leads to a reduction in fossil energy consumption and thus to a reduction in resource consumption. If the residents subsequently consume more energy than before - or are less motivated to take further efficiency measures than they would have if they hadn’t started using renewable energy - the positive environmental effects can be eroded: This leads to rebound effects. Also, as with efficiency measures, sufficiency can be increased or spill-over effects can occur.
In principle, rebound effects can occur for the same reasons as they occur with efficiency measures: monetary as well as psychological and other factors. However, the switch to renewable energies often does not lead to a reduction in (current) costs. Whether cost savings can be achieved depends, among other things, on whether the household generates the renewable energy itself or purchases it from their energy provider - in other words, whether the household is a prosumer or a consumer household. If a household decides to generate its own renewable electricity or heat, high initial investments are necessary, but running costs usually fall. This can reduce the incentive to save energy. If a consumer household decides to purchase green electricity from its energy supplier, this is usually associated with higher running costs, so the financial incentive to save energy increases and a negative rebound effect can be expected.
The EE-Rebound project examines the effects of switching to renewable energies and how they can be quantified. Since only some of the reasons for behavioural changes are economic, we expect that the project will provide us with better insights into the non-monetary causes of rebound effects.