A number of regulations aim at achieving energy and climate policy goals by mandatory increases of energy-efficiency. However, the resulting savings of energy can in reality be lower than the expected ones, calculated by engineers. Possible explanations for this are the so called rebound-effects, which stem from on changes in patterns of behaviour. They can be divided into direct and indirect effects: the direct rebound-effect labels the demand increase for a specific energy service that ensues from an increase in its energy efficiency and the lower operative costs. Direct rebound-effects are thus price (respectively substitution) effects. In contrast, indirect rebound-effects result from higher overall budgets as a consequence of energy efficiency increases. They imply that savings due to higher energy-efficiency are spent for other energy-using activities or investments. Thus indirect rebound effects are essential wealth effects. Moreover, on a macroeconomic level, the decline in demand for energy leads to lower energy prices. Ceteris paribus, the demand for energy of third parties is stimulated and thus counterbalancing saving effects. This general equilibrium-effect becomes stronger the more inelastic the supply of energy sources is. Causes and impacts of rebound-effects are poorly understood, especially for Germany. A reasonable energy and climate policy has to develop an effective and socially accepted package of measures that should be based on a profound understanding of the causes and effects of the rebound-effect. Therefore, the aim of REBOUND is to develop a better understanding of rebound-effects, to empirically quantify them and to identify appropriate counter-measures. The project pursued an interdisciplinary approach, which provided not only an economic view, but also a sociological and social-psychological view of the phenomenon. Thereby the social dimension of the rebound-effect was particularly taking into account.

Here you find the project details:

Project duration

01.09.2010 - 30.11.2013

Cooperation partner

Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung e. V. (RWI), Koordinator des Forschungsverbunds Innovative Wirkungen umweltpolitischer Instrumente, DE
Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung, Karlsruhe, DE
Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Risiko- und Innovationsforschung an der Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, DE