Telecommuting Worse for the Environment

Telecommuting, a new report finds, increases home energy use by 30%.© csu.edu.au

In a surprise reversal of the notion that working from home or shopping online is an environmental alternative to driving, a new study finds that both activities increase one’s carbon emissions. A report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology found that telecommuting increases home energy use as much as 30%. It also increases the likelihood that someone will live far from a workplace or urban center, which drives up sprawl and pollution.

Shopping online has the potential to improve one’s carbon emissions picture, but only in specific circumstances, accoring to the report. One has to buy enough products—25 simultaneously—or replace a shopping trip that would otherwise require a significant drive.

Professor Phil Blythe Chair of the IET Transport Policy Panel says: "Our report highlights two important messages for policy makers. Firstly, climate change is a real threat to our planet, so we must not get overwhelmed by the task and use rebound effects as an excuse not to act.

"Secondly, policy makers must do their homework to ensure that rebound effects do not negate the positive benefits of their policy initiatives and simply move carbon emissions from one sector to another."

SOURCE: Science Daily.

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