Work from home
Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Both my partner and I work from home now, and we love it!
PV design is a job that is 100% perfect for working from home. Every part of it is done remotely and all the tasks are quantifiable. Meetings involve team members from all over the country so they were online anyway. There was no reason to ask employees to come into the office. Once the pandemic forced my employer to try allowing remote work, they quickly realized it made their operations more efficient, and authorized all of the PV designers to work from home full-time, indefinitely. They were able to let go of some of the office space they had rented downtown, and save money. And the employees, including me, no longer had to commute.
Working from home has certainly saved carbon emissions for me. If I had been required to drive to the downtown Denver offices of my new employer, I'd be using more than a gallon of gasoline a day even driving an efficient PHEV. That means in a year, I'm saving 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide by not commuting. The laptop and 2 external monitors I use at home are exactly the same equipment I would have been using at the office, but at home they are powered by off-grid PV, so that saves carbon emissions. I don't need any lighting at home, while the office is artificially lit, so that's an advantage for home work, too. And none of the other energy expenditures of my home changed at all.
Not only has working from home been a more climate-friendly lifestyle for me, it has also afforded me the time to exercise more regularly. I've gained muscle mass, and feel much sturdier mentally as well as physically. Being able to set my own hours instead of rushing every morning to arrive at school on time has reduced the stress in my life dramatically.
Now if I travel by car, it is by choice. I consolidate my errands into one trip to town a weekend for supplies, and use 100% electricity to do so, hardly putting any gas in my car at all.