COVID has done a lot to our world and not all of it negative, one such development is the "work from home" era we find ourselves in or exiting recently (maybe going back to with Omicron) and it proved something for many companies and not all, but many. That is our ability to be effective from home is at this point undeniable as any business able to make the transition to remote operations now has the experience and infrastructure in place to support it.
This has me thinking about ways that we can leverage the ability towards sustainability outside of a blanket "work from home" plan for eternity.
What I can see as possible however is an environment where companies create sustainability initiatives that leverage the workplace flexibility for the benefit of the environment and we can start "small".
Why couldn't a large office building create a standard for office workdays around the outside conditions?
To illustrate this the below chart shows the KW use for a large office building in Michigan during the hottest week last summer. The image illustrates the great reduction in power that is seen when adjusting to an unoccupied setting in your building. Within the same week, we see the power use of the occupied settings in the building as evident by the daily "waves" in the data. What adds to the interest of this is the difference in power usage between a "normal" (3000KW) day here and an "extreme" (3700KW) day in Michigan which is a major impact when viewed across a large portfolio or city over time. If this building is having a high output then it also means others in the region are doing the same which places a huge strain on the power grid and causes fear of rolling "brownouts" during these events.
Maybe we can take our new work from home experience and use that to extend the beautiful low KW use of the weekend in the above example into the first two days of that week in which the KW demand goes so high. This would not only reduce the carbon output but also allow the Utility providers some relief when understanding the needs they will expect to see across the local grid. Would you be excepting of an environment that gave you a "work from home" option if you could not work in "unoccupied" conditions (likely something of a 65-85 degree deadband) in order to have a positive impact on the environment?
I would be interested to hear any feedback on the concept!