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These days we are all talking about reducing the carbon footprint of everything. I am glad that we finally reached the point were everything gets questioned and reviewed!
When using the Internet we normally do not think about carbon emissions. For us the Internet is mostly clean, something immaterial, with no real carbon footprint.
But that is far from the truth, the internet has a very real environmental impact. Energy consumption and emissions from pure internet usage are huge.
Electricity is required to power servers, data centers, computers, telecommunication, networks and all the smart devices that access the Internet. By accessing a single website between 20 – 300mg of CO2 are emitted.
About 2% of global carbon emissions come from electricity used by the internet (830 million tons of CO2 every year). Electricity mostly produced through coal, natural gas and oil. That is comparable to the aviation industry, that is constantly named the worst polluting industry.
Germany is currently on place 11 within Europe, when it comes to its pollution index.
Every possible angle should be used, to improve carbon emissions in the future, which includes the internet, websites and devices used.
One critical aspect of carbon emissions, are the increase of data consumption. All of us do more and more Youtube, Amazon and Netflix streaming. Most of the websites today are 4-5 times as big, as they were back in 2010.
This shows us , that things have to change and that trend can not continue.
You can use the free tool at WebsiteCarbon.com to estimate your CO2 emissions per page view.
portalZINE uses around 0.41g – 0.47g of CO2 per visit.
The website provides you with a yearly estimate and what that effectively can be compared to!
Having benchmarked your website or your competitors website, you get a pretty good idea how much carbon is emitted by using the website.
What I can help you with, is reduce the size of every current page. You have to know, that optimizing old pages is always limited by the current host and tools in use.
If you want to start fresh, its even better as that will lead to the highest size & weight optimisation possible.
The goal is to make the website as light and small as possible, only loading what is needed, without compromising aesthetics and functionality. Many talk about the <1MB limit, but that has to be judged case by case.
GREENTONIC is my partner of choice, when it comes to sustainable / low carbon webdesign.
We have worked together on many projects. They know how a modern, fresh and slim website should look like and perform. They use the right tools to work efficiently and deliver stunning results.
We both signed the Sustainable Web Manifesto.
Another important point is your hosting provider.
You should use a low carbon / green hosting provider. A host that is using green energy / compensation for its services.
portalZINE is hosted at Hetzner,which is part of the Green Web Foundation. You can check, if your hoster is part of the Foundation.
Don’t be fouled, there are many green hosting providers out there, but many are expensive and often provide limited performance & features. There are many server-side features, that help optimise websites and deliver with a lower carbon footprint. So less is not always better.
Reference: The Green Web Foundation, Pollution Index, Page Weight Report, Website Carbon Calculator, Sustainable Web Manifesto, EcoGrader , jetzt – CO2 Verbrauch durch Streaming & Google, SWR – Ökobilanz eines Mausklicks, SZ – Wie klimaschädlich ist die Digitalisierung?, FR – Das Internet erzeugt so viel Emissionen wie der Flugverkehr, Oeko.eu, Deutschlandfunk Nova, Naturefund – CO2 – Rechner, heise – Wie Digitalisierung das Klima belastet, Umwelt Bundesamt – Treibhausgas-Emissionen in Deutschland, ZDF – Stromfresser Internet, WWF – Klimarechner, NDR