Efficiency, resources and the rebound effect
Efficiency is a term that is used in many different ways both in technology and business. It is especially relevant when something is in short supply and needs to be used as profitably or beneficially as possible. Efficiency can be understood as the numerical ratio of benefit to cost. This is, for example, how the Association of German Engineers (VDI) has defined it, as "the ratio of a specific benefit or result to the expenditure required for it" in VDI-Standard 4800 on resource efficiency. Efficiency is therefore a relative quantity. It always relates to a single unit of a quantity, e.g. the same quantity of raw material or energy. The inverse ratio, cost to benefit, would then be an intensity: how much energy or raw material is needed per unit of benefit?
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