Saturday, February 17, 2007

Working From Home Day

Working from Home Day May 18th - Are you insulated?

‘Many people can easily do their jobs from home……….Working from home also significantly improves productivity, enabling businesses to be more competitive, and enhances work-life balance for staff, with added health and leisure benefits.’ Fine as far as it goes, but with the current emphasis on climate change, what about the home environment?

As more and more PLCs, government bodies, local government and small businesses send their employees home to work, the responsibility for carbon footprint shifts from the employer to the employee. The employee turns up the central heating, or, if working in the loft conversion, rushes to the local DIY store to buy an air-conditioning unit. The badly insulated homes of Britain already generate more than 25% of the UK’s CO2. The more people work from home, the easier it is for employers to appear to lower their organisation’s carbon footprint.

Some forward thinking businesses, and many of the self-employed, are building garden offices. Many garden office buildings are too small to require Building Regulations and hence lack an adequate level of insulation. Purchasers often don’t realise that larger garden offices [over 30sq m floor space or smaller offices built within a metre of the garden fence] are subject to building regs and should be highly insulated. Because garden buildings often escape building regulations, companies offering these buildings can claim that their offices are ‘fully insulated’ without providing a clear definition. ‘Fully insulated’ can mean anything from 40mm [bad] to 200mm[good] of insulation materials in some or all of the buildings surfaces.

So, will we become a nation of home workers huddled next to the central heating radiator in winter and turning up the air-conditioning in summer or can we hope to see employers offering insulation grants, instead of cars as the latest company perk?