The Rebound Effect Report

An Assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiencyImage

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has launched a major new report on how 'Rebound Effects' can result in energy savings falling short of expectations, thereby threatening the success of UK climate policy. 

An example of a rebound effect would be the driver who replaces a car with a fuel-efficient model, only to take advantage of its cheaper running costs to drive further and more often. Or a family that insulates their loft and puts the money saved on their heating bill towards an overseas holiday.

Image Main Report (5 MB)

Image Launch Presentation, Steve Sorrell, Senior Fellow, UKERC

Image Launch Keynote, Professor Tim Jackson, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey

Press Release: 'Rebound Effects' Threaten Success of UK Climate Policy


Technical Papers

Image Supplementary Note: Graphical Illustrations of Rebound Effects
Image Technical Report 1: Evaluation Studies (draft)
Image Technical Report 2: Econometric Studies

Image Technical Report 3: Elasticity of Substitution Studies

Image Technical Report 4: Computable General Equilibrium Modelling Studies

Image Technical Report 5: Energy, Productivity and Economic Growth Studies

Latest Outputs

Journal Articles

  • Sorrell, S. (2009), ‘Jevons revisited: the events for backfire from improved energy efficiency’, Energy Policy, 37, 1456-1569
  • Sorrell, S., J. Dimitriopolous and M. Sommerville (2009), ‘Empirical estimates of direct rebound effects: a review’, Energy Policy, 37, 1356-1371
  • Sorrell, S. and J. Dimitriopolous (2007), ‘The rebound effect: microeconomic definitions, limitations and extensions, Ecological Economics, 65(3), 636-649
  • Steve Sorrell (2010), 'Energy, Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability: Five Propositions'
    Sustainability, 2(6), 1784-1809


  • Herring, H. and S. Sorrell (eds) (2008), Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption: Dealing with the Rebound Effect, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Book Chapters

  • Sorrell, S. (2009), ‘Improving energy efficiency: hidden costs and unintended consequences’, in D. Helm and C. Hepburn (eds), The Economics and Politics of Climate Change, Oxford University Press
  • Sorrell, S. (2009), ‘The rebound effect: definition and estimation’, in L. Hunt and J. Evans (eds) International Handbook of the Economics of Energy, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

Conference Papers

  • Sorrell, S. (2008), Energy-capital substitution and the rebound effect, British Institute of Energy Economics Academic Conference, the New Energy challenge: security and sustainability, St. John's College, Oxford, September 24-25

These publications are available at the UKERC Publications Catalogue.