From powering devices to heating and cooling and working from home, household electricity demand is always changing.
The Future Home Life report reveals the emerging technology trends shaping the future energy needs of Australian households.
Published by the Emerging Technologies Research Lab (ETLab) at Monash University, the Future Home Life report presents 45 trends and 10 principles to inform energy planning and forecasting for future home life.
This report forms part of the landmark Digital Energy Futures project. This research project is supported by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Funding Scheme in partnership with Monash University, Ausgrid, AusNet Services and Energy Consumers Australia.
A team of researchers from the ETLab, part of the Faculty of Information Technology and the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Monash University, have uncovered changing digital lifestyles and emerging home trends of everyday Australians, and how these activities are likely to affect energy planning for future residential living.
Co-author of the report, Associate Professor Yolande Strengers, explains how Australians are expanding the range of activities undertaken in their homes.
The team investigated seven areas of home life, where the majority of energy demand takes place at present or is anticipated to increase in the future. These include charging and mobility, cooking and eating, heating and cooling and working and studying from home.
As emerging technologies, platforms and services become part of people’s digital lifestyles, their activities across all these areas are changing, along with their relationship to energy.
“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the lifestyle trends we uncovered, but many householders we spoke to expect them to continue,” Strengers said.
For instance, people are becoming more interested in health and care technologies, such as air purifiers, to remove allergens and pathogens related to bushfire smoke, pets or pollen, or alleviate concerns about the spread of coronavirus.”
Entertainment , recreation and leisure pursuits are anticipated to become more important to home life. People are embracing a range of emerging entertainment technologies like virtual reality, setting up elaborate gaming consoles and establishing home cinemas.
They are also using more devices simultaneously in different parts of the home, which may increase energy demand for heating and cooling.
Co-author and Research Fellow in the ETLab, Dr Kari Dahlgren says innovative, future-focused social science research can help energy planning and forecasting take into account diverse households.
“It’s important that energy sector planning takes into account how emerging trends will unfold differently across households, for example the rate of growth in apartment living, more people working from home and vulnerable consumers’ interests should be considered in the development of our future energy system,” Dr Dahlgren said.
Lynne Gallagher, CEO of Energy Consumers Australia, and an industry partner on the Digital Energy Futures project, said households are becoming increasingly diverse both in terms of the technology they have and the way they use it to manage their energy.
“It’s also apparent that the way industry thinks consumers will use technology are not necessarily borne out in practice,” Gallagher said.
“A better understanding of consumer behaviour means we can identify more effective ways to design new energy services and markets that meet consumer’s needs, helping us achieve a modern, flexible and affordable system that delivers energy to households when and how they want it.”
To view the full report please visit: https://bit.ly/3humfNA