POSTED: November 20, 2018

Energy Sufficiency—Managing the rebound effect

New ECEEE concept paper co-authored by CUSP researchers Birgitta Gaterleben and Angela Druckman
Nov 2018

Concept Paper Cover Image /

The potential for energy sufficiency to reduce energy use and emissions is gaining increasing attention. One reason is that improvements in energy efficiency have not reduced energy consumption by as much as anticipated. This is partly due to various rebound effects—namely behavioural responses to improved energy efficiency that offset some of the potential energy and emission savings.

A new report by former SLRG colleagues Steve Sorrell, and CUSP researchers Brigitta Gatersleben and Angela Druckman examines the nature of these effects, and asks the question: can greater use of sufficiency policies and actions help to tackle negative rebounds, or will it create rebounds itself?

The report explores the relationship between rebound effects and energy sufficiency, using both economics and social psychology and arguing that both these perspectives are needed to fully understand the effects. It looks at the evidence for the nature and size of rebound effects from improved energy efficiency and suggests ways in which energy sufficiency actions could reduce them. It also investigates how energy sufficiency actions can lead to rebound effects of their own and examines how careful policy design can be used to minimise or avoid increased energy use where this is not improving wellbeing.>


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