Does Working from Home Reduce My Carbon Footprint?

Sustainability Benefits of WFH

Studies show that remote workers dramatically reduce their CO2 emissions by roughly 54%. Less individual driving time also reduced congestion in busy traffic zones. Other research shows that air quality significantly improved during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the increase of at-home workers.

Remote workers are also more likely to utilize digital documents, preserving paper and reducing waste from discarded office supplies. Plastic use is reduced, as remote workers can use disposable cups at home instead of bringing plastic cups into the office. Remote workers can more easily engage in healthy and environmentally friendly habits, such as gardening or jogging outside during breaks.

Home Habits Play a Role

Although individuals who work from home have no emissions from commuting, they will still produce emissions associated with additional lighting usage, the need for additional home heating and cooling, and using workstation electronic appliances – all of which increase their home emissions footprint.

For someone who does not work from home, these emissions would normally be attributed to the building they work in. They would also be distributed across a larger group of people since individuals who work from home may only share these emissions with 1-2 other household members. As a result, an individual’s emissions from work-related electronic appliances, lighting, and heating/cooling may be slightly lower if they work in person.

However, this is highly dependent on building/home construction, location, climate, the number of electronic appliances used, and the fuels being used to power their home or the building they work in. It also depends on the number of emissions that are produced during an individual’s commute if they did not work from home, which is also very variable.

If a remote worker has many commute-related emissions, then it may be more sustainable to work from home. However, if you’re opting for public transportation or use an electric car powered by renewable energy, working in an office might be more sustainable.

Tips for a Green Remote Work Environment

· Turn off all lights and appliances throughout the day
· Consider using renewable energy sources such as solar panels to power your home
· Try to walk or bike when travelling for non-work reasons
· Consider driving an electric vehicle
· While at home, unplug your work and personal devices when you’re not using them

Learn More with ZeroMe

To learn more about important work-related sustainability information, chat with our team about how ZeroMe can help you engage and educate your workforce on the topic of sustainability. Request a demo today.