Working from Home May Produce More CO2 than Going to Office

Working from home is not without its hardships and difficulties; the bench on the dock has very poor lumbar support, and it is a long way to the fridge to refill the wine glass. On the other hand we feel virtuous knowing that we are saving many tons of CO2 by not commuting to the energy hog of an office.

Or maybe not. A recent study by WSP Environmental suggests that while home workers can save carbon emissions by not commuting, the extra heating and power they use during the winter months can outweigh the benefits. According to the Independent:

David Symons, the director of corporate services at WSP Environmental, said: "In homes it is rarely possible just to switch the heating on in one room, so people are heating a whole house through the day in the winter, which uses a lot of power. "Even boiling a kettle for one person instead of for a few people can increase inefficiency. Encouraging home working is seen as a quick win for companies trying to reduce their carbon emissions, but it is not that simple."
If an employee works at home all year, however, he or she pumps out 2.38 tons of carbon dioxide, whereas a typical office worker produces only 1.68 tons of carbon per year, suggests WSP.

We note that this is a British study, where a far higher proportion of employees take the train to work, and usually live a bit closer than America's far suburbs. Furthermore the British are far more careful about the thermostat in their homes than in North America, where people heat their houses to the same temperature whether they are home or not. ::Independent