Sparking Change: electricity consumption, carbon emissions and working time

At a glance:

March 2020


  • A new study from the Autonomy has found that a three-day weekend (4 day week) would reduce UK carbon emissions by 117 thousand tons of CO2 per week (the equivalent to removing over 1.3 million cars off the road annually).


  • Simply making Friday a day off, the UK would reduce its carbon emissions stemming from electricity production by up to 24% – reducing the entire energy sector’s emissions by 5%.


  • This reduction in electricity use would be compounded by the amount of carbon-intensive commuting that would be eliminated due to a four-day week (or three-day weekend). Reduced electricity use and fewer cars on the road would make a serious dent in our carbon footprint.


  • It provides yet another reason why shorter working weeks would swiftly and substantially contribute to meeting the target of reducing the UK’s overall carbon footprint by 7.6% each year for the next decade.

Click here to read or download the paper

Will Stronge, Director of Autonomy, says:  


“This paper is an important intervention into both the debate around working time, but also the debate around the green economy and any plan to decarbonise the UK. Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them. Nonetheless, as Denes Csala’s paper and other research has shown, working time reduction is a relatively cheap, yet high-impact strategy for governments to adopt. Meeting our carbon reduction targets is not up for debate – this is the planet that we live on after all. We hope that nuanced research such as this can help track a path as to how to get there efficiently and in a way that works for the country as a whole”