For a while I’ve been intending to make my website more sustainable, but I succumbed, as I often do, to the human trait of sloth. But this morning after reading Gerry McGovern’s post on webwaste, I thought I’d procrastinated long enough.

So I ran a web page performance test and got some grim results: my website takes over a minute to load on a Moto G4 on using 3G data networks. It’s just as bad using a desktop PC in Nottingham on 1.5Mbps DSL. My website is bloated with large images and a bunch of JavaScript, which means it’s eating up lots of energy transmitting those bits and bytes.

But how much energy? I used the Website Carbon Calculator to find out. Turns out that

  • 6.90g of CO2 is produced every time someone visits the homepage
  • it emits the amount of carbon that 4 trees absorb in a year, and
  • it uses enough electricity to drive an electric car 1,116km

Eugh. That’s disgusting. For each year my website has been online, I should have planted 4 trees just for the homepage alone. But, instead, my laziness has filled the atmosphere with more and more carbon.

I have to do something, this has gone on long enough, so I’m committing to some actions.

  1. I’ll move my site to a web hosting provider using renewable energy, one that’s listed on the Green Web Foundation’s directory. DONE
  2. I’ll compress and optimise the images on my site using ImageOptim. DONE
  3. I’ll get rid of my energy-guzzling site theme until I can introduce one that’s lightweight and accessible. DONE
  4. Going forward, my website will enshrine the principles of the Sustainable Web Manifesto. SIGNED
  5. NEW: I’ll pay for some trees to be planted that’ll reduce the impact of my website’s carbon footprint going forward.

To show my committment to being a good web citizen, I’ll add the Website Carbon Badge to all pages (DONE) and the Green Web Foundation’s renewable hosting badge (DONE). Once I’ve improved things, I’ll add a carbon.txt (DONE).

One day I’ll actually get around to building a solar-powered battery bank and run my site off my home connection, but until then I’m taking small steps to remove, minimise and clean-up my presence on the web.

What’s the carbon footprint of your website? What steps will you take to reduce it?

Further reading