Home Energy system Managing the changing energy and health needs of Australian households

Managing the changing energy and health needs of Australian households

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Researchers at Monash University have identified opportunities for better energy management to cope with lifestyle changes in Australian households.

Thanks to the pandemic, living practices in Australian households have changed dramatically with more people working from home, more devices being used in homes for longer periods of time, and an increasing emphasis on ventilation and cleansing. air.

In addition to the constant need to reduce energy costs and increase energy efficiency, Australians are now considering moving towards renewable energy sources, creating and storing energy through solar photovoltaic energy. and the storage of domestic batteries. The ways in which households contribute to and impact Australia’s energy system are diversifying.

Published by the Emerging Technologies Research Lab (ETLab) at Monash University, the new Demand Management Opportunities report identified 15 tailored approaches to better align energy use with change in Australian households at through seven daily practices of healthy indoor air and thermal comfort, device recharging, power consumption, care of household occupants, work at home, creation and storage of energy.

These approaches include:

  • Adapt peak summer advice to new ventilation practices and health needs
  • Manage the electrical impacts of using extra space in homes
  • Offer advice on charging devices in homes and provide incentives and prompts to turn chargers on or off at particular times
  • Adopt tailor-made “at home” approaches for households occupied during the week
  • Provide opportunities for participation focused on sustainability
  • Recognize the impacts of digital exclusion and provide practical and face-to-face support to disadvantaged groups such as CALD households, the elderly and tenants
  • Support for better temperature control, such as better insulation and building materials
  • Raise public awareness on the energy spent on water heating and encourage the switch to solar energy for hot water
  • Parenting focused support and opportunities to participate
  • Educate communities on the impact of cooking practices on energy consumption
  • Provide opportunities to exchange and share electricity, including as a gift to other households
  • Offer “free energy” as an incentive to engage households in conversations about energy efficiency.

Lead author of the report, Dr Larissa Nicholls, Faculty of Information Technology, said the report presents opportunities for the energy sector to better understand and respond to changing energy dynamics. in households alongside the rapid increase in renewable energy production and battery storage in Australia.

“Our recommendations include energy efficiency for air purification, energy programs tailored to people working and parenting at home, thermal efficiency in garages and sheds now used as home offices, programs that encourage ‘use of solar and wind energy surpluses and initiatives for those excluded from digital technology. households, ”said Dr Nicholls.

“The energy sector needs to engage with various circumstances and household interests to make better use of ever-increasing amounts of renewable electricity from wind and solar generation, and to ease the path to net zero emissions.”

The Demand Management Opportunities report is part of a landmark research project on the future of digital energy that presented 45 trends and 10 principles to inform energy planning and forecasting.

The report’s co-author, Associate Professor Yolande Strengers, said the end goal of the project is to envision future energy demand scenarios and to work with the energy industry to support the creation of infrastructure. energy optimized.

The Digital Energy Futures project was supported by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Funding program in partnership with Monash University, Ausgrid, AusNet Services and Energy Consumers Australia.

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