New Project: Comprehending and reducing Rebound Effects

What are the causes for rebound effects and how can they be best prevented by energy and resources policy instruments? Together with two partners, adelphi is addressing this question on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency.


In order to ensure sustainable development, it is essential to reduce consumption of energy and raw materials in absolute terms. Over the last few years, a range of environmental policy instruments have significantly boosted the efficiency of energy and raw material usage in Germany. The goal of cutting resource consumption in absolute terms and reducing environmental pollution has, however, yet to be attained. This is due to various factors, including “rebound effects”: cost reductions made possible by resource-efficient production processes often lead to an increase in demand, meaning that the savings are in part offset by increased consumption. It is even more difficult to determine the extent of indirect, macroeconomic or mental rebound effects and the overall rebound effect of environmental policy instruments.

The project will run over two years: the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and Ernst Basler + Partner will firstly conduct an analysis of different types of rebound effects and the actions required to reduce them. adelphi will subsequently use this as a basis to develop environmental policy recommendations which aim to prevent rebound effects in the area of energy and resources policy.