute for Economic Theory and Finance, the Business Studies Seminar, as well as the Institute for Economic Research of the University of Freiburg contribute their economic and social expertise to the technical developments, in order to increase the market share and consumer acceptance of LED lighting.


LEDs will not only help to reduce our society’s energy requirements in  future, but their intelligent functions will also increase our well-being. The integration of »Smart Lighting« is part of the project: As one of the project partners, the Institute for Micro- and Information technology of the Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft (HSG-IMIT) is working on an automated LED control which is able to react to changes in its environment. »LED ceiling lights that automatically dim their light intensity when the sun is shining through the window and increase it again when the sun is covered by clouds could be realized with the help of intelligent sensor systems« explains Frank Kuhn from HSG-IMIT. Also LED street lights that automatically adjust to lighting needs of people passing by or home lighting installations which change colors according to what time of the day it is could be realized with intelligent LEDs in future.


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