If the Internet was a country, it would be the 7th largest polluter - Sustainable Web Manifesto
It's easy to believe that the Internet is an intangible, invisible world, a place that has little impact on the environment. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. Every online activity, such as searching the web, sending emails, and streaming services, emits carbon dioxide. This is a consequence of the energy needed to run the devices used to access the Internet and from the huge data centres and servers which store online content and support the Internet. The amount of energy consumed by the Internet is growing rapidly in line with our increased demand for digital services and products.
Businesses have a responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint of their digital activities just as much as their offline activities and one place to start is to consider the environmental impact of your website.
There are several reasons why improving the sustainability of your website is important, both for the planet and for business. Many of the processes that make a website more sustainable will also improve the overall site performance and provide a better user experience.
We’ve outlined some of the benefits of sustainable web design below and highlighted some key areas to address to help reduce your site's environmental impact.
This is an obvious benefit, but arguably the most important. The number of greenhouse gases emitted annually because of the Internet is said to be 1.6 billion tonnes and this number is set to continue to rise. Reducing waste and emissions should be an integral part of any organisation’s strategy. Sustainable websites are more efficient and so use less energy and resources, reducing your digital footprint and impact on the environment.
The goal of sustainable web design is to use as little energy as possible, without sacrificing user experience. One way to achieve this is by increasing site speed and efficiency, as faster loading times require far less processing power. There are many factors which influence a site's speed, such as coding structure, image and video size, hosting providers, number of plugins etc.
Millennials and Gen Z lead the way in the sustainability movement. They are more likely to engage with brands that take responsibility for their role in fighting climate change. By improving your green credentials in the digital space and raising awareness by talking about it, you are aligning your brand values with a whole generation of consumers.
Choose a carbon-neutral web host provider – choosing a renewable hosting provider can impact your website’s sustainability. However, not all green hosting providers are created equal, and even a ‘dirty’ website on a carbon-neutral hosting provider is still a dirty website.
Optimise images – images are the single largest contributor to page weight. Reduce the size of images on your website, and check if all the images on your site are necessary.
Remove old, irrelevant content – anything that no longer serves a purpose or information that is out of date should be removed. Old content may be a barrier when the user is trying to find relevant content on your website, increasing their time spent online and energy usage.
Here at H&H Reeds, we’re committed to helping our clients reduce the environmental impact of their digital activities. We work with our clients to produce custom-coded websites that are tailored to their needs, reducing any unnecessary coding, and improving efficiency. We also provide sustainable hosting, as our hosting partner is the UK’s first 100% carbon-neutral hosting company. Developing fast, clean, sustainable websites with great UX design is our main priority.