How to create eco-friendly websites
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How to create eco-friendly websites

  • Written by Jarno

The internet exists in the cloud and our connection to it is largely unseen. It’s hard to imagine that something which is completely virtual has an impact on the real world. The data we fire back and forth all day long is collected, processed, stored, and exchanged in data centers. These data centers use a lot of space and power. 

Did you know that the internet is responsible for 3,5% of total carbon emissions? It may not sound like much, but it’s actually equal to the greenhouse-gas emissions of the aviation industry. The main two factors that contribute to the effect the web has on our environment are; the devices we use to surf online and the server farms. Every bit helps and that is why we continuously search for solutions to create more eco-friendly websites. 

To create sustainable, energy-efficient websites, we follow these best practices:

Choosing a local green provider

Some of the supercomputers that host the websites run on green energy. At Fett Digital, we host our data at a local green provider and we advise our clients to do the same. A green provider uses 100% green electricity. It’s best to host your website at data centers that have an energy effectiveness usage certification, which complies with the strictest European environmental requirements. 

Creating an eco-friendly website design

We like to keep the design clean, logical and simple. The more complicated your site design is, the more energy it consumes to load. All the elements on your website like the graphics, videos, code and animations have a bearing on the energy footprint. Sites that load slowly draw more energy and so do frequent server requests. It’s best to improve site navigation to make it easy to find all the info, be strategic with videos and delete what you don’t need. By decluttering a website, you might just make it more user friendly in the process. According to studies users prefer less complicated websites as they’re easier to navigate.

Implementing eco fonts

By using fonts thoughtfully, we can minimise server load time. There are different types of fonts that can be used in a web-based design; system fonts and web fonts. System fonts are common fonts, like Arial and Times New Roman. They are installed on local computers hence they require the least amount of energy to load. However, they limit your options in creating an appealing and authentic design. Web fonts offer plenty of choice, but can increase the page weight and affect page load time. Some web fonts have more impact than others. We use the fonts sparingly by carefully selecting how and when to use them. For example, to enhance the design we can use a web font that looks great as a header and compliments the body copy that is rendered with a system font. This way we make your website look great and save on overall page size and server load.

Improving loading times

Search engines absolutely adore fast-loading websites, because the users do too. Nobody wants to waste time. Reducing the size of your website will not only boost your ranking, it’s also better for the environment as the website will require less energy to load. We develop websites in WordPress and use several plugins that improve the user experience and make them more energy efficient. One of those plugins optimises images to reduce file size for all the screen sizes without losing quality. Next to that, we use lazy load for images and web caching. We keep your theme custom, editable and as small as possible by optimising every style and javascript files and replacing images with .svg icons where possible. This way the server doesn’t have to work so hard to load your website and thus it reduces the energy usage. 

If you already have a website, check how clean it is with the Website Carbon Calculator. We can proudly say that is cleaner than 82% of web pages tested. 😎

Living and working sustainably is being aware of the impact our decisions have on the environment and future generations. Want to build an awesome green website with us? Get in touch.

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