Mar 25, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Online calculator measures the climate impact of remote work policies

Illustration of a green round table with the Earth as the top of the table.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An online tool from data analytics startup Watershed enables users to input various kinds of info to help gauge whether changing remote work policies will increase or decrease emissions — and by approximately how much.

How it works: Right now the public calculator from Watershed — whose clients include Shopify and Stripe — models five regions: San Francisco, New York City, Houston, London and Toronto.

  • The calculator arrives as many companies and organizations are giving employees the option to continue remote work — partially or completely — after the pandemic.

Inputs for current policy and projected policy changes include...

  • The number of employees and how many days per week they'll be in the office.
  • Employees' living patterns (suburbs vs. urban cores) and commuting methods — cars, trains or biking and walking.
  • The size of offices, which matters for their use of power and natural gas.
  • Whether the company buys clean power and gives that option for remote workers.

Go deeper: How bitcoin and remote work impact the climate fight

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