Teleworking: energy savings poorly shared

Office notebook. Has telework generated an additional energy cost? And for whom? If the heating bill for home employees may have increased during the winter of 2020, companies have instead saved money.

The Association of Directors of the Work Environment (Arseg), which collects the various indicators of the general services of some 150 companies each year, has just established that the average cost per square meter of electricity consumption has fallen in 2020 The majority of companies questioned by Arseg are large organizations in the tertiary sector comprising between 500 and 2,000 workstations installed on an area varying from 10,000 to 40,000 m².

During the first year of the pandemic, their electricity costs were reduced by one euro for each square meter, from 16 euros to 15 euros per square meter. This decrease, which may seem modest on this scale, “Is such that it has absorbed the increase in the price per kilowatt hour, reveals Mario Fernandez, head of studies & prospective at Arseg. However, it is less strong than might have been expected for 2020. Some expenditures, such as almost empty buildings that remained lit, could have been avoided. “ he specifies.

The industry mainly concerned

On a national level, “In 2020, there was a clear impact of the health crisis on electricity consumption, linked to the drop in activity and the closure of sites”, explains an EDF spokesperson. The industry sector was mainly affected with a 10% drop in electricity consumption compared to 2019; automobile manufacturing, steel industry and rail transport even saw a drop of up to 20-25% in 2020, “But the telework effect is still difficult to analyze”, indicates a spokesperson for RTE, the operator of the electricity transmission network.

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In companies, savings were made on “Electricity per workstation, lighting and air conditioning costs at the start of the pandemic. But from the second confinement [à partir de fin octobre 2020], it was less obvious, emphasizes Arseg President Latifa Hakkou. With the introduction of limited teleworking, heating and air conditioning were maintained. Renewed air had to be propelled into all the buildings, as required by the health safety protocol. It increased the expenses. Some companies whose employees were partially teleworked only made a small saving ”.

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