iReliefs

Indirect Rebound Effects. Lifestyle-segmentation and Interventions with Efficiency-Feedback and Sufficiency

A joint project of the Kiel University, the University of Potsdam and the LMU Munich

Starting point

The social-ecological transformation towards the so-called “Ressource Light Green Economy” is decisively inhibited, because an increase in resource and energy efficiency through technical innovations often leads to rebound effects. While previous research has focused in particular on direct rebound effects and the question of energy efficiency at the macro level, indirect rebound effects at the level of private households and the psychological mechanisms associated with this have not yet been sufficiently analysed and sufficient rebound effects neglected.

Project approach and procedure

In order to overcome this problem, iReliefs will comprehensively analyse indirect rebound effects at the level of private households in Germany, taking into account both efficiency and sufficiency rebounds. The iReliefs project defines indirect efficiency and sufficiency rebound effects at the micro level as resource savings in consumption for reasons of efficiency or sufficiency in one consumption area leading to higher resource consumption in other consumption areas. For example, the replacement of a six-litre car by a three-litre car (efficiency based) or the general abandonment of a car (sufficiency based) could lead to the money saved in this way being used for air travel and the resource savings being reduced or even overcompensated (backfire). The project uses greenhouse gas emissions as a measure of resource consumption and savings.
The iReliefs project makes a fundamental methodological contribution to quantifying indirect rebound effects at the level of private households in Germany. Intervention measures for the mitigation of rebound effects in different consumption areas will be developed and validated.

Goals

The aim of the iReliefs project is to identify and analyse indirect rebound effects at the level of private households and the psychological mechanisms associated with them, across product groups, together with practical partners from the fields of electromobility, sustainable textiles, food and market research.
The project aims to illustrate which consumption areas are affected by indirect rebounds and to quantify their extent. In addition, indirect rebound effects of sufficiency-related consumption styles are shown. Furthermore, it becomes clear how selected behavioural interventions (e.g. economic incentives, nudging, consumer information, feedback) can affect the reduction of indirect rebound effects in private households. The application Eco2log will be developed to inform consumers dynamically about their own carbon footprint and to transform rebound effects into positive ecological effects.
The project makes a conceptual contribution by including not only selected product categories, but also specific lifestyles and consumption styles in the rebound analysis. Therefore, in addition to the efficiency-oriented rebound effects, rebounds from sufficient consumption styles are also considered and quantified.

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