Australia’s ecowarriors love to tell you how to live your life. The list of dos and don’ts is extensive.
These days it goes beyond telling you what kind of transport you should use or the low energy lighting fixtures you should install. Now it even covers the kind of food you should eat, as eating meat…gasp…isn’t the most environmentally sensitive way to fill your belly.
Until recently, though, your pets have escaped the notice of the self-appointed environmental police.
But a new Victorian study could be about to change that.
The study warns that pets treated with human comforts must be factored into Australia’s future energy needs.
Researchers from Monash University and RMIT evaluated the daily practices of around 300 Australian households finding pets were a top factor, in what impacts national energy demands.
Pampering pets, harmful to Aussie energy demands?
Now more than ever, our little fur babies are being pampered by air-conditioning, heating and entertainment in the form of TV and radio even when no one is home.
An increasing practice, which is set to add pressure to energy demands until 2050.
‘If stay-at-home pets have extra heating and cooling demand during the day, this could contribute to a flattening of peak electricity demand and/or a possible increase in average daily demand,’ Research lead Associate Professor Yolande Strengers said.
‘This scenario may not only play out amongst affluent households, but also increase the energy bills of low-income households stuck living in poor quality, thermally inefficient homes and wanting to protect the health of their pets in extreme heat or cold.’
Strengers pointed towards the rising trend of high-rise apartment living worsening the problem, as pets don’t have the ability to source cooler spaces outside.
So it’s not as straightforward as, leave your pets outside on hot days, with a little bit of water and shade.
‘Stay at home’ pets here to stay
The study wasn’t specifically targeting the impacts of pets, but rather it found common household companions such as cats and dogs, routinely emerge as big influencers for heating, cooling and entertainment usage.
‘The example of pets is particularly pertinent because it introduces a new and unpredictable variable that hasn’t been considered in previous future energy modelling,’ Monash University’s Professor Sarah Pink said.
‘While the question of how people will use energy for their pets in the future is impossible to know, evidence to date suggests that pet care will increasingly involve more technology and energy demand.’
Researchers argue that ‘stay at home pets’ accustomed to heating, cooling and entertainment, would be common practice by 2050.
PS: If you’re more than a few years away from retirement, your job could potentially be at risk of being automated. This free report details the changes you could expect to see in the workplace. And some steps you could take to ensure you — and your children — are well placed in the age of automation.