When it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability, websites are often overlooked. Yet, they play a crucial role in our daily lives, consuming large amounts of energy and resources. Creating an energy-efficient and sustainable website is essential to reducing your carbon footprint and helping preserve our planet for future generations.
Here are some tips on how to make your website more energy-efficient and sustainable:
Energy-Efficient and Sustainable Website
We all know the feeling. You’re sitting at your desk, working on a project when suddenly your computer starts to lag. So you wait a few minutes for it to speed up again, but it doesn’t. In frustration, you reach over to the power cord and give it a little yank to make sure it’s plugged in tightly—and that’s when you realise that your computer wasn’t the problem. The culprit was your website. It was so slow that it was draining your battery.
But website lag isn’t just annoying, it can also be costly. In fact, studies have shown that every additional second it takes for a page to load costs businesses an average of $1.6 billion per year in lost revenue. Furthermore, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. So if your website is slow, not only are you annoying your users, but you’re also losing money.
How much energy does a website use?
To understand the answer, we need to consider three factors: the energy used by the data centre hosting the website, the energy used by the user’s computer, and the user’s embodied energy.
The energy used by the data centre hosting the website is relatively small. For example, a typical loaded server uses about 0.000108 kWh of energy.
The energy used by the user’s computer is also relatively small. For example, a high-end computer uses about 0.008 kWh of energy.
However, the user’s embodied energy is much larger. This is the energy used over the course of three years by the user in interacting with the website. For example, a user might use 0.004 kWh of energy in clicking on links, scrolling, and reading content.
In total, then, a website uses about 0.016 kWh of energy per page view. However, this number can vary depending on the specific website and the user’s interaction with it.
But don’t worry, there are ways to speed up your website and make it more energy-efficient. Here are some examples:
Write clean code:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to write clean, well-organized code if you want a fast website. That means using proper indentation, comments, and consistent formatting. Not only will this make your code easier to read and understand, but it will also make it easier for browsers to parse and render.
Images are an important part of any website, but they can also be one of the biggest sources of bloat. So it’s important to optimise your images for the web. That means using the correct file format, compressing your images, and using a responsive image solution.
Optimise fonts :
Fonts are another important element of website design, but they can also slow down your website if they’re not used optimally. So make sure to use web-friendly fonts, compress your font files, and use font display wisely.
Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP):
AMP is a Google-backed project that aims to speed up the mobile web. It does this by simplifying the code used to build web pages and by caching pages on Google’s servers.
What makes a website green?
There are a number of ways to reduce the energy used by a website. The most obvious is to choose a green host. That means, their servers are powered by renewable energy, the companies make use of energy use offsets and adhere to other environmentally-conscious practices.
Another way to reduce the energy used by a website is to make use of energy use offsets. This means that the company you are working with purchases carbon offsets to help reduce the impact of their server usage.
Finally, many companies are now using recycled materials to power their servers. This helps to reduce the amount of energy used by the server, and also reduces the amount of waste that is produced.
The truth is, that every website has an environmental impact. And as a marketing manager, you have the ability to make choices that can help minimise a website’s carbon footprint. Read on to learn how to make your website more sustainable.
1. Reducing the File Size
The first step is to save images in the proper file format. For photos, that means using .jpg; for graphics with fewer colors, such as logos or illustrations, use .png; and for images that require transparency, like icons, use .gif.
Once you’ve exported images in the correct file format, your next step is to “compress” them—that is, reduce their file size without reducing quality—using an online compression tool like TinyPNG or Compressor.io.
Finally, when uploading images to your site, choose the smallest file size that still looks good at the largest dimensions you need. For example, if you have an image that’s 700 pixels wide but only need it to be 400 pixels wide on your site, don’t upload the larger version—it will just slow down your page without delivering any benefits.
2. Be Strategic With Videos
Videos are another great way to add visual interest and engagement to your site—but they come with a big caveat: they’re extremely energy intensive to produce and playback. In fact, according to one study, playing a single hour of video consumes about 6 percent of the world’s annual energy consumption!
To minimise the energy impact of videos on your site:
First, only use videos when they genuinely add value; if a photo or written description will suffice, don’t use video just for the sake of it.
Second, host videos on YouTube or Vimeo rather than hosting them directly on your site; this will offload some of the energy consumption onto those services’ servers rather than yours.
Third, consider using an animated GIF instead of a full-fledged video; while still technically classified as “video content,” GIFs are generally much smaller in terms of file size (and therefore require less energy to view). Just make sure not to overload your page with too many GIFs; like anything else on your site, they should be used sparingly and only when they genuinely add value.
3. Use Lazy Load For Images and Media
Lazy load is a technique that defers loading certain elements on a page until after the initial page load—particularly offscreen elements like images below the fold or embedded videos from YouTube or Vimeo. By deferring the loading of these elements until after the initial page load (or even until after users scroll down), you can significantly improve your site’s performance and speed—both key factors in sustaining visitor engagement.
There are various WordPress plugins that can help you implement lazy load on your site with just a few clicks; WP Rocket and BJ Lazy Load are two popular options (just be sure to test them out thoroughly before rolling them out on your live site). Alternatively, if you’re comfortable working with code, you can manually implement lazy load by following Google Developers’ instructions here.
If you’re trying to be more sustainable in your web browsing habits, you may be wondering how you can tell if a website is actually running on green energy. Luckily, there’s an easy way to check – just look for the Green Web Foundation logo!
How do you know if a website is Energy-Efficient and Sustainable Website?
The Green Web Foundation is a directory of websites that are powered by 100% renewable energy. If a website has an IP address that is listed on the Green Web Foundation, you can be sure that it is running on sustainable energy.
So next time you’re wondering if a website is sustainable, just look for the Green Web Foundation logo – it’s the easy way to tell!
To conclude, making an energy-efficient and sustainable website is easier than you might think. By following the tips laid out in this blog post, you can make a big impact on your carbon footprint without sacrificing functionality or aesthetics. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!