Greening the web.
It's a thing.
Actually, it's a huge, big thing.
The internet will soon be responsible for nearly 1 billion tonnes of CO2 or 10% of global electricity usage.1
Cloud Computing vs. Countries
The United States USA
Electricity in billion kWh4
The rise of streaming video is driving significant growth in our online footprint, and in power-hungry data centers and network infrastructure.
Why is this a problem?
It’s not a problem if we want to leave the world a hot and dire mess to our children and their children. Climate change will make the lives of all humans and species much, much more difficult.
35% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions comes from dirty electricity.5
100,000,000 people living in coastal regions will be displaced by just a one-yard rise in sea levels.6
17 of 18 of the warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001.7
92 km3 of glacier ice are being lost globally per year.8
Why does the web need to change?
If we continue to power our websites, applications, digital tools, archives, and data collections with non-renewable energy, we are contributing to the warming of the planet.
How can you make a difference?
Here’s the incredible thing: compared to architecting green transportation and engineering heat-resilient crops, it’s not very hard to green our data. There are many things we all can do to to make sure that the apps we build, the data we share, and the sites we visit are both people-friendly and planet-friendly.
What can you do?
- Use green hosting for websites and apps
- Work with a sustainability advisor
- Consider joining the B Corp movement
Designers and Developers
- Discuss data usage with your clients and colleagues
- Use less code and create clear page budgets
- Review page bloat on older websites and applications
- Work with stakeholders to demand hosting providers go green
- Take data usage into account for assessing carbon footprints
- Support Greenpeace's work in evaluating internet energy demands
App Developers and Engineers
- Check products consistently for performance improvements
- Use a CDN to deploy content and assets whenever possible
- Help support the development of green hosting platforms
Kaheawa Wind Power is one of the largest wind farms in Hawaii. It is located on the island of Maui above the town of Maalaea in the West Maui Mountains and serves 18,700 homes.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is the world’s largest solar thermal power plant. It is located in the California Mojave Desert and has a a gross capacity of 392 megawatts (MW).
Hoover Dam can produce over 2,000 megawatts of capacity and a yearly average generation of 4.5 billion kilowatt hours to serve the annual electrical needs of nearly 8 million people in Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada.
The Svartsengi Power Station is an Icelandic geothermal power plant that is located in the Svartsengi geothermal field. It is the only heating system for the local district on the Reykjanes Peninsula, which pipes hot geothermal water to more than 21,000 households.
Want to take some immediate action but don’t know where to start?
Here are five things that we recommend:
Find a green host for your site or application. There are a lot of them out there. This site is powered by a host that only powers its servers with electricity from renewable energy sources (in Iceland) and works to achieve high energy utilization efficiency levels. You can learn more about renewable-powered and carbon-neutralized hosts at the Green Web Foundation.
Petition your website host to adapt to standards and transparency in green hosting. As we consciously create a more sustainable planet, every business will need a reliable, standards-based, visible, and user-friendly set of tools to determine whether their websites and applications are being powered by renewable or polluting energy.
Ask your designers, developers, engineers, and CTO about how your data is being served and whether performance and efficiencies are measured. Are your servers powered by green energy? If not, why not?
Get in touch with us. We are looking to build a global community of folks who care about the web’s impact on our environment and its contribution to climate change.
Greening the web will take you and many thousands of others to make simple changes and some hard choices about how data is delivered.
We are an international group of developers, designers, B Corps, business owners, data hosts, UX geeks and sustainability experts that care about the future of the world, the future of the web and—why
not—the wideness of it all as well. We are a small but growing group of professionals who not only build the web but are also looking to make it greener. Much greener.
Your friends at:
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