The heat on winter warming: why cultural geography can help energy policy makers

Post by Gordon Waitt

HeaterHow Australian homes are heated in winter is of recent policy interest because of greenhouse gas emissions, fuel poverty and public health risks. Policy initiatives around winter warming practices are often contradictory, advising people to heat more for health and less to save money and the environment. Furthermore, how people should live with lower winter temperatures is configured within two assumptions.  First, that households should not let the ambient temperature of the rooms in which occupants spend the day fall below 18 degrees Celsius, or, above 21 degrees Celsius. Second, that when it comes to heating choices, people are positioned as rational consumers rather than parents, grandparents, carers or employees working from home. Overlooking the personal in favour of the financial, costs are often envisaged by policy makers to be the key mechanism to change home heating choices of most Australians.

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Why do we care if you’re as warm as toast?

If you follow AUSCCER on social media you’ve probably seen quite a lot of chatter about being as warm as toast… Or more commonly hashtagged on Twitter as #WarmAsToastUOW. So what exactly are we talking about and why do we care whether you’re as warm as toast? Continue reading

Warm as toast? Exploring diverse cultures of thermal comfort

This article was first published by UOW’s Global Challenges blog on 30 June and written by Natascha Klocker.

Think about a time when you’ve lived in, or visited, another country, one where the climate is very different from what you’re used to. How did you adapt? Were your strategies for keeping warm (or cool) dissimilar to those of the local population? Was your thermal comfort threshold noticeably different?

When I was a PhD student, I spent a number of years living in Tanzania.

Thankfully, I spent most of my time in the country’s temperate Southern Highlands, but I was also a regular visitor to Tanzania’s largest city: bustling, humid, hot and coastal Dar es Salaam. Continue reading