The TRIPLE BENEFIT PRINCIPLE: A doctor’s view on CO2

Read an abstract on a methodology to reduce greenhous gas production rapidly and to move towards a sustainable life-style. Following the principle you have the chance to reach your energy break even point in a few years.



The Triple Benefit Principle is a methodology combining several strategies and logistics in order to reduce GHG production rapidly and to promote transition into a renewable energy era.

After early initiatives in 1983 to change oil heating for biomass heating,

in 1996, working as a rural community physician with a need of high mobility, I started to develop logistics for daily life, leisure time and holiday mobility which allowed to avoid car and plane use in most cases and to do almost all business and leisure travel by using a specially arranged bicycle or by combining bicycle and train travel.

In the beginning it was not easy, working as a general practitioner in a rural area, 19 km away from the nearest railway station. And I am used to travel about 30.000 km per year, till 1995 mainly by car.

However I learned to modify my lifestyle in a way that enabled me to manage over 90% of my 30.000 km mobility without car. The new logistics allow me now to cover 10.000 to 14.000 km by bicycle, another 14.000 to 15.000 by train and only remaining 1.500 to 2.000 km by hybrid car, which I use for emergencies. This is step 1 of the triple benefit. It reduced my carbon footprint or GHG emissions resulting from mobility from grossly 7 ½ tons to about ½ ton of CO2-equivalents per year.

As a second step I started investing my annual savings of € 3.000 to 6.000, which result from avoiding car use, first into minimizing fossil energy use in my home, but secondly into the production of low emission electricity produced by wind, small water power and photovoltaic. Year by year my renewable energy production went growing. After 15 years of investment I produce roughly 400.000 kWh of clean electricity. This is about 8 times the annual gross energy consumption of an average Austrian citizen.

The Triple Benefit Principle is NOT following the strategy of oil companies to sell as much oil as possible and to invest the PROFIT in green energy in order to continue business in the sustainable energy branch in the time after oil. At the contrary: The Triple Benefit Principle tries to reduce oil burning in cars, homes and industry to a minimum and to invest SAVINGS into renewable energy production.

A third positive effect is the improvement of health. The WHO-tool “HEAT for Cycling” allows calculating the economic benefit for health. Statistically, Austrian cyclists save every year 412 lives and 405 million Euros of health and economical cost through the simple fact of improving their own and others’ health by daily cycling. This effect can be multiplied.


Following the Triple Benefit Principle, within some years every citizen can reach the point in which he produces more renewable energy than the amount of gross energy consumption of an average citizen including all infrastructures. I call this the personal energy turning point. The more citizens participate, the faster the process of “transition” will occur.


Special workshops with teaching materials (MOBILITY, Iso-emission-cubes) are being held in several countries in order to train people to change their mobility habits and to facilitate the implementation of the Triple Benefit Principle.

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Short Abstract in German:


Das Prinzip der dreifachen Entlastung



Das Prinzip der dreifachen Entlastung ist ein ärztlicher Ansatz, um die Energiewende, also den nötigen Ausstieg aus fossiler Energie möglichst rasch zu erreichen und gleichzeitig die Gesundheit der Bevölkerung in den Industrieländern zu verbessern. Es basiert auf jahrezehntelanger Erfahrung des Verfassers in Selbstversuchen und in zahlreichen Projekten

Es besteht aus drei Schritten:

1) Arbeit, Wohnen, Einkäufe und Freizeitgestaltung so zu organisieren, dass möglichst alle Wege mit dem Fahrrad oder zu Fuß erledigt werden können. Bei weiteren Entfernungen ist die Kombination Rad+Bahn anzustreben. Dafür wurden angepasste Organisationsformen, Logistiken und Lernmaterialien entwickelt (Integriertes Radfahren, MOBILITY-Workshops, Isoemissionswürfel etc.)

2) Die dabei durch Vermeidung des Autos entstehenden Ersparnisse von über 30 Eurocent pro Kilometer werden in die Bereitstellung nachhaltiger Energie (Wind, Photovoltaik etc.) investiert.

3) Da jährlich neue Ersparnisse dazukommen, wird nach einigen Jahren der Punkt erreicht, an dem man so viel nachhaltige Energie bereitstellt, als einem Bürger anteilig am Bruttoenergieverbrauch eines Staats zukommt. Ich nenne das den persönlichen Energiewendepunkt.

Ferner entsteht durch intensiviertes Radfahren ein mehrfacher Gesundheits-Nutzen, der mittels des WHO-tools „HEAT for Cycling“ auch volkswirtschaftlich bewertet werden kann.

Sind solche privaten Initiativen abzulehnen, weil sie dem Staat seine ethische Verpflichtung zur Energiewende abnehmen, oder sind sie als zivile Wegbereiter dringend zu verbreiten?





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