Green benefits of telework aren't just for Earth Day

Telecommuting helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, study says

Many people are choosing not to drive to work on April 22 and instead work from home in honor of Earth Day. They might also use less energy and green up their environments any way they can.

According to Earthday.org’s "A Billion Acts of Green" blog, people choose to telework for various reasons.

“By teleworking, I reduce [my] carbon footprint: no exhaust pollution,” comments Angela LeFall. Teleworking also reduces congestion on highways and streets, and reduces the wear and tear on public property, such as streets, buses, trains, etc., she adds.

And if people telework more frequently, Earth Day initiatives can have far-reaching effects in daily life.

A recent telecommuting study conducted by the American Consumer Institute said greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by about 588 tons in the next decade if another 10 percent of the workforce jumped into the movement, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A number of federal agencies are doing their part thanks to the Telework Enhancement Act signed by President Barack Obama in December 2010, which requires all agencies to develop telework policies.

For example, thousands of Defense Information Systems Agency employees relocating to Fort Meade, Md., are being encouraged to telework because many of them still live in Northern Virginia.

Other environmental benefits of teleworking include fewer dry-cleaning chemicals being used and workers saving money on child care. In addition, firms “will need less equipment, office space, parking spaces,” the American Consumer Institute study states.

Telework arrangements also allow professionals to control their work environments.

"Teleworkers can…control their own work waste at home by reducing paper usage, increasing recycling efforts, using CFL or LED light bulbs, opting for windows and fans instead of air conditioning, and turning off electrical appliances when they’re not in use,” writes Sara Sutton Fell on her "Broadband for America" blog.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

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