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Social, traffic and energy effects of home office on ZHAW SoE employees

In this project, financed by the ZHAW School of Engineering (SoE), the Institute for Sustainable Development (INE) together with the Institute of Energy Systems and Fluid Engineering (IEFE) is investigating the social, traffic and energy effects of home office on SoE employees in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial situation and objectives

One of the most important strategies of crisis management that seems to have an effect on the current COVID-19 situation is the increased use of home office. However, when working in home office, the advantages of time savings and more flexible organization of working hours must be weighed against the disadvantages of more difficult management and limited social contacts.

In addition to the epidemiologically positive effects, the widespread use of home office has led to a sharp reduction in the mobility demand - with corresponding energy related effects. However, not only the mobility related energy consumption has changed, but also the energy consumption in private households and in the buildings of ZHAW SoE.

This project therefore aims to investigate the challenges that ZHAW SoE employees were facing in home office during the lockdown and how the mobility behavior of the population as a whole has changed. Furthermore, it will be assessed what effects the increased amount of people working in home office had on private energy consumption and energy consumption in buildings at ZHAW SoE.

Project schedule

WP1 - Acceptance of home office in the current COVID-19 situation by ZHAW SoE employees

A survey is being conducted to find out what problems and needs arose by ZHAW SoE employees working in home office during the lockdown. Based on this, strategies and/or support measures for the future home office operation at ZHAW SoE will be formulated in order to improve and update the current home office model.

WP2 - Change in everyday mobility due to COVID-19 and implications for a sustainability transformation

In a comprehensive meta-study, the links between home office and sustainable mobility are examined. To this end, the publicly available tracking data, some of which has already been consolidated and visualized, will be analyzed to provide a visual and computational representation of individual transportation use and the current mobility behavior of the Swiss population.

WP3 - Effects of home office on energy consumption in private households and buildings of ZHAW SoE

In the last work package, the reduction in energy demand at ZHAW SoE resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will be quantified and compared with the additional demand from home office activities. The basis for the extrapolation is data from individuals, which can be extrapolated to the entire ZHAW SoE. It is based on the projects already carried out at IEFE with detailed measurements as well as the methodological and algorithmic experience of deriving individual devices and activities from a central measurement.

At a glance

Participating Institutes ZHAW:

Project Leader ZHAW:

Staff Members ZHAW INE:

  • Uros Tomic, Raphael Hörler, Michael Stiebe

Project Status:

  • ongoing