Yao Shi, Steve Sorrell and Timothy Foxon
Despite decades of research on the environmental impacts of teleworking, most studies have neglected building-related energy use and emissions. Even fewer studies have explored the relative influence of different variables on those emissions. This study therefore explores the building-related emissions from teleworking in England using data from the UK Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) database over the period 2008 to 2022. We use a building energy model to estimate the additional emissions associated with different patterns of teleworking, including variations in heated area and internal temperature. We combine our results with a separate set of estimates of the transport-related emissions. We also employ global sensitivity analysis to identify the relative importance of different variables.
We find that English teleworkers have significantly higher emissions than non-teleworkers. Considering both transport and domestic building emissions, working from home 3–5 days/week leads to 3% less to 17% more carbon emissions than conventional work patterns depending on the heating area, heating system heating time and required temperature. We find that heating area has the biggest influence on building emissions, followed by the number of heating hours, wall insulation and the efficiency performance and carbon intensity of the heating system.
Shi, S., Sorrell, S. and Foxon, T. 2023. The impact of teleworking on domestic energy use and carbon emissions: An assessment for England. Energy and Buildings, 287: 112996. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2023.112996Opens in a new tabOpen access
Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash