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March 2023

How green is your website?

The internet currently produces approximately 3.7% of global carbon emissions, and this figure is expected to double by 2025. You may not realise it, but every time you browse the internet, post pictures online, stream videos or send emails, they all can have a big impact on carbon emissions. Today, we have an energy consumption problem, and awareness about how much your website is contributing to the impact on the environment is key.

What are the challenges?

While more and more companies are committed to reducing their carbon footprint to meet net zero targets, how you approach this with your digital properties will be key. When companies first moved away from print and started putting more content online, the impact of the carbon emissions of a website wasn’t something we necessarily thought about. We all believed we were reducing our carbon emissions by moving everything online, but with more knowledge around how dirty the internet actually is, we need to reassess how we do things. To really reduce our digital footprint and turn things around we need to rethink our design and development decisions to really make a difference.

Today, websites are getting ever larger. The average page weight, currently around  2.2 megabytes, has grown and is now over 150 times larger than 25 years ago. This has been compounded by the increase in the use of audio, video and image files that can typically make up around 50% of the page weight. Google now penalises a website’s search ranking for those that fail to achieve good Core Web Vitals and one of their metrics for assessing success or failure is page weight. And with the addition of connected services like analytics, monitoring, and alerting functionality on our websites, faster computer processors, data transmission and data storage have all had to advance.

On top of this, archived web content and partially developed and abandoned applications known as ‘dark data’ are defined by Gartner Group as the ‘information assets organisations collect, process and store, but generally fail to use’ means all the digital data that’s been neglected or left on your website is compounding the issue and requires more and more energy.

Data centres and the servers needed to support the internet, store content and host websites, are extremely energy intensive. Every time you browse the web, add more content to your website or stream more videos, the data consumed requires more energy which means the overall environmental impact becomes far greater.

What’s the answer?

Small but thoughtful changes can make a real difference, so consider what updates you can make now and plan all digital projects with sustainability in mind. Start with calculating the carbon usage of your website through one of the many carbon calculators now available online, so you can benchmark existing pages. From there, make conscious decisions on what you can do and consider what’s really important. Remember, less is often more and will enable cleaner, more energy-friendly solutions.

So here are 6 things you can do to make your website greener:

  1. Change to a darker colour palette or introducing a ‘dark mode’ to allow users to switch to lower screen energy usage and minimise energy consumption
  2. Where possible, avoid using animation or video unless it makes absolute sense
  3. Optimise assets to reduce page weight by compressing images*, switch to using SVG graphics instead of the usual file formats such as JPGs or PNGs and even consider reducing the use of images overall
  4. Review and update your website content regularly and focus on what content is essential and valuable to your audiences. Delete old or unused content as an easy way to reduce energy consumption
  5. Don’t forget about SEO as the easier and quicker it is for users to find what they’re after, the less energy is used
  6. Look at your hosting and consider switching to a green host and one powered by renewable energy sources

*Images are the single largest contributors to page weight, so the more images you use and the larger the files, the more energy is used.

How your website is coded and configured for data transfer will also have an impact on energy consumption. Data transfer is the amount of information transferred from a server to users of your website, so the more data there is, the more energy it requires.


From the size of image files to the accessibility of your colour palette, to how your website is implemented and even where you host, the choices made when developing your website all have an impact. As the internet grows, so does the cost to the environment.

A sustainably designed and built website isn’t just better for the planet and your business’s carbon footprint; it should also mean a faster-loading, more accessible experience for the user. So having a greener website is a win-win for everyone.

If you would like to talk to us about how to make your website greener, then please get in touch.

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