For those who have made a considerable investment to energy-saving devices, insulating their home or upgrading their appliances to meet new energy standards, you may have noticed that your electricity bill has not gone down by as much as promised.
So what happened? Why have all the promises of energy savings not come to fruition? The answer to this question may very well be a phenomenon called the “Energy Rebound” effect. This type of effect essentially robs you of much of the savings you have rightfully earned when using more energy efficient products and improving your home. However, the rebound effect is actually tied more to your own personal habits than you might think.
What is Energy Rebound?
Essentially, the Energy Rebound effect is caused by the subtle changes to your own approach to energy usage because you have made improvements to your own home. A good analogy that may put the energy rebound effect into better perspective has been the overall increase in gas mileage our automobiles have enjoyed in recent decades. Yet, the amount of fuel that is being used has actually gone up over the years as well. Why? Because with greater fuel mileage, more people drove their vehicles longer distances than before and thus spent the same, if not more for gasoline.
The same can be said about making improvements to your home. When you install energy-saving devices, the subconscious effect is that they you feel more confident is using them more and thus lose the savings that you otherwise would have gained had you not changed your habits. The same is true about insulating your home as you feel more confident that your home can hold more heat, you actually up the thermostat a degree or two because you can “afford” to do so now thanks to the added insulation.
There is also the “Indirect Rebound Effect” where the money you save is being used on more energy consuming items or stuff that you don’t really need. Again, this is a reflection of the effect of saving money and the opportunities that open up which can cause many people to overspend and get items they either don’t need or ones that push the electricity bill upwards.
How to Fight the Energy Rebound Effect
Review your Actions: Are you turning up your thermostat? Are you buying items that will suck away at your savings? When you realize what you are doing, stop and consider your actions.
Write a Plan: Basically, identify the advantages of the energy savings you have to create a plan to get the most out of them. For example, if you have better insulation, then reduce your thermostat at night to save money.
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