How large is the carbon footprint of my website? Public awareness for the enormous energy consumption of the internet and digital media is on the rise. Just because something is digital does not mean it is sustainable. Various tools are available to calculate and take measures to decrease the carbon footprint of websites.
How much CO2 does my Online Shop emit?
WholeGrain Digital offers a great freeware tool to calculate the carbon footprint of websites or webshops. You simply type in the URL, the tool will then crawl your website and shows you the results within seconds. It compares the ‘cleanness’ of your website with the average. Thus, you will get a good impression of how sustainable your website ranks.
You can use the calculator to assess the carbon footprint of your own website, but also for other online stores and webpages:
The tool will also calculate the average amount of CO2 produced for every page visit, and it will identify whether the server runs on sustainable energy. To make it easier to understand, it uses real-life-comparisons: How far could an electric car drive with the same amount of energy? How many trees must be planted to absorb the annual CO2 emissions of the website? How does the amount of CO2 compare to the average weight of a sumo wrestler?
Carbon footprint of ecosistant.eu
Of course, we have also tested the tool to calculate our own carbon footprint. The results showed that we ranked better than 72% of all websites. There is definitely room for improvement, but we did at least manage to get into the upper third of sustainable webpages. One of the main reasons may be that specifically chose a webhost that uses only electricity from regenerative sources.
Since we – as ordinary people – cannot really grasp what ‘0.45g of CO2 is produced every time someone visits the web page’ really means, the comparison with the trees is very helpful. It needs 3 trees to compensate our annual CO2 emissions. So in order to get our startup climate-neutral, we would need to plant at least 3 trees. Obviously, this calculation does not include the energy consumed via our laptops or on the way to work every day.
Tips for reducing the carbon footprint of a website
The tool also offers advice on how to reduce the carbon footprint of one’s website. These include:
Large data transfers have a major impact on energy consumption in the internet. Thus, try not to use too much video and image content, and also try to keep their data size at a minimum. Formats like PNG are typically smaller than JPEG files. Tools like tinypng can also help reduce the data of the image files you put on your website.
Optimize user experience
Waste of time = waste of data. Make it as easy as possible for users to find what they are looking for. SEO and good content can really reduce energy consumption on the internet.
The right webhost
Your webhost should use electricity from regenerative sources and energy-efficient hardware. Furthermore, the servers should be located close to your users. Data security and page speed are not the only reason to have your servers located in the EU when your customers are mainly from Europe – it has an impact on emissions, too.
How sustainable is the internet?
The internet needs more resources and is less sustainable than many think. Modern communication technology causes approximately the same amount of CO2 emissions as air travel, and up to one fifth of global electricity usage can be ascribed to internet usage by 2025. It should be our priority to keep the impact of our websites as low as possible and ideally design them completely climate-neutral.
Many more sustainable tools and services for online store and website owners can be found among our partner offers. We have also explained in several other blog posts what e-commerce sellers can do to achieve climate-neutrality: