Be part of the future, now. We have shown you how you can save time and money with a live/work property, but what about the planet?
Well, there's great news here too. Because by choosing a live/work lifestyle you are making one of the biggest contributions an individual can make towards the sustainability of the earth. Looking to the future, live/work looks set to become a necessity as much as a choice.
Recycling your domestic glass, cans and paper is all very well, but each gallon of gas used in driving to work emits approximately 19 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. And you're driving to a separate workplace - one that uses gas for heating, electricity for A/C and power - and was built with natural materials that could have been used more sparingly. Isn't this just undoing your other contributions to the fight against global warming, and then some?
One of live/work's key environmental benefits is its huge reduction in the use of precious natural resources:
- one property is constructed, not two (separate home and workspace)
- one property requires power, heat and A/C, not two (major reductions in waste of electricity, gas, water).
- and live/work is often constructed on previously used land
Heating, cooling and lighting one space instead of two obviously uses less carbon. And a live/work space does not have to be heated up only to cool down at night like offices do. It makes full use of property 24/7.
Live/work property can also cut the enormous waste of resources in the process of demolition and new build energy wasted in the construction process. The manufacture of construction materials alone involves a vast amount of heat every year. And because they are heavy, their transportation eats up precious extra energy.
Live/work can provide a new use for buildings no longer required for their original purpose, like warehouses and even factories. Meanwhile live/workers are more likely to shop locally, helping to sustain local business and often doing so on foot. Live/work can also sustain community life too. Somebody who is not stressed by commuting has more free time and energy to participate in local community clubs and associations.
But it's when it comes to commuting that the figures really hit home. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)'s report, The Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impact of Telecommuting, a worker with a one way commute of 22 miles could save around 320 gallons of gasoline and reduce their carbon emissions by between 4.5 and 6 tons per year by working from home instead. They would also save an amount of energy equivalent to around 4,000-6,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, comparable to the amount of electricity consumed by an average household in 4-6 months, as one person requires around 100 square feet of floorspace in an office building.
Their report states that, even taking into account the increase in carbon from home based offices - from lighting, heating, A/C and electronic equipment - the 3.9 million Americans who work from home at least one day a week are saving 840 million gallons of gas and curbing CO2 emissions by almost 14 million tons - the equivalent of removing 2 million vehicles from the road every year. Now imagine the difference it would make if they did that every day!
The average US worker commutes an average of 25 minutes a day, and for some it's much longer. Cutting the amount that people commute by car is fundamental to tackling global warming. By working 'down the wire, rather than down the road', live/workers can play a fundamental part in saving our planet. The CEA's report estimates that 53 million American workers could take up telecommuting, which would represent a pro-rata reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to taking more than 27 million vehicles off US roads annually.
From transport planners' point of view, it is not only the mileage, but the number of trips eliminated that is important - and the time of day they occur. The reduction of regular commuting trips during the morning and evening peaks helps take the pressure off the roads when they are most congested.
The State of California Telecommuting pilot project identified the following benefits when people worked form home not office:
- a 64% decrease in carbon monoxide
- a 61% decrease in nitrogen oxide
- a 27% reduction in personal vehicle trips
- a 39% decrease in cold engine starts
- a 48% reduction in total organic gases emitted.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
As individuals we cannot make a huge difference to global warming. But by joining the growing numbers who work from home, we surely can. The proliferation of high speed broadband and other wireless access has made it much easier and cheaper for people to work from home. A survey by WorldatWork found the number of Americans whose employer allows them to work from home at least one day per month rose by 25 per cent from 9.9 million to 12.4 million between 2005 and 2006.
Straightforward 'push and pull' factors are contributing to live/work's growing appeal. Rising property costs and a growing resistance to commuting and advances in new technology, especially broadband connections, are making live/work increasingly attractive - and the traditional office increasingly less so.
Live/workers are at the leading edge of a lifestyle change that's essential if we are going to effectively tackle global warming. So don't just save yourself time and money, help save the planet...
SUSTAINABLE LIVING- WHAT CAN LIVE/WORK DELIVER?
- no more commuting emissions
- fewer cars on the road in rush hour
- fewer materials used to build unnecessary work premises
- fuel use in one property not two
- 24 hour occupation - no need to heat home or workspace 'from cold'
- one water supply not two
- less land used, old buildings and previously developed land re-used
- enhance 'daytime economy' in neighbourhoods - live/workers spend more than commuters in the local area
- live/work use of buildings typically supports environmentally friendly work eg in the creative, technology and knowledge sectors
- improved neighbourhood security through continual occupation.