Starting work earlier in the morning and having a siesta in the afternoon could become the norm in Australia within decades as climate change forces people to adjust their lifestyles based on the price of energy.
That is one of the scenarios Monash University scientists considered when they examined what life could look like by 2050 when extreme weather events are expected to become much more common.
The scientists explored six possible examples of the future and while some included major shifts such as moving business hours, all included a greater emphasis on how homes would be used to seek relief from extreme weather and air quality issues.
“The broader trend is that we expect our home to do more for us,” project leader Professor Yolande Strengers told AAP.
“In some of the scenarios, we see much more broader societal change, institutions shifting, more community services and policies that enable life to continue on as per normal outside the home.
“But in other scenarios, the home really becomes a safe (haven) from extreme weather.”
The scenarios delve into the link between income and quality of life and explore the impact of greater access to solar power, batteries, insulated housing and location.
“All of those things can exacerbate inequalities in the future and it’s just so important to be mindful of those issues now,” Professor Strengers said.
The scenario that included working earlier in the day canvassed the possibility of government-owned refuges for people who could not afford to safeguard their homes from the elements.
The four-year Monash University report was based on a study of more than 70 households and other data developed in partnership with Energy Consumers Australia, Ausgrid and AusNet Services.
Prof Strengers said the research came at an important time as people could see the impact of climate change, more workers had access to flexible arrangements and smart technology was introduced to more homes.
“It’s really important to have these conversations and think through what this is all going to mean for our future lives – to start to plan for those futures and debate those futures and anticipate what might be coming and how we can help to mitigate some of the impacts and also realise some of these opportunities,” she said.
Energy Consumers Australia CEO Lynne Gallagher hopes the findings will force governments and energy companies to think more about what drives customers to use different types of technology.
“Consumers are highly diverse and will have unique relationships to emerging energy and digital technologies,” she said.
“Unless consumers are fully engaged, a successful energy transition simply won’t happen.”
(Australian Associated Press)