Living comfortably with heat in Australia – preferred indoor temperatures and climate zones

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Abstract

While the optimal mean annual temperature for people and nations is said to be between 13 °C and 18 °C, many people live productive lives in regions or countries that commonly exceed this temperature range. One such country is Australia. We carried out an Australia-wide online survey using a structured questionnaire to investigate what temperature people in Australia prefer, both in terms of the local climate and within their homes. More than half of the 1665 respondents (58%) lived in their preferred climatic zone with 60% of respondents preferring a warm climate. Those living in Australia's cool climate zones least preferred that climate. A large majority (83%) were able to reach a comfortable temperature at home with 85% using air-conditioning for cooling. The preferred temperature setting for the air-conditioning devices was 21.7 °C (SD: 2.6 °C). Higher temperature set-points were associated with age, heat tolerance and location. The frequency of air-conditioning use did not depend on the location but rather on a range of other socio-economic factors including having children in the household, the building type, heat stress and heat tolerance. We discuss the role of heat acclimatisation and impacts of increasing air-conditioning use on energy consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104706
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Volume96
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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