Energy-related behaviour and rebound when rationality, self-interest and willpower are limited

Filippos Exadaktylos*, Jeroen van den Bergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The extent to which adopting energy-efficient technologies results in energy savings depends on how such technologies are used, and how monetary savings from energy efficiency are spent. Energy rebound occurs when potential energy savings are diminished due to post-adoption behaviour. Here we review empirical studies on how six behavioural regularities affect three energy-relevant decisions and ultimately rebound: adoption of energy-saving products or practices, their intensity of use and spending of associated monetary savings. The findings suggest that behaviours that reflect limited rationality and willpower may increase rebound, while the effects of behaviours driven by bounded self-interest are less clear. We then describe how interventions associated with each of the behavioural regularities can influence rebound and thus serve to achieve higher energy savings. Future research ought to study energy-relevant decisions in a more integrated manner, with a particular focus on re-spending as this presents the greatest challenge for research and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104-1113
Number of pages10
JournalNature Energy
Volume6
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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