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The internet, often seen as an invisible and intangible force, surprisingly accounts for 3.7% of global carbon emissions, surpassing the aviation industry. As website creators and maintainers, we have the power and responsibility to reduce our digital carbon footprints. It begins with understanding the factors contributing to a website’s carbon emissions and taking actionable steps towards sustainability.

Websites differ in size, complexity, traffic, and hosting methods, but the Eco Web Alliance recommends striving for less than 1 gram of carbon emissions per page. Here’s how you can make your website more eco-friendly:

  1. Optimise your code and assets: Shrink image sizes, streamline code, and compress files to lower data transfers and carbon emissions.
  2. Use a content delivery network (CDN): Distribute content across global servers, reducing data travel distances and carbon output.
  3. Choose green web hosting: Look for providers that use renewable energy or offset their carbon emissions.
  4. Implement caching: Speed up load times and decrease carbon emissions by reducing server requests.
  5. Use energy-efficient server hardware: Opt for eco-friendly servers and optimise their usage for a smaller carbon footprint.
  6. Consider offsetting emissions: Invest in renewable energy or carbon reduction projects to balance your website’s carbon output.

Start by calculating your website’s carbon emissions: Multiply monthly page views by the average emissions per view. For instance, 5,000 monthly page views with average emissions of 1g CO2e per view equate to approximately 50 kg of carbon annually. So a website with 50,000 monthly views could emit half a tonne of carbon yearly.

To address these emissions, consider insetting (reducing emissions within your activities and processes) or, when infeasible, offsetting (supporting external emissions reduction projects). For example, you can achieve below-zero emissions for your website through Earthly.org or support Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard projects.

Annually assess your website’s emissions based on page views, adding a 25% buffer for a net positive impact. The scientific advisory board sets the standard for calculating and addressing emissions, subject to regular review and progress.

Embrace your power to shape a sustainable digital landscape. Every byte counts in the fight against climate change.

Ben Rennie

Co-Founder and Design Director at RENY®