Environmental Consciousness: A Behavioral Rebound Effect


A common public policy recommendation for climate change mitigation is the implementation of energy efficiency measures. Popular thought is that these measures result in a proportional reduction of energy consumption. However, efficiency gains can lead to a less than proportional decrease in energy consumption, or even a net increase. This is what is known as the rebound effect.

The aim of this study is to address the issue of the rebound effect on household energy uses when implementing energy efficiency measures. Previous studies have shown the rebound effect to be as large as 30% of potential energy savings in households, reducing considerably the environmental impact. Counteracting the rebound effect is of significant importance, but measures to reduce it in households are not well studied.

In order to address the study goals, we will first measure the rebound effect in four different countries with a survey-experiment. This will allow the research team to see differences or similarities of this effect in different contexts. Furthermore, two public policies will be studied, anchoring heuristics and labeling.
Laboratory experiments with repeated games and a survey experiment will be implemented. All in all, the outcomes of the our project will be (1) assessment of experimental methods that can be most effective in developing pro-ecological behaviors and awareness among energy users and (2) decision-making framework and guidelines for policy makers and involved stakeholders. The implementation of the project will lead to more sustainable energy use in the future and hopefully, the costs and energy consumption savings on a larger scale can be achieved and strengthen integration and collaboration between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Principal Investigators
4th EU-LAC Joint Call STI 2022 [EULAC-2022-166]