Pursuing (un)sustainable thermal comfort

By Eliza de Vet

For most of us, thermal discomfort is an infrequent sensation. Compared with our grandparents, we have higher expectations for thermal comfort, tolerate a smaller range of temperatures and turn on heating and cooling devices more readily and for longer periods. Over the last century, heating and cooling practices have changed drastically. In many respects, greatest climate change has occurred indoors [1].

As part of UoW’s Warm as Toast discussion, this blog examines reasons behind constricting thermal comfort expectations and how we currently keep warm at home. Insights are drawn from my PhD research on experiences and responses to everyday weather.

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Warm as toast? Exploring diverse cultures of thermal comfort

The author spent a number of years living in hot Tanzania. Photo credit: ThinkStock

The author spent a number of years living in hot Tanzania. Photo credit: ThinkStock

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.

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Poor households do the heavy lifting in reducing energy consumption

Do you drink lots of hot drinks to stay warm in winter? Photo credit: ThinkStock

Do you drink lots of hot drinks to stay warm in winter? Photo credit: ThinkStock

By Professor Lesley Head

There has been much public discussion in recent weeks about the need for heavy lifting, specifically, sharing the heavy lifting of restoring the Federal budget to surplus.

If questions of equity and sharing are complex in the context of the Budget, they are even more so in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

There is no cost-free way to make the necessary transition to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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Why do we want to know how you’re keeping warm? #WarmAsToastUOW

By Kate Roggeveen

Is this how you keep warm in winter? Picture credit: ThinkStock

Is this how you keep warm in winter? Picture credit: ThinkStock

We are asking Illawarra residents to explain their strategies for keeping warm as part of a University of Wollongong Global Challenges research project called Warm as Toast? Home heating and energy use in the Illawarra. The project aims to find out more about people’s strategies for keeping warm, especially those that don’t depend on using a heater.b

Heating accounts for more than a third of energy use across the Australian residential sector. Further, central heating is on the rise. This project starts the dialogue on encouraging people to reduce their home heating energy consumption.

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