The recent IPCC 2021 Climate Change report has shone a pretty stark light on the world's environmental fate.
The internet and digital content have long been considered as the ‘greener’ alternative, providing a paperless society, significantly reducing deforestation and all things bad for the environment.
The environmental impact of the internet, its infrastructure and the devices that are required to access/use it are often overlooked.
So, before we look at how to reduce your website's carbon footprint, I think you should first know why you need to reduce your carbon footprint.
Energy powers the devices, the infrastructure and the internet that we use to carry out our digital activity. Unfortunately, most of this energy comes at a cost: carbon dioxide emissions.
- Each internet search contributes to the release of roughly 0.2g of carbon dioxide into the earths atmosphere. “0.2g? Pffft that’s nothing” I hear you say. A fair point. But, the 4.1 billion people that use the internet (daily), turn that small and insignificant number into an astronomically large one. And it’s not just a number, that number is a huge environmental problem.
- If the internet were a country, it would place around 6th in the world for global pollution emissions.
It’s not even midday yet and the internet’s daily global CO2 emissions stands at over 1,958,000 tonnes for the day.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom.
As websites are viewed multiple times over by lots and lots of people, even small adjustments can compound into highly beneficial changes for the environment and even your business.
Here’s what you can do to help by reducing your website's carbon footprint.
Like with cutting down your plastic use, reducing your websites ‘waste’ will benefit your carbon footprint.
Regularly audit your website's content to make sure that your website is not cluttered with unnecessary images, videos or chunks of text. Ask yourself, “does my content align with my strategy and website purpose?”. If not, remove it!
Additionally, check that all of your content is formatted/sized correctly and that your file formats are all up to date.
There may be pages of your website that could be more streamlined. Senior editors at the WebDesigner Depot recommend optimising images (using free services such as TinyPNG) and ‘Lazy Loading’ images (loading images as and when required) to help achieve this.
Not only will streamlining your website help to benefit the environment, it will serve to improve the sites loading times, drastically improving the user experience of your website. Research on the BBC found that with every additional second of loading time 10% of users would leave.
Improve User Interface
If your website is easy to navigate round, then people are more likely to find what they’re looking for in less clicks. Less clicks means less pages loaded and less pages loaded means less energy used.
SEO’s (Search Engine Optimisations) are a great way to achieve this. These enable users to easily find what they’re looking for.
This really is another win-win.
68% of website users start their website activity with a search, so not only is it good for the environment, it’s what your users want to use.
Choose a Good Website Host
The host of your site is going to form the primary contributor to your carbon footprint.
Go for hosts that makes use of natural energy resources, or for hosts that have clear & positive environmental policies. Kualo has been highly praised for its green and reliable hosting capabilities.
So to summarise, reducing the carbon footprint of your website will not only benefit the great green earth, it will also help to boost your users website experience. It really is a no brainer.
(By the way, today’s global internet emissions now stand at +2,307,000……)