Rebound and adverse effects of energy efficiency measures
Economists at Statistics Norway have conducted an analysis of the main drivers for the sharp increase in the proportion of households that have acquired heat pumps in Norway, and how this affects household energy consumption. On average, households with and without a heat pump use approximately the same amount of electricity, implying that the changes in behavior completely offsets the savings potential of the heat pump. However, total energy consumption is lowered and energy efficiency is increased since the consumption of firewood and fuel oils are reduced.
In an interdisciplinary paper, economists and anthropologists study the perplexing case of the Norwegian heat pump ownership, a technology that theoretically should reduce household heat consumption by up to 25%, but when taken into use results in little or no change in electricity consumption. Our two coordinated studies find a major change in how households heat their residences after acquiring a heat pump. The anthropological study shows that many households increase the heated living area and no longer turn down the heat at night and when away. The economic study quantifies large effects of heat pump ownership on the consumption of all energy sources.