Measuring the rebound effect of energy efficiency initiatives for the future

Client:  SANERI

Period: April 2007- March 2010

Project team: Alison Hughes, Kate Louw

The project intends to develop a model to predict the levels of rebound that occur when energy efficiency measures are introduced into the residential sector, which will enable better targeting of energy efficiency interventions within this sector. This is due, largely, to the impact that residential demand has on the grid during 'peak' times.

As there has been little research of this nature both in a developing country context, and within South Africa, an in-depth study solely of the residential sector has been proposed.  Given previous experience and knowledge, it is expected that the rebound effect will be at a moderate level (Berkhout et al, 2000; Roy, 2000).  However, it is hypothesised that this can be mitigated and mitigated and maintained are contradictory you need to add some words here before maintained thereafter maintained through education and technology training programmes.  Data obtained during the study will be incorporated into the model to give, an indication of what DSM programmes in the residential sector may be expected to achieve. This will help with integrated resource planning in South Africa as it will enable a more accurate DSM target to be included. As we are currently facing electricity shortages DSM is becoming increasingly important in ensuring reliable electricity supply.

The key research questions to be answered by the study are:

  • What are the rebound effects of energy efficiency measures in residential settings across South Africa?

  • Are these mitigated and maintained by education programmes and technology learning?

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that whilst there is willingness for consumers to utilise energy efficient technology certain inhibiting factors such as initial cost of purchasing the technology and inherent characteristics of the technology such as power produced (in the case of solar home systems) and quality of light produced (for CFLs) prevent larger uptake or continued use of these technologies. 

Due to the nature of the study (i.e. a panel study conducted over the period of 3 years) one will also be able to answer questions as to the extent that households continue to use these technologies and determine exactly which factors inhibit the continued use of these technologies.