An assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) published a 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.

Journal Articles

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


  • Herring, H. and Sorrell. S. (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.