Sustainable Web Design

Great practical guide to sustainable web design.

What we can measure

We can get an estimate of the carbon emissions of a site based on a few things:

  • Data transfer
  • Carbon intensity of electricity used

This boils down to what server you use and how the website is designed.

There are some other concerns to be considered, too:

  • Embodied carbon. Ie: how much energy was used in the production of the website? The office it was made in, the people commuting to make it etc.

Servers

The server used should not use fossil fuels. It should also be geographically located close to most of your users - this is because it takes energy to not only store and host the website, but also to transfer all the data.

Design

There's some obvious stuff, like using smaller assets. Some interesting less obvious stuff includes:

  • Not only do darker colours require less energy for screens to reproduce, but also bluer colours vs redder and greener colours. At least with today's monitors.
  • Computational demand. As the internet has grown up, computational power requirements have been shifted from the server to the client. The harder the user's computer has to work, the more energy it'll use.

References

  • Sustainable Web Design, Tom Greenwood
  • Last update: 2022-04-15 12:46