When we talk about digital pollution today, we think a lot about planned obsolescence and the resources needed to manufacture devices such as our smartphones or computers.
But we often miss the weight that the internet represents. Even if this weight seems invisible to us on a daily basis, it is not immaterial. Indeed, each website has a weight, ranging from a few kilobytes (Kb) to several megabytes (MB), and is stored on the servers of a very energy-intensive datacenter.
In 2021, there were more than 1.8 billion websites stored in nearly 8,800 data centers around the world.
However, there are solutions to reduce the energy consumption of our data centers and the carbon footprint of the Internet by reducing the weight of our websites and favoring greener hosting.
For this, it is first important to make an inventory of the existing fixtures and to analyze the carbon footprint of a site. Here are some tools to help you do this analysis:
Website Carbon Calculator by Wholegrain Digital
This is a tool developed by the English agency Wholegrain Digital.
It allows very simply, by indicating the url address of its web page, to determine where it is in terms of carbon footprint compared to the rest of the web.
It gives simple elements of comparison to better visualize what this pollution corresponds to.
The tool also gives suggestions for improvement to reduce the impact of your site on the environment and to offset its carbon footprint.
Green Web Index by Digital Forest
This tool is in French. It is developed by Digital Forest, a French green host. The report analyzes a given page and gives an overall score based on various technical performance indicators (page size, loading time, number of requests) as well as environmental performance indicators (GHG footprint, water footprint and green hosting).
At the detail level of the page, you can download the report detailing the size of the different contents and the percentage of these in the total weight of the permitting, thus letting you know on which aspect you can act.
Note: the figures between the reports of the Website Carbon Calculator and the Green Web Index are not aligned, because they do not take into account the same indicators. However, they are both complementary and it is interesting to have both reports.
Green Web Check by the Green Digital Foundation
The Green Digital Foundation is an organization created in 2006 working for a cleaner web. It values and lists green web hosts and provides free tools to analyze whether the hosting is clean. It also offers the possibility of activating a badge on your site certifying green hosting. And all this, for free!
Carbon Test by Zifera
Zifera offers a tool to analyze, optimize and automatically compensate for CO2 emissions related to your website.
The compensation is carried out with Fair Climate Funds, a social enterprise based in the Netherlands, which invests in projects with environmental and social objectives in developing countries.
The service is in English and paid for, but the online carbon emissions analysis tool is free!
Mobile efficiency index by Greenspector
Greenspector has implemented a tool to analyze the energy consumption of the mobile version of your website, projecting the impact on the user’s phone battery consumption. A tool that is beneficial for both the user and the planet.
Having a more efficient site allows, in fact, not only a better user experience, but also an extension of the lifespan of the smartphone, and therefore less pollution linked to the production of devices and batteries. The tool is in English and seems to be still in beta, but is promising 🙂
Other resources to go further
Interested in green digital? You will find below two books on good practices for developing and/or optimizing your site in a more eco-responsible way.
For French speakers:
- Eco-conception web : les 115 bonnes pratiques by Frederic Bordage
Published in 2019 by éditions Eyrolles (172 pages)
This book lists all the best practices for having a greener code, reducing the weight of your site and its impact on the planet. Attention to novices, we are on a rather technical approach 🙂
You’ll find the 22 first pages for free here or the full book available at la FNAC.
- Sustainable web design by Tom Greenwood
Published in 2021 by A Book Apart editions (125 pages)
This book has a more design approach and presents the design and technical elements that can be put in place to reduce the impact of your site on the environment. Tom Greenwood is the managing director of Wholegrain Digital, a UK-based green digital agency. You will receive a free chapter by leaving your email.
- Curiously Green, the green digital newsletter by Wholegrain Digital
It’s in English and shares the latest news in the green digital world.
So, ready to reduce the carbon footprint of the web and go green digital?
Although the subject is not yet very developed, there are therefore several resources online and in bookstores to learn more about green digital and to analyze the impact of its website on the environment.
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You want to develop a green website or optimize your existing one to make it more eco-friendly? Contact me and let’s discuss your project 🙂