How to Cut Commuting and Working from Home Emissions 

As businesses strive to reduce their environmental impact, addressing emissions from commuting and working from home has become a top priority. These activities can contribute significantly to a company’s overall carbon footprint especially in industries such as professional services, financial services and technology where there are many knowledge workers who have hybrid working patterns.  

One of the challenges of reducing commuting and home working emissions is that everyone is different, which creates a need for granular data and bespoke actions. However, this is also an opportunity as people work best when they have clear, relevant goals which they can apply in their everyday lives.  

This blog will help you understand the importance of reducing these emissions and provide practical steps to cut them, benefiting both the environment and your company’s sustainability goals. 

Understanding Your Emissions

The first step to reducing your emissions is understanding where they come from. Conducting an employee emissions survey can help identify the main sources of your carbon emissions. This survey might include questions about your travel habits, the type of energy you use at home, and your overall consumption patterns. You can use tools like Giki ES3 to measure, analyse, and reduce commuting and home working emissions with all important cohort analysis.  

Once you have this information, you can create a customised plan to tackle your emissions effectively with interventions for certain groups that will have the highest impact. This personalised approach will also empower employees to take meaningful action and contribute to the company’s overall sustainability efforts. 

Reducing Emissions from Working from Home

The move to home working has the potential to lower emissions, but it also shifts the responsibility of energy consumption to individual employees. Here are some effective strategies to minimise your carbon footprint whilst working from home. 

1. Becoming More Energy Efficient at Home

Improving energy efficiency at home can significantly reduce carbon emissions. Here are some tips to reduce heat usage and be more energy efficient: 

  • Close Doors: Keeping doors closed helps to contain heat within occupied rooms, reducing the energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. 
  • Turn Down the Thermostat: Lowering your thermostat by just 1°C can reduce heating bills by up to 10% and cut emissions. 
  • Cut Out Draughts: Use draught excluders and seal gaps around windows and doors to prevent heat loss, ensuring your heating system works more efficiently. 
  • Unplug Devices: Many devices consume energy even when not in use. Unplugging them can save a surprising amount of electricity. 
  • Energy-Efficient Lighting: Switching to LED bulbs can reduce energy consumption and lower your electricity bill 

2. Installing a Heat Pump

Heat pumps are an excellent alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems. They are highly efficient, using less energy to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. Heat pumps can cut carbon emissions by over 50% due to their efficiency and can reduce emissions even further if powered by renewable energy sources. Unlike conventional systems, heat pumps transfer heat rather than generate it, which makes them much more efficient and environmentally friendly. 

3. Switching to Renewable Energy

One of the most impactful ways to reduce your home emissions is by switching to renewable energy. Many energy providers offer tariffs that source electricity from renewable sources like wind or solar power. Opting for these green energy tariffs can significantly lower your carbon footprint and support the development of renewable energy infrastructure. 

4. Buying Efficient Office Equipment

Investing in energy-efficient office equipment can make a significant difference. Look for devices with high energy efficiency ratings, such as Energy Star in the US or Energy Label in the EU. Efficient equipment not only reduces emissions but can also lower your electricity costs over time. 

Reducing Emissions from Commuting

1. Encouraging Active Travel

Active travel methods like walking and cycling are excellent ways to cut commuting emissions. Employers can support this by providing facilities such as bike racks and showers, making it easier for employees to choose these sustainable options. 

2. Encouraging Public Transport Use

Public transport is generally much more efficient than single-occupancy car travel. Employers can encourage its use by offering subsidies or other incentives for employees who choose public transport. This can reduce traffic congestion and lower overall emissions. 

3. Switching to Electric Cars

Electric vehicles (EVs) are a great way to reduce emissions for each mile driven. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, which significantly cuts down on pollutants. Furthermore, even when accounting for the emissions from battery manufacturing, EVs save a considerable amount of carbon over their lifetime. You can use tools like the Giki EV Life Carbon Calculator to see how much carbon you can save by switching to an EV. Additionally, employers can support this transition by offering salary sacrifice schemes for EVs and providing charging stations at the workplace. 

4. Carpooling

Carpooling is an effective way to reduce emissions per journey. By sharing rides with colleagues, you can significantly cut down on the number of cars on the road, reducing traffic and emissions. Setting up a carpooling scheme can be as simple as organising a ride-sharing calendar or using carpooling apps. 

Getting Employees Behind These Initiatives

To successfully reduce company emissions, it’s essential to get employees on board. This can be achieved through campaigns or educational sessions, such as lunch and learn events. 

Lunch and Learn Sessions

  • EV Salary Sacrifice Scheme: Host a session explaining how the EV salary sacrifice scheme works. Include details on the financial benefits for employees and the environmental advantages of switching to electric vehicles. 
  • Working from Home Checklist: Introduce employees to the Giki’s working from home checklist. This tool can help them understand how to minimise their carbon footprint whilst working remotely. The checklist covers areas like energy usage, efficient heating practices, and selecting green energy providers. 
  • Education on Travel Emissions: Educate employees about the carbon emissions associated with different types of travel. Use comparative data to show the environmental impact of driving alone versus carpooling, using public transport, or cycling. 

Engaging Employees through campaigns and challenges

  • Run campaigns with a challenge to bring people together to take climate action. This can include interactive sessions, a platform with leaderboards and knowledge building.  
  • Introduce incentives for employees who adopt sustainable practices. For example, create challenges with rewards for those who switch to public transport or actively participate in carpooling. 

Reducing emissions from commuting and working from home is not only feasible but also essential for companies aiming to meet their sustainability goals. Understanding emissions at a granular level is a crucial first step which can then be followed up with targeted interventions that allow employees to get behind sustainability goals by cutting carbon on the move and when working from home. 

If you’d like to learn more about Giki’s Commuting and Home Working solution book a call now or get in touch with the form below. 

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