The study presented in this Research Seminar explores the effect of shifts in teleworking and work related commuting patterns on energy consumption in the domestics sector during the 2020 spring lockdown in the UK, and its wider implications towards achieving lower carbon footprint. Smart meter data from 1,164 participating households shows that it could have been the case that homeworking shifted electricity demand away from the peak, at high carbon content, to other times of the day, at lower carbon content. As a result, weekly electricity consumption rose by 10.3% on average during lockdown. This may indicate great potential for a nation wide systems based change alongside behavioural changes to further reduce carbon emissions in the future. Isolating from the effect of the grid’s carbon intensity being lower, electricity driven emissions among participating households increased by a few percentage points less then consumption, which indicates that a smoothing of demand has a positive impact already. The authors then control for work related changes in household occupancy during lockdown in their sample of 452 survey respondents. Not only do their results show that working from home accounts for a significant share of the lockdown effect on electricity driven emissions, but overall, the household carbon emissions largely decreased in response to changes in commuting patterns. Reductions in carbon emissions are estimated to approach 29% on average, and by far offset the rise in electricity driven emissions during the same period of time. This is an avenue for companies to reduce their environmental footprint by implementing flexible working scheme and allowing employees to work from home.
Environmental, energy, and ecological problems have grown faster than their solutions. Economists have an important role to play to address these issues by using the latest science, rigorous methods and innovative policy solutions. The SWEEEP webinar series aims to convene the academic community to contribute to the scientific, economic, and policy discourses on important environmental and energy issues.
The seminar presentations are scheduled to last 60 minutes, with questions at the end.
The European Institute on Economics and the Environment is a partnership between Resources for the Future and Foundation CMCC. EIEE’s impartial economic and environmental research aims to facilitate the transition to a sustainable, inclusive society.
Contact: Professor Massimo Tavoni
The Energy Management research team at the Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) combines research on economics, strategic management, technology innovation and energy policy in order to create and share knowledge that will help society move towards a low-carbon future.
Contact: Professor Sébastien Houde
The ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research is a leading German economic policy institute and a member of the Leibniz Association. ZEW's applied research aims to study and help design well-performing markets and institutions in Europe. In particular, it seeks to understand how to create a market framework that will enable the sustainable and efficient development of European economies.
Contact: Professor Sebastian Rausch
The Centre for Energy Policy and Economics (CEPE) was established in 1999 to complement the natural science and technical-oriented disciplines at ETH Zurich, by contributing to research and teaching in energy policy and economics. Through rigorous application of modern empirical methods, the goal of CEPE is to make critical contributions to the design and evaluation of energy and climate policy instruments.
Contact: Professor Massimo Filippini
Please contact Marc Frick if you wish to participate in the online seminar.