Attention, telecommuters: think twice the next time you brag about your reduced environmental impact. That’s the conclusion of a report from the U.K’s Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which claims that working from home and online shopping actually increase CO2 emissions.
According to the study, working from home can increase home energy use up to 30%. Worse still, the option to telecommute causes many workers to move further from the office, increasing their carbon emissions when they do go into the office.
But online shopping isn’t all bad. If 25 orders or more are placed at the same time, online shopping becomes less carbon intensive than the in-person variety. That’s a lot of shopping however, and most online orders are significantly smaller than that.
So what can we do? Telecommuting and online shopping shouldn’t be abolished. Instead, we need to pay more attention to “low-carbon” activities like working from home and make sure that we don’t compensate by using more energy in other areas of our lives.
Lead photo by Kathy Ponce