Transdisciplinary Living lab research at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy


AREA of socio-ecological sustainability transformations

Creating smartphone applications to guiding consumer choices in shopping, mobility and heating/ventilation.

scientific methods for transdisciplinary knowledge integration

Analysis of rebound effects in “technological¬† living lab” research

Project publication

J. Buhl, J. von Geibler, L. Echternacht, M. Linder (2017). "Rebound effects in Living Labs: Opportunities for monitoring and mitigating rebound in user integrated innovation", Journal of Cleaner Production 151 (2017) 592-602

The effectiveness of sustainable product and service innovations is often restricted by limited market acceptance or unexpected consumption patterns. The latter includes rebound effects, which occur when resources liberated by savings are used for further consumption. Recently emerging research from the Living Lab is striving to address and anticipate challenges in innovation design by integrating users in prototyping and field testing product and service innovations. The paper presents findings from a literature review on rebound effects and expert interviews identifying methods to monitor and measures to mitigate rebound effects in early innovation design via Living Lab research.

We find that monitoring and mitigating rebound effects in Living Lab research includes technological and behavioural triggers as well as socio-psychological and time use effects in addition to economic re-spending effects. The experts have confirmed that Living Labs contain the potential to observe complex demand systems of users within experimental designs, encompassing indirect rebound effects in terms of expenditure as well as time use. In this respect, Living Lab research can facilitate support for sustainable innovations, which aim to encourage changes in consumer behaviour, considering re-spending and time use effects simultaneously.


Project website