Total savings :10 to 50 tonnes of CO₂ per school annually (these savings were not credited to atmosfair)
Knowledge transfer :Energy-saving usage habit know-how
Number of schools :more than 30 schools so far
Jobs :One external energy expert per school ca. eight mornings per year
Project partners :Initiative fifty/fifty through the Independent Institute for Environmental Questions (Unabhängiges Institut für Umweltfragen, UfU) in cooperation with the Federal Association for School Energy Education (Bundesverband für Schule Energie Bildung, BV SEB)

What is fifty/ fifty?

fifty/fifty is an initiative of over 3,500 schools in Germany. Participating schools receive 50% of the energy costs saved through conscious usage to be used at their discretion. The other 50% remain with the school district. This incentive contributes to environmental and climate protection as well as cost reductions. Climate and energy are the focus of lessons, project days, study groups, and excursions.

How are energy saving achieved?

Pupils, teachers, and maintenance managers are called upon to save heat and electricity through easily executed energy saving measures. The focus is on energy-conscious day-to-day actions when using the thermostat, lamps, and other electric devices as well as when airing out rooms instead of on measures that require significant investments, e.g. insulating the building’s façade, building new windows, or purchasing a new heating system. Other relevant measures include the correct operation of existing heating, energy and control engineering. Examples of this include drops in temperature at night, on weekends, and during school holidays, sensible light circuitry in hallways and stairwells, and reducing illumination levels to prescribed values.

How does fifty/ fifty work?

First, school and school district conclude an agreement that will be implemented by fifty/fifty. The district calculates the initial values using the usage data of past years. The school organises the implementation of energy-saving measures with regard to student project groups or project days. Preferably, all users (pupils, teachers, and maintenance managers, possibly parents and clubs as well) should be involved. At the end of a certain period of time (usually one year), the savings results are calculated, and the premium is paid out.

What will your donation be used for?

In order to be successful, the schools need qualified specialised supervision. Your contribution goes directly to the energy experts that advise the school projects on location and guide the pupil and teacher teams; it also pays for equipment with measuring tools, trial materials, materials for displays, etc.

How does atmosfair credit itself with the emissions savings?

Not at all: atmosfair does not credit itself for the tonnes of CO₂ saved, but nonetheless supports fifty/fifty for the following reasons:

  • Measurability: Savings cannot be exactly attributed to fifty/fifty. When schools use less energy, it can be due to higher oil prices, warmer winter temperatures, fewer school days, and many other reasons. It is impossible to measure this accurately.
  • Double counting: Germany is a signatory state to the Kyoto Protocol, which means that all greenhouse gases within the country are counted. When fifty/fifty saves CO₂, the federal government can sell the tonnes saved to other countries; alternatively, factories and automobiles within Germany may emit these same tonnes. In order to prevent double-counting such as this, the federal government must eschew the tonnes of CO₂ saved by fifty/fifty (in other words, technically decommission them). However, it cannot do this since the tonnes cannot be measured exactly.

To which schools does the money go?

We work with the following schools:


  • Gemeinschaftsschule Mölln, Hamburg
  • Grundschule St. Johann, Bremen, supervised by BUND Landesverband Bremen
  • Grundschule Charlotte Salomon, Berlin-Kreuzberg, supervised by UfU


  • Rheingau-Gymnasium in Berlin: Energy inspection done, measures planned. Supervised by UfU


  • Carolinum Gymnasium, Neustrelitz: Exchange of the old heating system
  • Grundschule Willen, Wittmund: Energy efficiency through new light-systems


  • Pfarrer-Bräuer-School, Rauen. Supervised by UfU


  • Friedrich List Schule, Neuseddin. Supervised by UfU
  • Comenius Haupt- und Realschule, Emmerthal. Supervised by Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung Salzwedel
  • Petrikirchhof Grundschule, Salzwedel. Supervised by Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung Salzwedel
  • G.E. Lessing Ganztagsschule, Salzwedel. Supervised by Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung Salzwedel
  • Integrierte Gesamtschule, Jeetze. Supervised by Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung Salzwedel


  • Grundschule Pretzier. Supervised by Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung Salzwedel
  • Perver Grundschule Salzwedel. Supervised by Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung Salzwedel
  • Grundschule Henningen. Supervised by Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung Salzwedel
  • Freie Schule Riesenklein, Halle. Supervised by UfU
  • Grundschule Büschdorf. Halle-Büschdorf. Supervised by UfU
  • Sertürner Realschule, Hameln. Supervised by Energie- und Umweltzentrum (EUZ)
  • Basbergschule Hameln (Verlässliche Grundschule). Supervised by EUZ
  • Johann Comenius Schule Emmerthal. Supervised by EUZ


  • G. E. Lessing Ganztagsschule Salzwedel. Supervised by Ökodorf Siebenlinden


  • Freie Waldorfschule Halle. Supervised by UfU
  • Sekundarschule Beetzendorf. Supervised by Ökodorf Siebenlinden
  • Grundschule Astrid Lindgren, Kalbe (Milde). Supervised by Energiesparagentur Altmark e.V.
  • Gymnasium Neustadt am Rübenberge. Supervised by UfU
  • Grundschule am Pfefferberg, Berlin. Supervised by UfU


  • Bornhomer Grundschule Berlin. Supervised by UfU
  • Jeetzeschule Salzwedel. Supervised by Ökodorf Siebenlinden


  • Carl-Benz-Realschule Berlin. Supervised by UfU
  • Wunnensteinschule Großbottwar. Supervised by Climate Alliance
  • Geschwister-Scholl-Sekundarschule Bremerhaven. Supervised by e&u energiebüro GmbH, among others
  • Geschwister-Scholl-Hauptschule Seelze. Supervised by EUZ
  • August-Hermann-Francke-Schule Detmold. Supervised by e&u energiebüro GmbH
  • St. Raphael Gymnasium Heidelberg. Supervised by ifeu
  • Gymnasium Gars. Supervised by Dipl. Phys. Peter Pospischil

fifty/ fifty nationwide

The project fifty/fifty was developed in Hamburg and implemented there in 1993. In Hamburg, fifty/fifty currently saves ca. 3 million € in energy, water, and waste costs yearly. Later, it expanded to Berlin and other cities. Due to the fact that the federal states are responsible for the education sector as well as the cities’ and townships’ financial responsibility for schools, there is no nationwide fifty/fifty program, but rather a number of state and regional initiatives. Those in charge may be employed by the public sector, such as in the case of Hamburg’s “Project fifty/fifty,” and other projects are run by non-profit or private organisations, such as UfU e.V. in Berlin. With the Federal Association for School Energy Education (BV SEB) established within UfU in Berlin, these establishments have a nationwide presence. Besides the ones in Hamburg and Berlin, there are other important organisations involved on a national level, including:

  • Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung (ifeu), Heidelberg
  • Energie- und Umweltzentrum (EUZ), Springe-Eldagsen
  • ¾Plus, Bremen and Bremerhaven
  • Energie gewinnt!, Jena
  • Keep Energy in Mind (KEiM), Nuremberg
  • e&u energiebüro GmbH, Bielefeld
  • Umweltbüro Nord e.V. (UBN), Stralsund


In total, ca. 3,500 schools are involved in the program nationally, probably making it the largest environmental pedagogy program in Germany. Nonetheless, just under 10% of general education schools are involved.

Your contact at atmosfair

Bernhard Ellmann
Manager Climate Mitigation Projects
M.A. Philosophy
+49 (0) 30 120 84 80 - 61