Monday, June 30, 2008

New telecommuting statistics show environmental benefits

Sure, telecommuting helps the environment, but where’s the proof? Thanks to Sun Microsystems, we have it.

Sun Microsystems’ Open Work Energy Measurement Project is an internal study comparing energy use at home, in the office and during commuting of more than 100 participants in its flexible work program.

More than half (56%) of Sun Microsystems’ employees around the world work from home or in a flexible office arrangement. The nearly 19,000 employees are part of Sun’s Open Work platform, a program that has been recognized by the Environmental Defense Fund as an innovative example of eco responsibility.

The study found that by reducing time spent in the office to only 2.5 days a week, employees can significantly cut their energy usage and carbon footprint on the environment. Analysts tried to answer the question: “Does Open Work really save energy, or just transfer energy cost and load to employees?”

Here are some key findings:

  • Sun employees saved more than $1,700 per year in gas and vehicle deterioration by working at home an average of 2.5 days a week.
  • Office equipment energy consumption is double that of home office consumption. Only 64 watts per hour of energy consumption is needed at home, compared to 130 watts at the office.
  • Commuting was 98% of each employee’s carbon footprint for work, compared to less than 1.7% of total carbon emissions to power office equipment.
  • Eliminating commuting to just 2.5 days per week, employees reduce energy used for work by the equivalent of 5,400 Kilowatt hours/year.
  • Working from home 2.5 days per week saved the employees in the study an average of 2.5 weeks of commute time (8 hours/day, 5 days/week).

Well, there’s the proof, take it or leave it.

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