Heating up and cooling down: the effects of climate on household energy consumption in Australia (16095)
Household energy consumption is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and consequently climate change. As such, an emerging body of research has sought to understand the drivers of household energy consumption, including environmental attitudes and values, urban form, and socio-demographic characteristics. Yet little attention has been given to the role of climate in shaping household energy practices. The aim of the present study was to explore the potential feedbacks between climate change and household energy consumption. A national online survey involving more than 2000 Australian households revealed that electricity and gas-based carbon emissions as well household appliance ownership are strongly associated with temperature. At present household electricity and gas emissions decrease as annual average temperatures increase. This reflects a sharp decrease in heater use as annual average temperatures rise, without a correspondingly rise in air conditioner use. As temperatures rise, it is anticipated that ownership of air conditioners, and accordingly household emissions, will grow considerably given few households are adopting passive house design, awnings, louvre windows, or solar guarding.