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Ecologi Zero home working emissions methodology

Explaining how Ecologi Zero allows businesses to account for their home working emissions

Summary - Ecologi Zero combines average UK household energy data with how many days your employees work from home, to calculate the increased energy demand and associated emissions from home office equipment and heating.

Greenhouse gas emissions from remote working have become a growing concern due to the increased number of employees working from home or other remote locations since the COVID-19 pandemic. Ecologi Zero only calculates greenhouse gas emissions from remote working for UK-based employees. It uses the methodology outlined in the EcoAct White Paper, the most widely adopted methodology for calculating home working emissions. Included within this are the following emissions sources: 

  • Electricity consumption: This includes the use of lighting, computers, monitors, and other electronic devices used for remote work.
  • Heating: This includes the energy used to heat the employee's homes (for the period employees work remotely from home during the winter months).

Collecting primary energy usage data (meter readings) from individual employees can be complex and present a barrier to including home working as an emissions source. As such, the total number of days worked remotely by employees for a given period is used to estimate the additional energy consumption of home working. A number of assumptions are made as to employee behaviour and household energy demand as per the EcoAct Whitepaper:

  • Daily working hours - 8 hours 
  • Annual leave allowance - 28 days(incl bank holidays)
  • Renewable energy tariff - All employees are assumed to use standard grid-supplied energy. No employees operate on a renewable tariff or sources via direct onsite renewable generation.  
  • The energy demand of lighting and workstation equipment = 150W. This assumes workstation (laptop/PC, monitor, phone and printer) energy usage = 140W + 10W ( lighting)
  • Natural gas is the fuel source for all central heating systems. 
  • Average energy consumption of a UK household - the average UK household uses 12,000kWh of natural gas each year, 77% of which is used for space heating in central heating systems. 
  • The heating season last 182 days - from October until April 
  • The average household has central heating running for 10 hours per day (this is the time temperature is being regulated and does not mean the boiler is actively heating for the entirety of this time).
  • 2/3 homes would otherwise be unoccupied, resulting in a 66.7% incremental heating demand. (1/3 homes would be occupied regardless of remote working, resulting in no additional heating usage). 
  • The central heating is operational for all hours worked remotely for the six months between October to April. 

No additional energy demand is calculated for the cooling of properties via air-conditioning units, as using such units is not common practise in the UK.

It is important not to input your home workers' energy usage into the energy section to avoid double counting their emissions and allocating them to the wrong scope. The energy section should be reserved when inputting energy usage for your business premises.

If you have any queries related to this information, please do reach out to us at zero@ecologi.com.