Sustainable Web Development
Sustainable Web Development is the approach of making the internet a cleaner, greener place, by reducing carbon footprint of websites.
Did you know visiting 8.5 websites produces the same amount of CO2 as boiling an electric kettle to make a cup of tea!
What's the problem?
The internet is a pretty bad for the planet. If the internet was a country, it would rank sixth for electricity usage. From how we store and host web pages in Data Centres, to our devices like phones, laptops and then how we transmit this data to them; it all needs electricity to run.
"In fact, if you add it all together, the internet uses roughly the same amount of electricity as the UK". And unfortunaly not all of the internet is run off renewable energy sources. From the websites checked on The Green Web Foundation only 30% is powered by renewable energy.
So with each website we visit comes with a carbon footprint; which only getting bigger. With the large increase of sharing photos, videos and, streaming services it's causing a "tsunami of data". So it a better time than ever to help out.
What can we do to help?
Think more sustainably. As Designers and Developers we have a duty to think more sustainably to reduce the carbon footprint of the websites that we build.
We need to ask questions when we're working on projects. Learn to suggest different options to get round common problems and, get ok with just saying "no" a bit more.
This is a hard path and definitely requires more effort, however, it's so worth it! A more sustainable website means a quicker website, which makes for happier users too, inturn a better experience and hopfully better conversion.
- Use Woorank to track SEO over time.
- Better SEO and content ensures people find the information they want quickly and easily.
- Is the content clear enough?
- Do those images genuinely add value to the user?
- Could the same impact be achieved if the image was smaller?
- Could we reduce images that are not visible to the user, such as in carousels?
- Go easy on the custom fonts and weights.
- Measure performance and improve over time.
- Use modern web font file formats like WOFF and WOFF2
- Harness Responsive Images.
- Use the most efficient file format for each image, such as WebP instead of JPEG
- Use Lighthouse for improving the quality of web pages from SEO, accessibility and performance.
- Use coverage reports to identify any unused code.
Going green is great for business too!
From tax credits and incentives, improved efficiency, healthier workplaces, and cost savings the benifits of going green and becoming more sustainable is great for business.
- Faster, greener websites make for happier customers.
- Unlock business savings and revenue by going green.
- Choose green hosting - Reduce your carbon footprint by 9%.
- Employees love to know they are working for a good and concious company. - Happy employees are up to 20% more productive and can raise sales by 37%.
- Public Image - With minds being more open than ever to carbon emissions it's good to show you're doing some good.
Resources & Good Reads
Here's a list of some awesome resources if you would like to research more about this interesting topic:
- Going green is good for business
- Happy employees
- Website Speed Test- Test the weight of your ad implementation
- How Web Content Can Affect Power Usage
- Website Carbon Calculator- See how is your website impacting the planet.
- Save the planet, use an Ad Blocker.
- 17 ways to make your website more energy efficient
- Tea stat is made from that the average website produces 1.76 grams CO2 per page view. Then multiplied by "Boiling an electric kettle to make a cup of tea only requires about 0.03125kWh of electricity and generates around 0.015kg CO2".