According to the Department of Energy, transportation accounts for 66% of U.S. oil use – mainly in the form of gasoline. In 2000, in the U.S. alone over 4.2 million people worked from home instead of commuting to work each day. Telecommuting is a wonderful way to reduce your energy consumption associated with transportation; however your home energy expenses may tend to increase. So is it beneficial to telecommute since you are reducing one type of energy and increasing another?
I have the luxury of being one of those over 4.2 million people in the U.S. who telecommute one or more days each week. My job is flexible and I do not need to report to an office everyday. My personal benefits are obvious; I don’t have the stress of a daily commute and I can be there for my son at a moments notice. But what natural resources am I actually preserving by not making this daily commute? Transportation and my greenhouse gas emissions are my biggest savings. The only time I even start my vehicle is my 3 mile commute to pick my son up at school in the afternoons and the occasional lunch out with friends. The downfall is the increased energy costs for operating a home office; however; the increase is so minimal when compared to the transportation savings.
Here are some tips on keeping your home office as energy efficient as possible.
When purchasing new electronic equipment look for the ENERGY STAR rating. This rating will save you about 70% in energy costs compared to the equivalent equipment without the rating.
Make sure to turn off you computer, monitors and printers when not in use, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.
If you use a notebook computer be sure to unplug the power cord when you are not using it. It uses what’s known as ‘phantom power’ even when not in use.
Activate the ‘sleep’ feature on your computer so it will automatically shut down after a set period of time.
Turn off lights when you leave a room and if possible use natural light during the day.
These simple tips will help keep your personal energy use under control thus maximizing the benefits of telecommuting. If your office doesn’t currently offer the telecommute option discuss the idea with management.