Save the planet - work from home
In my last post i revealed how dirty a fiber network can be depending on the source of electricity powering the network. I showed how a typcial 24-port access switch might contribute anything between 23kg to 485kg of carbon dioxide per year to the atmosphere depending on the electricity mix and how that can be reduced with lowpower optical modules.
A key benefit that fiber networks enable is effective telecommuting - working from home or remote locations. The higher bandwidth provided by fiber and the cloudification of many applications allow more people to work from home. Obviously not all jobs can be performed remotely, but many can. I'll use myself as an example.
I am fortunate, I have only 9 kilometers between my home and the office - most people probably have a much longer drive. If you do then you can mulitply my numbers to match your distance. Since I am lazy person I take the car. I used to have a Volkswagen Passat that probably released somewhere around 190g CO2 per km. Taking the car to and from the office one day would then contribute 3.4kg of CO2 to the atmosphere. If I do that 200 days per year it totals 684 kg of CO2 - way more than that access switch.
I also have a fiber connection and can pretty much do everything except mess around in the lab and meet people in person from my home office. If I had worked from home one day every two weeks (10% of the time) that would have saved 68 kg of CO2 emission driving that Passat which is more than enough for the combined power consumption for that access switch for a year. So I would have compensated for me and all my neighbours and then some just by working from home 20 days per year. What if a few of my neighbours also would work from home? Not using a fossil-fueled car makes a significant difference.
Table: CO2 per km from www.bilsvar.se
|Car||20 km per day||20 km for 200 days|
|Volkswagen Passat 2010||3.8 kg||760 kg|
|Volvo V70 2015 diesel||2.2 kg||436 kg|
|Toyota Prius Hybrid 2014||1.0 kg||204 kg|
Table: CO2 share of one port of 24-port access switch based on power mix
|Country||1/24 port CO2 per day||1/24 port CO2 for 200 days|
|Sweden||2.6 g||0.5 kg|
|Germany||11 g||2.2 kg|
|Poland||33 g||6.5 kg|
|Estonia||55 g||11 kg|
Today I drive a Hyundai Ioniq BEV - 100% electric. I cost me about 3 kWh roundtrip to the office and I'm charging at home. My electricity supposedly comes from renewable sources but the carbon mix for Sweden according to electricitymap.org in my last post was around 55g per kWh so using that it yields 165g CO2 back and forth or 33 kg CO2 per 200-work days.
So there you have it. 684kg CO2 for that car carrying one guy to to work changing to 33 kg for that same guy by going completely electric, or 0.5kg for my share of that access switch for 200 days if I were to park the car permanently and work from home instead.
In addition to enabling work from home more effectively than other communication technologies, fiber networks also drive the digital economy. We can do more things from home; shop for groceries (and have them delivered), have a doctor's appointment, have vast video libraries directly in our living room (saving a trip to the movies) etc. All of these are additional examples where we can park that car and make more from home instead. So fiber networks are also a significant investment into a better environment, but it all depends on clean energy.
What about meeting people then? That one thing a video call can't really replace?
Well, why not take a walk in your neighborhood. Perhaps you'll meet with your neighboring users instead.