A study commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) shows that using electronics to telecommute saves the equivalent of 9 to 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — the same amount of energy used by roughly 1 million U.S. households every year.
The findings also indicate the estimated 3.9 million telecommuters in the U.S. reduced gasoline consumption by about 840 million gallons, while curbing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 14 million tons. This level of CO2 reduction is equal to removing 2 million vehicles from the road every year.
The study, The Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impact of Telecommuting and e-Commerce, was commissioned by CEA to determine energy savings and CO2 reductions that result from the nation’s increased use of electronics, such as personal computers and wireless networks.
The CEA study, conducted by TIAX LLC of Cambridge, MA, U.S., found that just one day of telecommuting saves the equivalent of up to 12 hours of an average household’s electricity use. Telecommuting also saves 1.4 gallons of gasoline and reduces CO2 emissions by 17 to 23 kilograms per day, showing the power of one individual to impact their environment in a single day by using electronics. The study focused on workers who spend one or more days working from home each week and considered the energy consumed by telecommuting compared with traditional methods. Telecommuting reduces energy consumption associated with transportation to and from the office and, in some cases, a portion of the energy associated with commercial office space.
If that same worker, with a one-way commute of 22 miles, telecommuted five days a week, she would save about 320 gallons of gasoline and reduce CO2 emissions by 4.5 to 6 tons per year, according to TIAX researchers. She would also save an amount of energy equivalent to roughly 4,000 to 6,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, which is comparable to the electricity consumed by an average household in 4 to 6 months.
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