The digitalization of services is shifting energy flows from final consumers to the provision of these services and the required infrastructures. From an ecological perspective, the focus is on advantages such as process efficiency improvements through networking and dematerialization of goods and services. Where exactly do these shifts occur along the process chain? What are the ecological effects of digital networks in smart homes, smart mobility or online shopping when considering both visible and hidden energy consumption as well as the material basis of digitalization? How do energy efficiency improvements of digital technology correlate with growth rates in energy and material consumption and thus cause rebound effects? Moreover, what implications does this have for existing methods of analysis?
The engineering dissertation will team up with partners in practice to map digital process chains and integrate the evolving, interdisciplinary perspective on technology-application with other group members. The subsequent environmental evaluation will be carried out in relation to the energy and material consumption incurred.