In light of the COP26 Conference in Glasgow, we thought it would be useful to take a look at the environmental impact of our industry, specifically - how eco-friendly is your website?
Now, on the face of it, it might not feel like your internet usage is burning much energy (there's no smoke coming from your screen, usually!). However, the internet does use a lot of electricity from the grid, which doesn't yet use 100% renewable energy sources.
There are three distinct areas of electricity usage to consider:
There are tools available to calculate the impact of your website based on data transmission which can accurately measure and represent kWh per GB and CO2 per kWh, such as Digital Beacon.
If your website's environmental score comes out worse than you'd like it to be, there are some small changes you can make to improve the eco-friendliness of your website and your overall digital carbon footprint:
Many of these suggestions are also great for the optimisation of your website generally. For more ideas on how to trim your energy usage, check out the BBC's Smart Guide to Climate Change; it includes some interesting stats, for example, on the CO₂ emissions from the 2017 song Despacito and why you should cut the 'thank you' emails.
According to goclimate.com, some of the big-name cloud servers are already 100% green, including Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
Amazon AWS is green in a few regions including Europe (Frankfurt) and Europe (Ireland), but they are aiming to power their operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025. They're also looking at their water use for cooling their data centres. See more on AWS's sustainability plans here.
But let's not forget the benefits of the internet; it helps us reduce our carbon footprints in other ways. For example, video calls, which we've all had plenty of experience of during the pandemic, cut down plenty of unnecessary journeys and flights worldwide for face-to-face meetings.
No, but we should be mindful of our digital usage, alongside everything else we consider. As responsible digital users of the 21st century, we should take any small steps we can to help reduce our carbon footprints for tomorrow's world.
If you're an existing client and want to talk about how you can make your web systems more energy efficient, have a chat with us at our next meeting.
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