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How “Green” is Work-From-Home?



Working and learning from home may have its downsides—social isolation, boredom, and lethargy among them—but at least it’s good for the environment, right?

Maybe not as much as you think.

Less commuting certainly means less greenhouse gas and toxic emissions from cars on the road, but those savings are offset by lost energy efficiency in both commercial and residential buildings.

Size Matters
Large buildings consume more energy than small ones but when the power consumed for heating, cooling, and lighting is apportioned among all the people using the building, bigger generally comes out the winner. This is especially true now that nearly all new office buildings are built to “green building” standards. And older commercial buildings are taking advantage of things like high-efficiency lighting and equipment along with renewable energy sources.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case in many residences where unused spaces are heated, cooled, and lighted all day and night with people at home 24/7.

Little Things Add Up

Aside from inefficient energy use, working and learning from home adds other burdens to the environment.

The huge increase in home deliveries not only adds to fuel consumption by local deliveries, truck lines, railroads, and airlines, the extra packaging of delivered goods adds to post-consumer waste. While companies like Amazon, UPS, and FedEx package many things in recyclable materials, it takes a considerable amount of energy to collect and recycle the cardboard, paper, and plastics they use. And a large percentage of it still ends up in landfills.

Restaurants, especially quick-serve businesses, tend to waste less food than consumers, who routinely buy more than they use and end up discarding a higher percentage. Even water use tends to be more efficient in commercial buildings.

Here’s something we bet you never thought of—the huge surge in network loads means internet providers and cloud services have had to add a lot more capacity and along with it, more energy consumption…even more square footage to heat, cool, and light their facilities.

Making WFH Greener
The same things that make your home more comfortable and energy efficient year round add extra savings when you’re stuck at home all day.

Adequate insulation, weatherstripping, and high efficiency windows and doors are your first line of savings. Cut down on energy consumption by turning down the thermostat and using space heaters and fans in occupied areas.

Use “smart” power strips to reduce “vampire current” in your home office, entertainment center, and any other areas that may be using power needlessly.

Turn off the video when it’s not needed for online meetings. It reduces network traffic and cuts down on annoying signal losses. And potential embarrassment.

For more ways to reduce your WFH impact, see Reassessing Electrical Use in the “New Normal” on the Allstar Electrical Services website.

Add Experts to Your Green Team
Allstar Electrical Services is committed to responsible and safe energy use without compromising comfort and convenience. From home office upgrades to large commercial/industrial projects, we deliver the quality results you expect and deserve.

Give us a call at 303.399.7420 or visit our website. Then use our handy online forms to request a free estimate or set up an appointment for your energy-saving upgrades and any of your other electrical needs. We’ve served the Front Range for over 20 years, are top-rated by the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List, and are proud to be listed as a preferred contractor by Home Advisor.