Greening the web how we can create zero carbon websites electricity in the body causes

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This leaves us just two years to transform our industry from being one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and start to bring our collective emissions down. As web designers, developers or the owners of websites, we must be looking to see what we can do to reduce the emissions from our own websites.

It is very difficult to improve anything that you cannot measure and until recently it was almost impossible to know what the emissions from a particular website might be. The result was that is was hard for web designers, developers and website owners to even discuss the issue of their websites carbon emissions, let alone do anything about it.

Luckily this is now possible using the free tool for estimating website CO2 emissions at WebsiteCarbon.com that provides data on the CO2 emissions per page view, the annual CO2 emissions (based on a specified amount of page views), the annual energy consumption and whether or not the website is hosted in a data centre powered by renewable energy. Using this tool it is possible to benchmark your own website against competitors and set targets for your own carbon reduction.

The data from this tool reveals some surprising facts. The average website produces 6.8 grams of CO2 per page view. This might not sound like a lot but it adds up fast. An average website with 10,000 page views per month would produce 816kg of CO2 per year. That’s more than the emissions produced by a flight from London to Tokyo.

On the other hand, the most efficient website tested is www.muskfoundation.org, Elon and Kimbal Musk’s non-profit foundation, with emissions of just 0.009 grams of CO2 per page view. It might be a brutally minimalist website and it certainly doesn’t meet the user experience expectations of most modern web users, but it does highlight just how efficient a web page can be. Reducing Data Transfer from Websites

Having benchmarked the emissions from our existing website and competitors websites, we can then take action to bring emissions down. As data transfers directly relate to energy consumption and emissions, one of the key things that we must do is to find ways to make the website more data efficient. There are two main ways to achieve this.

Firstly, we can reduce the weight (in KB) of all of our web pages. Reducing page weight has numerous additional benefits including faster load times, which improves user experience and SEO, as well as reduced data usage for users with limited internet connections. This can be particularly important for mobile users and website visitors from low-income groups, particularly in developing countries where internet data is very expensive relative to local wages.

Often if we’re not sure whether a website needs something, it is tempting to add it in just for safe measure, but really we should be approaching it from the opposite perspective. We should leave out anything that we are not sure about and then find out whether anybody misses it. Only then add it to the site if it is proved necessary and of value.

Implementing a caching solution is also very important. Caching is the process of storing resources from one request and reusing those resources for subsequent requests. Basically, it reduces the amount of server bandwidth required to generate a pageview by storing static resources external from the host.

The second thing that we can do the reduce data transfer is to reduce the number of times that our pages are loaded. Reducing traffic might sound like heresy, but actually, there can be good reasons to do so that are beneficial to the website owner and to the user. Although we assume that traffic is inherently good, there are scenarios where people visit pages that are not useful to them. This is highlighted in bounce rate statistics, which show the number of visitors that immediately realize that they have loaded a page that is not what they want. Improving SEO and user experience can significantly reduce bounce rates, while also streamlining user journeys, enabling users to find the information that they want with fewer steps, meaning that a website can deliver the same level of value with fewer page views.

As the data transfer of a website is in simple terms the average page weight multiplied by the number of page views, reducing both page weight and unwanted page views are two very effective ways to reduce website emissions while also improving the overall user experience. Switching Your Website to Renewable Energy

According to a study by the ACEEE ( The Megawatts behind your Megabytes), the energy used by the internet (and therefore a website) roughly breaks down as 48% used in the data center, 14% used in the telecoms network, and 38% used on the end users device. This will of course vary for every website and every user, but it represents a typical scenario.

As a website owner, it is difficult or impossible to control the energy used by the telecoms networks or end users. However, you can have some control over the energy used by the data center simply by choosing the right hosting provider. Most hosting providers use standard grid electricity and often have little knowledge over where their energy comes from. There are a growing number of hosting providers that actively purchase renewable energy for their data centres and as a result, have far lower carbon emissions.

It can be hard to identify which hosting providers use green energy and in general, it is best to ask them directly for evidence of whether they use renewable energy in their data centres. The Green Web Foundation has a very good database of hosting providers that claim to use green energy, although it should be noted it is still worth checking directly.

They accomplish this by purchasing renewable energy from wind and solar farms throughout the United States, South America, and Europe. Google’s machine learning also enables the analysis of huge amounts of operational data center data to further improve recommendations and controls, increasing energy efficiency by another 15%.