#Carbonhacks No.5 – How does a website create CO2?

Energy consumption and emissions from the internet are huge. A website sits on a server which uses lots of energy. The more complex a website is, the more energy it requires to load – and the greater its climate impact. Creating a low-impact website is just one action you can take to help reduce your carbon footprint.

We have recently completed an environmental audit, improving many of our own operations including moving over to a green hosting platform. But quite honestly, until recently, we had missed the importance of building “low-carbon” websites. We are now re-considering our web design process going forward to be more conscious of the impact of every action, behaviour and design decision we make.

These guidelines will inform our website design from now on:

•Use a green host – a hosting company whose operations are powered by renewable energy

•Limit the use of optimised photos

•Use animation only when it helps the user experience

•Avoid auto-playing video

•Use Icons to simplify content

•Choose optimised SVG graphics instead of JPEG, PNG and GIF to decrease image size

•Select colours to maximise the energy your screen uses eg. blue pixels use approximately 25% more energy than red and green

•Limit the amount of light emitted by the screen. Darker colours require less energy to illuminate, with black being the lowest energy colour and white being the most energy-intensive

•Optimise and limits the use of custom fonts

•Limit font styles

•Improve site navigation to make it easy to find information quickly – less clicks!

•Limit the amount of content on each page, therefore reducing the page size

•Minimise code. Load only the most crucial programming scripts, frameworks and cookies

•Use the latest software versions

•Limit any additional plugins by using customised code

•Inform the user of the impact of their browsing behaviour

•Continuously, audit your website’s content, media and data and delete what’s no longer needed