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Working from home could cost £45 per month more this winter

Employees working from home this winter because of the COVID-19 pandemic could spend more than £45 per month extra on heating and electricity, according to new research by Nottingham Trent University.

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Working from home could be costly for some

Working from home could cost some households £45 per month more this winter

Employees working from home this winter because of the COVID-19 pandemic could spend more than £45 per month extra on heating and electricity, according to new research by Nottingham Trent University.

A study led by Professor Amin Al-Habaibeh, an expert in energy efficiency and intelligent engineering systems, shows that people in England’s 600,000 most inefficient properties could face almost an extra £28 in heating bills per month while the average pandemic home worker will pay more than £17 extra on electricity.

However, those who previously commuted long distances to work, and who live in energy efficient properties, could make savings by working from home and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.

Professor Al-Habaibeh, of the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many people to work from home and this clearly has a major effect on domestic energy consumption, as well as the nature of our carbon emissions.

“The results show that a family living in a well-insulated home and who normally use a car to travel to work will not be affected significantly in terms of their household budget, as they will save on diesel or petrol.

“It also shows that the increase of carbon emissions from heating their homes will on the whole be compensated by the reduction in car use.

“But for a family with a poorly insulated house who in normal circumstances do not travel long distances to work, working from home over winter will cause much more of a strain on their budget as they will be consuming more energy.”

The most inefficient homes according to the research are detached and uninsulated. There are roughly 600,000 properties like this in England alone.

By contrast, properties that are very well insulated –with a gas fired boiler - will experience a heating bill rise by between £1.31 to £4.20 per month, depending on the property type, according to the study.

The average electricity bill per household will increase by up to £17.97 per month, according to the study, due to increased daytime use of electrical appliances such as TVs, desktops, laptops, lighting and electric kettles.

Therefore, people working in the most poorly insulated homes, who before spent very little when commuting, could spend around £45 per month extra on energy bills due to working from home during this winter.

On average, the researchers believe that the increase in domestic CO2 pollution would be largely offset by the reduction in fumes from motor vehicles due to fewer people driving to work and the reduction of activity in the industrial sector.

The calculations are based on the assumption of occupants working five days per week at home between 9am-5pm, at a room temperature of 21oC.

Researcher Arijit Sen, who worked on the project, said: “There is clearly a risk highlighted here that households which already suffer from energy poverty could experience a worse financial situation during a winter lockdown if they are working from home.

“While many people in employment will be better off financially due to the current situation, there will be a number of people who will find working from home a much more expensive option for them. This project shows the importance of building insulation and its effect on household budget.”

  • Notes for editors

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    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2020 National Student Survey, above the sector average of 83%.

Working from home could cost £45 per month more this winter

Published on 9 December 2020
  • Category: Press office; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

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