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Towards a conceptual framework of direct and indirect environmental effects of co-working

Reference Type: 

Conference Paper

Vaddadi, B., J. Pohl, J. Bieser, and A. Kramers. 2020. “Towards a Conceptual Framework of Direct and Indirect Environmental Effects of Co-Working.” In , 27–35.

Through virtual presence, information and communication technology (ICT) allows employees to work from places other than their employer's office and reduce commuting-related environmental effects (telecommuting). Working from a local co-working space, as a form of telecommuting, has the potential to significantly reduce commuting and is not associated with deficits of working from home (e.g. isolation, lack of focus). However, environmental burden might increase through co-working due to the infrastructure required to set-up and operate the co-working space and potential rebound effects. In this paper, we (1) develop a framework of direct and indirect environmental effects of co-working based on a well-known conceptual framework of environmental effects of ICT and, (2) apply the framework to investigate the case of a co-working living lab established in Stockholm. Based on interviews and surveys conducted with co-workers in the living lab and infrastructure data of the co-working space, we roughly estimate associated energy impacts. Results show that energy requirements associated with operating the co-working space can counterbalance commute-related energy savings. Thus, in order to realize energy savings co-working should be accompanied with additional energy saving measures such as a net reduction of (heated) floor space (at the co-working space, at the employer's office and the co-workers home) and use of energy-efficient transport modes. © 2020 ACM.

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