Deleting emails and switching to LED lights: Small ways to reduce carbon footprint from home – Global News

While leaving the office behind cuts down on vehicle emissions, remote work can tangibly increase carbon emissions, as discovered by Purdue University, Yale University and Massachusetts Institution of Technology.

The collaborative study unveiled some not-so-surprising pandemic work trends, including a 20 per cent surge in internet use and a reduction in travel-related CO2 emissions. What is pressing, however, is remote work’s environmental impacts. The study predicts that the work could contribute another 34.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions if the trend continues until 2021.

In addition, the study pegs the total energy consumption of data centres at one per cent of the global total. This, the report says, is higher than the energy consumption of many countries, and the figure will continue to rise as more applications and services take to the cloud.

Breaking down the figures more, the report noted internet use has a carbon footprint of 28 to 63 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per gigabyte. Although technology improvement is constantly increasing efficiency, it can’t scale against the demand for better services.

There are peripheral environmental damages to working remote as well. Whereas office buildings order supplies in bulk, they’re now being shipped in smaller quantities to houses which increase delivery transport emissions.

So what can remote workers reduce their carbon footprint? Global News reporter Madison Wong noted the following tips in her article:

  • Turning off cameras during remote meetings can reduce the meeting’s carbon footprints by 96 per cent.
  • Streaming in standard definition as opposed to high definition can cut down carbon dioxide levels by 86 per cent.
  • Moderate the air conditioning or use a smart thermostat.
  • Buy supplies in bulk and buy local.
  • Delete old emails and cloud storage.
  • Switch to LED lightbulbs.
  • Make small adjustments to reducing waste, they’ll build up over time.

In the end, the article noted that not everyone needs to do all of these things at once, even making one or two changes can amount to large reductions if we do them together.

Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

ITW in your inbox

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

More Best of The Web