Find the Green in Telecommuting

It's inherently green but most home offices can get even greener.

It's inherently green but most home offices can get even greener.

More than one million people telecommute in this nation and the number continues to grow. 

Chicagoan Brian Hugins is one of the million plus that has found more than one advantage to the telecommute.

"The biggest difference I would say is the office chatter," Hugins said.  "You know, there's not the ability for people to come up and just start conversations about nothing or in the middle of something that you're doing.  It allows you to focus on your work a little more efficiently during the day."

It also allows Hugins to work longer hours when he erases his commute from the Loop to the office in Arlington Heights
Wednesdays and Thursdays are telecommuting days for Huggins, who says telecommuting comes along with many misconceptions.

"People often times think, 'Oh you're telecommuting in your pajamas not doing anything,' but I tend to actually work longer hours when I'm telecommuting because I take the commuting time out, and basically it's hard to turn the off switch off, so I find myself working longer at times in the morning and later in the afternoon. Now it's ever better where I don't have that commuting time and I get to spend a little more time with my family and see my son in the afternoons."

Hugins' two days at home isn't that bad on the environment either. 

Energy Dr. George Malek with ComEd crunched the numbers and the result - two days out of the office for Brian cuts his
CO2 emissions and cost by about 40%.

"We're doing a lot to try to find some energy efficiency programs for these consumer electronics," said Malek.  "It's the biggest nut these days around the country to try to crack. About 15 percent of residential consumption is consumer electronics, and 90 percent of that are in these two areas, the entertainment center and the computers or home office."

So how can you make your home office the greenest it can be?

1. Put your PC in sleep mode when its not in use (Energy Star Laptops use much less energy than desktops)

2. Buy a smart strip - because almost all consumer electronics have phantom load

3. Chance lights to CFL

4. Use a programmable thermostat

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