The internet uses 1 billion tonnes of co2 a year, so here at Marble Digital Agency, we are doing what we can to drop that down. The planet is experiencing unprecedented climate change and the Internet is both part of the problem and the solution.
Carbon Neutral Web Design Agency
On average our website uses 74% less energy than other websites
According to online carbon calculator Website Carbon, the average website produces 1.76g of CO2 for every page view; so a site with 100,000 page views per month emits 2,112kg of CO2 every year. The more complex a website is, the more energy it requires to load – and the greater its climate impact.
We use servers that run on sustainable energy
The web’s carbon footprint is largely due to electricity use. Is it possible for us web professionals to help make the web more energy-efficient? The answer is yes.
If the Internet was a country, it would be the 7th largest polluter
In a nutshell, the internet, which includes data centres, telecom networks, and end-user devices like phones and laptops, uses a lot of electricity. All things considered, the internet consumes roughly the same amount of electricity as the UK, one of the world’s largest economies.
Due to the growing amount of internet data we are consuming in our daily lives, the amount of electricity used by the internet is increasing rapidly. There may be no physical signs, but internet power consumption leaves an enormous carbon footprint, and that is an issue we need to address.
What is a low carbon website?
Low carbon websites work by minimising the page weight (in KB). As the data that’s loaded onto the website directly impacts emissions through server load and data transfer, when this is reduced so is the digital carbon footprint of the site.
Why is there a need for carbon-neutral websites?
People have been able to use versatile internet applications since the early 21st century. According to global statistics, there are an estimated 1.74 billion websites running on the internet with an estimated 4 billion+ visitors daily as of January 2020.
In detail, every internet search uses approximately 0.3 Wh of energy and contributes to the release of 0.2g of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Even a low carbon footprint website that uses say 50 kg of CO2 each year, that is enough electricity to boil water for over 6,000 cups of tea or to run an electric car for over 700km.
To ensure the sustainability of the IT industry and the ability of the planet to support life, a stringent framework based on green IT solutions is a must.
The importance of a green website is already recognized by Marble, and we are continuously working towards maintaining our carbon neutral status, further inspiring others to follow in our footsteps.
In fact, when you landed on our page 0.42g of carbon was produced. To reduce the emission, we’d suggest you bookmark this page and avoid wasting energy searching it on Google again.
What has Marble done to reduce the carbon footprint of their website?
Design & Content
When we talk about the energy efficiency of websites, it’s easy to assume that it’s a purely technical topic. However, efficiency can be improved before we even build a website. Design and content have a big impact on energy efficiency and the following items are key areas we have thought about.
On most websites, images are the single largest contributors to page weight. The more images you use and the larger those image files, the more data needs to be transferred and the more energy is used. Regardless of any technical optimisations, we have thought carefully about our use of images at Marble.
- Does the image genuinely add value to our clients?
- Does it communicate useful information?
- Could the same impact be achieved if the image was smaller?
- Could we reduce images that are not visible to our clients, such as in carousels?
- Could we achieve the same effect with a vector graphic (or even CSS style) instead of a photo?
By removing just one kilobyte from a file that is loaded two million times, emissions are reduced by an estimated 2950kg per month. Asking these questions and keeping images as minimal as possible without compromising user experience will help keep energy consumption down.
It might not seem like SEO has anything to do with website efficiency, but in reality, its goals are inherently aligned with reducing energy consumption. By optimizing a website for search engine rankings, we enable people to find information quickly and easily. The result of successful SEO is that people spend less time browsing the web in search of information and visit fewer pages that don’t meet their needs. Therefore, less energy is consumed, and the energy that is consumed can deliver more value to the user.
Green web hosting
Web hosting powered by renewable energy is known as green web hosting. These resources produce renewable energy. It is re-usable by nature. The most common natural resources are hydroelectricity and wind power.
Embracing dark mode and reducing white space. Many years ago, dark websites were one of the first techniques popularised for saving energy on websites. However, it faded away with the advent of LCD screens, which unlike CRT screens had a permanent backlight, which used the same amount of energy regardless of what actually appeared on the screen. With the advent of OLED screens, which light each pixel individually, using darker colours can once again be a viable option to reduce energy consumption on end-user devices. For example, blackle.com – the “energy-efficient version of Google” – has a black background, rather than white and claims to have saved billions of watts in energy.
At Marble, we are committed to planting more trees to help offset our carbon impact. To find out more and see how you can help visit https://treesforlife.org.uk/ for more information.
Our websites are optimised for different devices. This means we don’t need to load so much code as it simply isn’t needed on mobiles. We can also reduce the image sizes on smaller devices. These micro-energy savings can make a big impact when all are added up.
Reducing emissions can also be as simple as limiting the number of images that feature on each web page. Images are the single largest contributors to page weight. The more images you use and the larger those image files, the more data needs to be transferred and the more energy is required, opting for SVG graphics instead of formats like JPEG, PNG and GIF can help decrease image size.
Climate-friendly web design does not mean having to compromise on aesthetics. Good design should always be thoughtful. A sustainably designed and built website at Marble isn’t just better for the planet and your business’s carbon footprint; it should also mean a faster-loading, more accessible experience for our clients.
Please read and sign the sustainable web manifesto at https://www.sustainablewebmanifesto.com if you are interested in making the web a greener place. We all share and use the web, just as we all share and live on this planet. Publicly committing to work towards the creation of a sustainable internet is the purpose of this manifesto.