WEFEL: WELLBEING, ENERGY FUTURES AND EVERYDAY LIFE
Consumer-citizen engagement towards a definition of well-being in relation to the energy transition
Energy is tied up with everyday lives, from preparing a meal, to getting around. In Switzerland, energy scenarios aim for reduced energy usage and decarbonization, along with net zero emissions across sectors. Yet how such scenarios relate to everyday life and resulting tradeoffs remain to be explored. The main purpose of the project is to understand How energy scenarios relate to human wellbeing and everyday life in Switzerland and to see how consumer-citizens might be involved in supporting sustainable energy futures. Building on Swiss sustainable energy pathways, three main questions are addressed:
1. How can energy pathways be translated into everyday life situations, accessible and relatable to diverse Swiss consumer-citizens?
2. How can positive and negative trade-offs be quantified and qualified, including rebound effects?
3. How do Swiss citizens imagine a transition to sustainable energy futures in relation to everyday lives and wellbeing?
The project results will offer tools for apprehending how reduced energy usage relates to ‘sustainable wellbeing’, including economic, social and environmental dimensions, but also human need satisfaction – a novel approach of high scientific, policy and practical relevance.
The WEFEL project will rely on existing future energy scenarios proposed by various sources, such as the 2050 Swiss Energy visions and SCCER CREST Visions 2050 process, completed by relevant scenarios from the literature on energy futures and everyday life. Those existing scenarios will allow for the design of energy pathways and the calculation of relating trade offs. This, in turn, will help to create personas and everyday practices from the future. In participative workshops (Geneva and Basel), these practices from the future will be related to theories of human needs, towards the normative goal of sustainable wellbeing in energy futures.
The research has been designed to address three different aims. First, it will contribute to the academic literature by linking ‘sustainable’ energy pathways to research on everyday life and wellbeing. Second, by engaging consumer-citizen in a participatory process, key outputs for future communication and education campaigns will be generated. Third, it will help to open a societal discussion on the links between energy pathways and human wellbeing, therefore supporting the political process towards sustainable energy transitions in Switzerland.
This project received fundings from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.