It used to be working at home was a way to tell the boss to shove it, exit the rat race, work in your jammies and get a few tax benefits in the process.
Now home workers can also boast a green stamp of approval.
That's not just because of the more energy efficient technology today's consumers typically use at home, though that helps, but because staying off the road reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to pollution and climate change.
The Consumer Electronics Association says if a worker with a one-way commute of 22 miles, instead telecommutes five days a week, he or she would save about 320 gallons of gasoline and reduce CO2 emissions by 4.5 to 6 tons per year.
Also, one telecommute days saves the equivalent of up to 12 hours of an average household’s electricity use, saves 1.4 gallons of gasoline and reduces CO2 emissions by 17 to 23 kilograms per day.
In a year, the individual's energy savings would amount to approximately 4,000 to 6,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity -- an amount comparable to the electricity consumed by an average household in 4 to 6 months.
And that's just counting telecommuters -- not home-based businesses.
The study "Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impact of Telecommuting and e-Commerce," focused on workers who spend one or more days working from home each week and considered the energy consumed by telecommuting compared with traditional methods.
CEA commissioned TIAX LLC of Cambridge, MA, to determine energy savings and CO2 reductions that result from the nation’s increased use of electronics, such as personal computers and wireless networks.
TIAX found that the estimated 3.9 million U.S. telecommuters reduced gasoline consumption by about 840 million gallons, while curbing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 14 million tons.
That's equal to removing 2 million vehicles from the road every year.
Using electronics to kickback and telecommute instead of gasoline and road rage saves the equivalent of 9 to 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — the same amount of energy used by roughly 1 million U.S. households every year.
"This report demonstrates that consumer electronics are part of a climate change solution, as the use of electronics is preventing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing fossil fuel consumption," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA.
"Statistics have been available to detail how much energy electronics use, but less was known about the environmental benefits of consumer products developed by our industry when used to communicate and conduct business," Shapiro said in prepared statement.
There's also another "green" benefit associated with telecommuting and working at home -- a $3-a-gallon gasoline savings.
Other studies have shown potential health benefits that come with not being exposed to office workers who refuse to stay home when they are sick.