Spain saves up to 4 million tons of CO2 emissions by working from home

by Lorraine Williamson
CO2 emissions saved
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MADRID – Working from home in Spain can save up to 4 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. Research into sustainability shows that 34% of Spaniards can work from home. This allows each employee to save approximately 599 kilos of CO2 emissions per year. 

This was reported by the Spanish news site silicon.es earlier this month. Working from home is a means that was initially used to prevent travel movements – and thus infections. Maintaining this way of working apparently has a huge positive effect on the environment. 

Every Spanish home worker can save 599 kilos of CO2 emissions 

The Vodafone Institute for Society and Communication commissioned a study from Carbon Trust, an independent partner organisation that helps companies to become more sustainable. An estimate within this study shows that Spain can save almost 4 million tons of CO2 emissions per year in the future thanks to remote working. For each employee who works from home, this amounts to 599 kilos of CO2 per year. 

34% Spanish jobs can be done remotely 

34% of jobs in Spain (a total of 6.52 million jobs) can be done remotely with an average of 2.8 working days from home per week. This not only means less commuting, but also lower emissions from the relevant industrial sites. 

This saving was already apparent during the first period of the pandemic between March 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Then Spaniards had an average of 3.6 working days at home per week. This saved no less than 890 kilos of CO2 per employee. 

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Air conditioning for every Spanish employee less efficient than in the office 

A side note within this study is that the consumption of cooling systems during the hot summer months in Spain must be taken into account. The use of air conditioners in office buildings appears to be more efficient than in homes; the emission of this is 3.49 kilos of CO2 per day at the office compared to 5.78 kilos of CO2 per day for an employee who works from home. 

More than 12% Spaniards have been working from home since Covid-19 

The Spanish news site Xataka.com reports that an average of 12.3% of Spaniards worked from home during the corona pandemic. During the first quarter of 2021, this percentage was 11.2%, more than 2.1 million Spaniards who worked from home for more than half of their contract hours. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, between 3.6-4.8% of Spaniards worked from home. These figures appear from a report by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. 

This report also showed that many working Spaniards have now found their way back to the office. In the second quarter of 2020, during one of the corona peaks, 16.2% of Spaniards worked from home. With the percentage of 12.3%, Spain places itself between the average of other EU countries, but Spain scores a lot lower compared to countries such as Finland (25.1% home workers) and Luxembourg (23.1% home workers). 

In-depth research shows that women – and mothers in particular – work from home more often than men. There is also more working from home in Madrid, Catalonia and Asturias than in other Spanish regions. 

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