How can a low carbon website support your company’s digital decarbonization strategy?
Saturday April 22nd is World Earth Day, 2023. So in a bid to recognize that we all have a part to play in protecting the world around us, Omnia are launching the first guide in our Sustainability series; How companies can support the net zero carbon emissions goal of our future world.
Anyone not aware of the severity of the environmental damage we have caused on this planet – as human’s going about our daily lives – must be from another planet entirely (see infographic below).
The digital industry is often thought to be environmentally friendly, but this is far from the truth. The IT sector alone uses about 10% of the world’s electricity and is responsible for approximately 4% of all carbon emissions. As more websites are created, especially those that consume a lot of energy like streaming services such as Netflix, energy consumption is expected to grow 50% between 2020 and 2050. This is a serious issue that can only be addressed by designing websites with a low carbon footprint.
As we look toward the UAE’s strategic agenda for net zero emissions across the Emirates, we ask “what can companies do to support this and, and in particular, how can digital strategies align with the 2050 Net Zero target?”
Low carbon digital strategies
As a leading design, digital and transformation agency, Omnia develops digital products & services for businesses every day. Whether it be websites, apps, intranets, or other digital assets, we are committed to supporting the development of low carbon digital products & services. But how is this measured and, are they efficient?
Let’s look at a company’s website
The first activity is to measure the carbon footprint of a website, and to do this there are various tools available, such as website carbon calculators – these estimate the amount of carbon emissions a website is generating. They typically consider factors such as server energy consumption, website weight, volume of data transfer and user traffic.
To determine the efficiency of low carbon websites, companies can track their website’s carbon footprint over time by monitoring key performance indicators such as speed, user engagement, and conversion rates. Companies can also benchmark their website’s performance against industry standards and best practices.
Overall, companies who commit to the development of low carbon websites can reduce their environmental impact, demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, and potentially save on energy costs. However, just like analytics and SEO, it’s important for companies to regularly measure and evaluate the effectiveness of their low carbon strategies to ensure they are achieving their desired outcomes.
A low carbon website is designed through minimizing the energy consumption associated with hosting the website and operation. In turn, this reduces its carbon footprint and supports the goal of a net-zero world.
How is it done?
Here are some new and innovative ways of achieving a low carbon website;
- Reducing server energy consumption: Companies can use energy-efficient servers, optimize server configurations, and use renewable energy sources to power their servers.
- Website optimization: Reducing the size of images, videos, and other digital assets on a website, enabling website caching, and limiting the use of plugins can help reduce the energy needed to load and display a website.
- Streamlining the end-user experience: simplifying journeys, reducing uneccessary content & removing redundancies will all help minimize the data visitors will request and transfer. One goal is to avoid “yo-yo” journeys where visitors return to previous pages or reload the same screen or page.
- Renewable energy: Hosting websites on servers powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, or hydro power, helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the website.
- Omnia are currently rebuilding our own site to be as carbon neutral as possible with a view to using hosting environments powered by solar.
- Virtualization: Virtualizing servers and using cloud computing can help reduce the amount of energy needed to host a website.
- Implementing carbon offsetting schemes: Companies can offset their carbon emissions by supporting renewable energy projects or by purchasing carbon credits. For example, at Omnia we use a carbon offset tool called:https://www.5dnetzero.co.uk/services/carbon-offsetting/ to offset our travel from simple commuting to global client travel and for every km travelled we purchase carbon credits. One carbon offset credit equates to the avoidance or removal of one tonne of CO2eq. allowing businesses to take responsibility for their emissions, through verified carbon offsetting projects.
Much like introducing any new business strategy or initiative; take one step at a time, focus on maximizing outcomes and have a clear digital strategy that roadmaps key activities over time. This way we will all help to contribute to a net zero world. As strange as it may initially seem, low carbon websites do play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change. By reducing energy consumption in the digital and IT/ICT sectors, low carbon websites will help to reduce the overall demand for energy, enable organizations to achieve their net zero emissions targets and support the global agenda.
See global digital carbon footprint infographic here
We have already built a low carbon website mvp which is being expanded in the near future.
If you are interested in reducing your energy consumption through sustainable digital solutions, or talking further about our low carbon site solutions, please get in touch and we can lend a hand.