The COVID-19 pandemic brought lots of changes, including a new remote work from home normal. Over 44% of U.S. employees are currently working from home, and it looks like this trend is here to stay! According to a survey by Gartner, 82% of company leaders plan to allow remote work for their employees after reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic. The work from home model appeals to many, but it is especially attractive for our planet. Transportation is the highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). According to the EPA, the average car emits 404 grams of CO2 per mile. If the average daily US commute is 15 miles, that’s an average of 4.6 metric tons per year! Just think of how much you are already helping, especially if your commute is longer than average. We are already at a great start, but there are other small changes you can make to make your job more sustainable.
Start with your home remote workspace
Although you are already cutting your daily commute, there is a concern for increased energy consumption at home. Consider your neighbors who are also working from home, powering their computers and other electronic devices at the same time as you. They also need to cool or warm their homes during work hours to remain comfortable. This increased grid usage increases the risk of power outages. Right now may be a great time to go solarto help produce your own power! Of course, there are also smaller changes you can make. Consider a smart thermostat that helps cut your energy consumption. Invest in energy-efficient appliances. Not only is this good for the environment, but it could save you money off your energy bill. There are many small changes that can help you reduce your carbon footprint at home.
Create a sustainable home office
Of course one of the most exciting things about working from home may be creating your own workspace. Before you try to find the best office decor or most advanced tech accessories, consider how you can be more sustainable. For example, instead of purchasing stationery, opt for an e-note alternative. Be mindful of what you are buying and ask yourself if it is sustainable. Purchasing a second-hand desk may be easier on your wallet and the environment. Perhaps you already have a desk you can turn into a workspace. Taking advantage of the tools you already have can help create less waste during your transition to remote work. When choosing a good workspace, try setting it up next to a window. Not only is it good for your energy levels, but natural sunlight reduces the need for indoor lighting. Lastly, this is probably the ideal time to adopt a recycling habit. Check out our recycling guide and learn how you can be more environmentally conscious.
Change your routine
Your routine may have already been changed by remote work. Perhaps you are drinking your morning coffee from a mug instead of a disposable office cup. Many offices use single-use cups; if you throw away one cup per day, that is 23 lbs of waste per year! Disposable coffee cups are generally not recycled so cutting this waste is crucial. Once lunchtime comes around, you can do even more for the environment and your bank account. Preparing a warm lunch at home or warming leftovers help you reduce food waste and eat out less. If you need a pick-me-up halfway through the day, make sure you have your pantry and fridge stocked with snacks. On-the-go snacks in offices and convenience stores are usually in single-use packaging. Making an impact on the environment is all about the daily habits you can adapt or change.
Your computer is likely your main work tool, but it is also one of your largest electricity users. To avoid using more energy than you need, change the settings on your work computer. Turn down the brightness; it’s good for your energy bill and easier on your eyes. Set a sleep mode if left unused for 10 minutes and make sure you shut down after your work day is over. Don’t forget to also turn off any printers, speakers, and accessories when they are not in use. Even if you are not actively using them, they are still using energy.
Freedom Forever is here to help you be more sustainable
There are many small changes you can make to be more sustainable while you work from home. As mentioned above, right now is the perfect time to install a solar system. Not only are you spending more time at home, but your electric utility may be benefiting from this. Our independent authorized dealers are happy to discuss your energy needs and how we can design a custom solar system for you.