How Three Day Weekends Could Save the Environment

The Independent: “A reduction in working hours generally correlates with marked reductions in energy consumption, as economists David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot have argued. In fact, if Americans simply followed European levels of working hours, for example, they would see an estimated 20% reduction in energy use – and hence in carbon emissions.”

“With a four-day week, huge amounts of commuting to and from work could be avoided, as well as the energy outputs from running workplaces. At a point when we need to massively cut back our carbon outputs, instituting a three-day weekend could be the simplest and most elegant way to make our economy more environmentally friendly.”

“It’s happened before. For example, in 2007 the US state of Utah redefined the working week for state employees, with extended hours on Monday to Thursday meaning it could eliminate Fridays entirely. In its first ten months, the move saved the state at least US$1.8m (£1.36m) in energy costs. Fewer working days meant less office lighting, less air conditioning and less time spent running computers and other equipment – all without even reducing the total number of hours worked.”

1 Comment

  1. Let’s see–seven actual working hours in a day, not including overtime. Seven divided by four–not bad. Just work until 6:45. Or arrive a bit earlier, but that’s more problematic for those of us who depend on mass transit, and need our sleep. Some flexibility would be good there.

    Would not work for all jobs, though. And I suppose some workaholic types wouldn’t know what to do with themselves on the extra day off. Well, screw ’em, I do. No end of things to do, and sometimes it’s cool just to do nothing at all.

    Also, additional revenues for many recreation and entertainment oriented businesses. Maybe hard on restaurants that cater to the workforce. Be nice if the lunch hour could go to 90 minutes.

    Well, we can dream. If our forebears hadn’t, we’d still be working a six day week with 12 hour days. If we were lucky.

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