Guide Resource Efficiency

There is a multitude of methods and tools that exist for different questions and problems and can be applied for the implementation of resource efficiency in the business. The Resource Efficiency Guide helps you to tackle resource efficiency measures in your business step by step and helps you to find the right method or tool for each step.

  • Brochures
The picture shows two men talking on their way through a warehouse. © PantherMedia / shock

Brief Analysis No. 33: Resource efficiency due to innovative recycling technologies and processes

Modern processes for recycling components and materials are an important block for improving the circularity of products. This brief analysis by VDI ZRE now presents new technologies for a resource-efficient circular economy.

  • Brief Analysis
The picture shows a conveyor belt on which waste is transported to the recycling plant. © PantherMedia / Romaset, VDI ZRE

ESTEM Final Report: Development of a Standardised Procedure for Determining the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Saved by Material Efficiency Measures

The ESTEM final report contains results of the environmental analysis, discussions in workshops with the professional public, information concerning the actual development of methods and particular case studies. The final report is supplemented by the Excel®-based ESTEM tool and an associated guideline.

  • Studies
Cover of the ESTEM final report © VDI ZRE, AdobeStock/MIND AND I, PantherMedia/cookelmar, VDI ZRE, VDI ZRE

Brief Analysis No. 17: Resource Efficiency in Lightweight Engineering

Lightweight construction is a prime example of demonstrating the potential of resource efficiency. Resource efficiency potentials in the utilisation phase of mobile products have already been investigated frequently and are widely known. In addition, the various lightweight engineering strategies and materials also offer opportunities for increasing resource efficiency in the production phase and in recycling and disposal.

  • Brief Analysis
Das Bild zeigt den Rohbau eines Autos vor einem weißen Hintergrund. © Space Frame des Mercedes-AMG GT

Brief Analysis No. 18: Resource Efficiency through Remanufacturing

Remanufacturing is a central measure for increasing resource efficiency. The material and energy expenditure for the manufacture of a product and the associated costs are lowered. Through remanufacturing the original high level of value added is retained and the dependence on import of critical raw materials is reduced. Remanufacturing as a key component of a circular economy is viewed as being the preferred option for closing material loops, particularly compared with recycling, and possesses a high resource efficiency potential.

  • Brief Analysis
The picture shows a close-up of a mechanism with a belt. Different gears mesh with each other. © Tomasz Zajda/

Brief Analysis No. 19: Resource efficiency through biomimetics

Biomimetics combines biology and technology in an interdisciplinary collaboration. It is an interdisciplinary field that is not limited to a research or industrial sector. The aim of biomimetics is to solve technical problems by abstraction, transfer and application of knowledge gained from biological models. Their application in the product development process as innovation method enables innovative technical solutions. These can give companies competitive advantages.

  • Brief Analysis
The image is divided into two parts. The left half shows the close-up of the vein structure of a leaf and the right half shows a structure similar to it, embossed in metal. © Ulrich Grunewald

Brief Analysis No. 20: Resource Efficiency through Product Development Measures

Product development has a fundamental influence on the resource efficiency of a product. Resource-conscious and forward-looking product development can significantly influence the use of materials and consequently the cost expenditure along the entire product life cycle. With regard to finite re-sources, it should be a pillar of the strategic orientation of the business.

  • Brief Analysis
The picture shows a metal component lying on a sketch of itself. © Jennewein Photo/

Brief Analysis No. 22: Resource Efficiency Potentials of Industrial Estates

The efficient use of energy, materials, water and space not only saves resources, but also costs for the purchase and disposal of waste, residual materials and wastewater, for example. The networking of companies in an industrial park or with the surrounding residential areas offers many opportunities to save resources. Residential areas in particular offer high efficiency potentials as heat consumers.

  • Brief Analysis
The picture shows an illustration of an industrial park. © VDI ZRE

Brief Analysis No. 23: Resource Efficiency in the Value Chain

Resource efficiency measures can be implemented at various points in the production process. The potentials are manifold. However, the increasingly complex networked production economy no longer requires only selective but also comprehensive resource efficiency measures, those that work across processes as well as across company and business boundaries.

  • Brief Analysis
The picture shows a drawing of many different gears meshing with each other. © nongkran_ch/

Brief Analysis No. 26: Deconstruction in Building Construction – Current Practice and Potential for Resource Conservation

More than half of the total German waste volume is accounted for by construction and demolition waste from the building industry. This is reason enough to include the demolition and dismantling of buildings in the planning of a building from the very beginning, in order to reduce the volume of waste and conserve natural resources. The brief analysis shows the current practice of demolishing buildings and describes the potential for resource conservation in the construction industry.

  • Brief Analysis
The picture shows a construction site where the shell of a house is being built. © Angelika Mettke

Brief Analysis No. 27: Resource efficiency in trade and logistics

Both the retail and logistics sectors consume large quantities of natural resources, especially raw materials and energy. The transport of goods plays a significant role in this, but so do other factors such as the construction and operation of retail. The aim of this brief analysis is to provide companies in the retail and logistics sectors with suggestions for resourceefficient business process design. The strategies, measures and practical examples presented here are also intended to help tap additional potential in terms of resource efficiency.

  • Brief Analysis
The picture shows a warehouse. © PantherMedia / perig76

Brief Analysis No. 29: New business models and resource efficiency

The worlds of business and industry have undergone some significant changes in recent years. Established institutions are being supplanted by competitors with completely new business models. Online lexicons are replacing encyclopaedias, the largest accommodation platform doesn’t own a single one of the properties it offers. New competitors with innovative business ideas are surging into the market, largely as a result of digitisation. Alongside the challenges of a world that continues to change at an ever-faster rate, these developments can present far-reaching opportunities when it comes to industry and resource efficiency.

  • Brief Analysis
The image shows a drawing of a light bulb and three blank Post-Its. © PantherMedia / trueffelpix

Ecological and economic Assessment of Resource Use: Water-miscible cooling Lubricants

Cooling lubricants (coolants) are of great importance in metal cutting and forming. They increase the productivity and cost-effectiveness of the processes. In companies in the metalworking industry, water-miscible cooling lubricants are used in around 90 % of machining processes. They consist of a mostly mineral oil-based base oil and an additive package.

  • Studies
Das Bild zeigt die Anwendung eines Kühlschmierstoffs an einer Produktionsmaschine. © Kadmy/

Resource Efficiency through Industry 4.0 – Potential for SMEs in the Manufacturing Sector

The digital transformation in industrial production offers considerable potential for increasing material and energy efficiency in companies. At the same time, the digitisation technologies used also require resources themselves: materials, including critical raw material, are used in the production of ICT components. Furthermore, the digital transformation can lead to higher energy consumption. The study "Resource efficiency through industry 4.0 - Potentials for SMEs in the manufacturing sector" focuses on this conflict between opportunities and challenges.

  • Studies
Das Bild zeigt eine Mindmap, in deren Mitte 4.0 zu lesen ist. An den Enden der Arme sind verschiedene Icons zu sehen, die für industrielle Produktion stehen. © VDI ZRE

Ecological and economical Assessment of Resource Use: Stationary Energy Storage Systems in industrial Production

Stationary energy storage systems are a necessary component of a future power supply system with high shares of renewable energies. Used in decentralized industrial applications, they help to increase resource efficiency while minimizing the costs of power supply. Storage solutions for the short to medium-term storage of electrical energy are therefore seen as a contribution to the success of the energy transition being driven forward in Germany.

  • Studies
The image shows a blue glowing battery sticking out of a sea of battery heads. © Cybrain/

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