One speaks about rebound effects, when increases in energy efficiency do not result in the expected decrease in energy consumption or even lead to increases in energy consumption. For instance, when new more energy-efficient products are used intensively, the absolute energy consumption might increase compared to the situation before the new product was launched.
German environmental policy is faced by the challenge to reduce total resource consumption as demanded by the Integrated Environmental Programme 2030. Increases in energy efficiency gained from new technologies are considered essential to reduce energy consumption. However, rebound effects question the effectiveness of such measures. Consequently, it is necessary to develop appropriate policy instruments to mitigate rebound effects in order to save energy and resources.