the rebound effect and how energy efficiency may not be the “low hanging fruit”

An interesting paradox: as we conserve more energy, we use more.

We pointed out some research in the past on this effect, and some debate about the potential impact of this effect has surfaced in a couple places.  First, there was an article last month in Nature warning about this:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7433/full/493475a.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20130124

And this month, a response:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v494/n7438/full/494430c.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20130228

One of my favorite websites has recently posted a thorough discussion as well:

http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/reinventing-fire-and-the-dream-of-efficiency/

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One Response to the rebound effect and how energy efficiency may not be the “low hanging fruit”

  1. John says:

    I get the impression that this is treated inconsistently in the environmental assessment and comparative lifecycle assessment literature. It’s typically ignored (or assumed to be outside the scope of analysis), but every once in a while I come across a similar-sounding item in someone’s methods section or buried somewhere in the bowels of the GREET model…

    On a related note, you hear a lot about the rebound effect/Jevon’s Paradox in the context of hybrid automobiles- that hybrid drivers might fail to reduce their gasoline consumption as much as their high mileage would suggest, since they will tend to drive farther because it costs them less per mile. Based on the experience of some of my Prius-owning friends, I can see how that might be the case. But this guy has crunched the numbers and doesn’t buy it:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/does-the-prius-actually-save-gas-a-closer-look-at-the-rebound-effect/2012/03/26/gIQAJQZVcS_blog.html

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