Because of changes in technology and culture, Americans are spending more time home than ever before. Working from home, shopping online, streaming movies (instead of going to the movie theater), even “staycations” and otherwise “chilling”, Americans are travelling less and a new study shows that this has made a difference in our carbon footprint. See http://www.wral.com/americans-are-staying-home-more-that-s-saving-energy-/17299025/
New research suggests that these new technologies and their acceptance enable Americans to spend more time home, reducing energy use, and, with it greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Researchers found that, on average, Americans spent 7.8 more days at home in 2012, compared to 2003. For people 18 to 24, it is 14 more days at home and 4 days less time travelling in a year. They calculated that this reduced time going to work, the mall, restaurants, etc. reduced national energy demand by 1,700 trillion BTUs in 2012, or 1.8% of total energy use.
The reduction in time travelling appears to have the greatest impact on energy saved and GHG emissions reduced, as energy intensity of travelling is 20 times greater than staying at home. Even the time Americans travel is more efficient than in the past, saving energy. Decades ago when most families had a breadwinner and a homemaker, the worker commuted to work and returned straight home, while the homemaker would go out shopping. Now it is more common that the person returning from work stops off at the store to buy some things on the same return trip. This reduces total miles travelled.
The trend is certainly solid of more and more firms allowing workers to work from home. Online services and video conferencing allow the worker to be as efficient at home where the energy intensity is lower than in most offices. At the same time, companies are saving money and energy by consolidating office space. The growth in the U.S. of entrepreneurs working at home instead of renting space is another likewise trend.
One additional growing HR trend that appears to be increasing energy use is the nearly doubling of part-time workers in the U.S. during this period. More employers are hiring people on a part-time basis only, and many workers survive by holding more than one part-time job, raising the potential commuting distance and time and, thus, energy use.
CCES has the expertise to help your company manage and reduce energy use by the design of your facility and audit and upgrade of your energy using equipment. We can examine your operations and advice you on how to take advantage as employee counts change. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.