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The uneven energy costs of working from home

The Verge: “The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a sneak peek into how working from home changes electricity demand and what that might mean for Americans’ utility bills. The picture it’s painted so far isn’t very pretty, particularly for anyone who’s already struggling to meet their needs. The transition to remote work is changing our energy system in ways that could worsen racial and economic inequities in the US. Working from home shifts energy costs from employers to workers. That burden is bigger for people who live in older, less efficient homes. “I was either freezing in my house in the winter and trying to work from the kitchen or burning in my house in the summer,” Destenie Nock, an assistant professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, tells The Verge. She lives in a century-old home in Pittsburgh that she says isn’t as well-insulated as newer construction, which became more obvious as she worked from home after the pandemic struck in 2020. Then in the summer, she learned that a neighbor fainted in her home during a heat spell. The air conditioner was broken, and the neighbor didn’t have the funds at the time to fix it. “It was a really clear connection to how lack of energy use can lead to really important health outcomes,” says Nock, who is also the director of the Energy, Equity and Sustainability (EES) Group at Carnegie Mellon…”

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