Institut de recherches sociologiques

WEFEL: Wellbeing, Energy Futures and Everyday Life

Consumer-citizen engagement towards defining the good life in future energy pathways


 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 engage 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? And
  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, mostly 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 be central to allow the design of energy pathways and the calculation of relating trade offs in everyday life. This, in turn, will help to create personas and everyday practices from the future. These personas and practices will, through participative workshops (Geneva and Basel), be linked to theories of human needs to be discussed with regard to the normative goal of wellbeing related to sustainable energy futures.

The research has been designed to answer three different goals. First, it will contribute to the academic literature by linking ‘sustainable’ energy pathways to everyday life andwellbeing. Second, it will be crucial in terms of consumer-citizen relevance, allowing for the participation of consumer-citizens to the WEFEL workshops that will result in key outputs for future communication and education campaigns. Finally, this research will be interesting in terms of policy relevance as it will help to open a societal discussion on the links between energy pathways and human well-being, therefore supporting the political process towards energy transitions in Switzerland.

This project received fundings from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

Bien être, futurs énergétiques et vie quotidienne

L’engagement des consommateur·trice·s-citoyen·enne·s vers une définition du bien être en lien avec la transition énergétique

Les activités quotidiennes sont interreliées à l’énergie, de nos repas  nos déplacements. En Suisse, les perspectives énergétiques visent à réduire sa consommation et la décarboniser, pour atteindre des émissions nettes nulles dans tous les secteurs. Cependant, les liens entre ces scénarios, nos activités quotidiennes ainsi que les compromis, restent à établir. Ce projet aborde trois questions : 1) Comment les perspectives énergétiques peuvent-elles être transposées dans nos activités quotidiennes, accessibles et utilisables par les citoyens.ennes - consommateurs·trice·s ? 2) Comment les compromis positifs et négatifs peuvent-ils être quantifiés et qualifiés, y compris les effets rebonds ? 3) Comment les citoyen·enne·s imaginent·ils·elles une transition vers un avenir énergétique durable par rapport à leur quotidien et leur bien-être ? Les résultats offriront de nouveaux outils pour comprendre les liens entre consommation d’énergie réduite et ‘bien-être durable’, en termes économiques, sociaux et écologiques – une approche novatrice de pertinence scientifique, politique et pratique.

Ce projet a reçu un financement de l’Office Fédéral de l’Énergie.

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