Working from home might be less sustainable and more costly than you think

As the colder weather approaches, businesses need to be looking for sustainable heating solutions to support their home workers and reduce their carbon footprint.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen businesses adopt flexible working practices at an unprecedented rate and it looks like these new practices may be here to stay. As a result, the onus is being placed on organisations to ensure their employees receive the necessary support and office equipment to create an appropriate home working environment.

Employers have a duty of care towards the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff and this extends to those working from home. Having the right chair, computer monitor, lighting and heating are all important considerations when it comes to looking after your employees and maintaining their productivity.

Home working can increase a business’s carbon footprint. Environmental consultants WSP compared the carbon output of 200 WSP employees commuting to the office and working from home. The study found that if employees worked at home all year round, each would produce 2.5 tonnes of carbon per year – around 80% more than an office worker. This is because most domestic heating systems in Britain heat the whole house, not specific rooms, which produce far more carbon emissions than would be produced from the commute.

Achieving the correct working temperature has not been an issue since ‘lock-down’ began as we have had a warm spring and summer. However, as winter approaches, home heating will be required during the working day, when in the past it has not been needed. This means employees working from home will be faced with an increase in their heating bill of at least 30% or more, depending on how warm they like to be.

With most houses on a central heating system, the boiler has to run the same regardless of whether it is heating one room or the whole house. A three bedroom house with a 24 kW gas boiler will use 24 kWh of energy per hour at approximately 3.8 pence per kWh, which means it would cost around £0.91/hr to heat the ‘home office’ room. For a larger house with a 35 kW gas boiler, the running cost would be £1.33/hr. If the property is off-gas and uses oil, LPG or electric heating then the cost per hour will be significantly more, as will be the case if the property has a larger boiler.

One solution is to avoid heating the whole house during the day by treating the ‘home office’ as a separate heating zone using a LAVA Infrared DM system. Another option is just to warm the immediate desk area with a LAVA Desk infrared heater – one of the most efficient and comfortable heating solutions available. The LAVA Desk costs a maximum of 1.7 pence/hr to run, saving £35.50/week for a home worker living in a three bedroom house, working 40 hours a week.

Our fully controllable infrared home office heating products ensure a healthy, safe, silent, cost effective and energy efficient heating solution. The LAVA infrared heaters produce gentle, long-wave infrared which directly warms people just like the sun; this gives unrivaled levels of thermal comfort.

Our sustainable home working heating solutions include:

LAVA Desk 2.0 Infrared panel

LAVA Desk 120

Application: desk heating for lower body
Installation: desk mounted/free-standing (plug & play)
Controls: 3-step variable heat output and timer
Running Cost: £0.09/day (8 hour period)
RoI: <6 weeks (3-bed house with gas central heating, 40 hours/week)
Product guarantee: 5 years

LAVA Infrared with wireless controls

LAVA Infrared 350DM system

Application: ambient heating for home office
Installation: wall mounted/free-standing (plug & play)
Controls: wireless programmable thermostat
Running cost: £0.20/day (8 hour period)
RoI: <15 weeks (3-bed house with gas central heating, 40 hours/week)
Product guarantee: 5 years

Foot warming mat

Foot warming mat

Application: supplementary heating to prevent cold feet
Installation: free-standing (plug & play)
Controls: on/off switch
Running Cost: £0.09/day (8 hour period)
RoI: N/A
Product guarantee: 5 years