What Good Websites can do about Global Warming

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Does your website contribute to global warming?

The Carbon footprint of our daily internet habits accounts for 3,7 % of our global greenhouse emissions. It is at the same level as the aviation industry and these emissions are predicted to double by 2025. The global IT sector electricity demand ranks number 3 behind China and US and it's estimated that communication technology will use 14 percent of global electricity by 2040, up from just under 4 percent in 2020.

So how much pollution does your website contribute with? There is an easy way to get that information, just enter the URL to your website at websitecarbon.com and you will get a quick overview of your performance.

An average web page produces 1.76 grams CO2 per page view. For a website with 10,000 monthly page views, that's 211 kg CO2 per year.

Okey, I get the point. My website contributes to the global warming but what can I do about it? We run a business and we need to have website with lots of visitors. That is kind of the purpose having a website.

In the context of digital services, we believe speed is one of the key solutions reducing our emissions and saving our planet from global heating. Speed doesn't only save our planet, it also adds a lot more advantages to your business and your customers. We have listed some of the advantages below.

Upsides with speed

When we started developing our new platform, we put speed as a top priority. How can we build a web-based platform without any spinners and constant waiting? When we were talking about speed, we started leaning towards how much weight (Kbyte) we needed to transport and that led to investigating the upsides with a Fast & Furious UI. If you are focusing on creating a fast website you will get a positive side effect, your site will produce less energy because you are decreasing the weight of your web pages, simplifying the complexity of your site and lowering the physical distance between your servers and your main audience. Besides decreasing our environmental impact, we found a lot of other short-term benefits as well.

  • Speed is a feature. It gives the user a feeling of productivity and in the end a more enjoyable user experience.
  • Ranking higher on Google. Google ranks fast websites higher.
  • Built for scale. The solution to a bottleneck doesn't have to be scaling up the hardware. It's time for a different approach and to minimise the data. From 2017 to 2021, the median size of a web page increased by roughly 40-45 percent and the amount of JavaScript increased with 50 %. Have the websites really gotten 40-45 percent better?
  • Complexity. Less code equals less complexity, and it leads to a more stable product with less bugs.
  • $ saved. When it comes to money saved, there is a huge upside. Calculating the potential money saved in the cloud demands hard work. You need to do your own math but bandwidth is one simple parameter driving cost, but you can save big numbers if reducing hardware and the use of different services in the cloud.

We think it's time for a paradigm change where we start building our digital services for speed! Everyone is the winner except perhaps the cloud vendors. If you are creating digital services, be sure to build for speed and if you offer digital services to customers, be sure to add speed to your feature list.

We will continue to publish our thoughts and knowhow on this topic in our upcoming posts. Who knows, it might be a little more practical and techie.

Stay tuned!

Further reading

  1. bbc.com - Why your internet habits are not as clean as you think
  2. sciencedirect.com - Assessing ICT global emissions footprint
  3. websitecarbon.com
  4. httparchive.org - Page Weight