Smart Meters Allow Companies To Monitor Home-Worker Carbon

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A new service could help businesses more easily include remote staff in carbon calculations

Teleworking has been promoted as a way to help companies cut energy use and carbon emissions by cutting staff travel, but there have been problems including the C02 consumption of home-workers in the total used by the business as a whole.

But home energy management specialist AlertMe and energy meter company AMEE have now developed a new service which they believe will allow companies to include the carbon generated by home-workers in any environmental emission totals.

Launched this week, the Carbon Tracker service allows home-workers to use the AlertMe system to track their energy usage. That information is then relayed to AMEE’s infrastructure to convert the energy used into an equivalent amount of carbon. The carbon information is then fed to the home-worker’s company where it can be fed into reporting frameworks required by legislation such as the UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment.

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“With the growing popularity of home-working, the ability to monitor and report on home-workers’ carbon footprint is crucial. The carbon tracker will allow companies to fully understand their organisational carbon footprint, be transparent in their sustainability and auditing programmes and will provide invaluable information on the impact of home-working on the environment,” said Pilgrim Beart, founder and chief executive of AlertMe. “Most importantly this solution is simple for homeworkers to use, removing the manual processes which have held this area back in the past.”

According to AlertME, companies can also purchase add-ons to its service including SmartPlugs which can be used to monitor the energy use of individual appliances including a PC.

AlertMe’s technology attaches to an electricity meter and transmits data via a broadband hub. The AlertMe device costs £69, and requires a £2.99 monthly subscription. The company is partnering with Google’s PowerMeter tool in the UK. The Google service was made available to customers of first:utility – a small gas and electricity provider with around 30,000 customers – from early November.

Although home working has been touted as having benefits in environmental terms, some experts have raised concerns about whether residential networks are equipped to cope with the spike in staff working from home. Businesses may need to re-think remote working strategies in the event of a serious pandemic, as residential Internet networks do not have the bandwidth to cope with a spike in demand, analyst Gartner warned in a report issued this in October.

The UK’s CRC is a mandatory cap on carbon emissions, due to be introduced in April next year, that will apply to large organisations in the public and private sectors and could help cut emissions by 1.2 million tonnes per year by 2020, according to government figures.

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