It can be tough to measure in tangible terms the impact of the Internet on the environment, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t any. As we continue to enhance our presence online and live and work towards the digital, it’s important to note that the environmental costs of using the Web will inevitably rise, too. The heavier the burden will get.
If you have a website or blog, you can be sure that it takes plenty of energy to keep that up and running. The infrastructure needed, the electricity used, the data servers and power plants required to keep all the information online 24/7 are only some of the things through which our online goings-on can affect the environment.
Start “greening” your own little place on the Web and minimize the Internet’s environment footprint in your own way. Here’s a list of great tips to help you do just that.
Go for green web hosting
These days there are plenty of web hosts, like DreamHost, offering environment-friendly alternatives to typical web hosting operations. Yes, green web hosts all still support cooling controls, Internet connections, data security, and fire suppression systems, but they do so efficiently and sustainably, with the use of wind or solar energy. It’s a great way of minimizing the environmental impact of your website, E-commerce site, or blog.
Greenscroll your site
Greenscroll is a non-profit that pumps green energy into the grid to power your website. It does this by aggregating small monthly pledges from individuals, small businesses, and companies who have a web presence, and then investing these funds into green renewable energy. Pledges range from $5 to $100 a month. So far, close to 435,000 pages have been “greenscrolled”.
Certify your website using CO2Stats
CO2Stats is a service that lets you calculate the environmental footprint of your website, and it finds ways to automatically purchase renewable energy to make it carbon neutral. Once you sign up, you get a code that you can insert into your website. This code automatically monitors the end-to-end footprint of your website – taking into account not just the data servers, but also the computers of your website’s visitors. The valuable service provided by CO2Stats allows you to engage in web commerce while minimizing the climate impact of the Internet. Another “do-it-yourself” neutralization service is GreenWeb.org, which monitors registered websites against carbon emissions and makes these websites more energy-efficient.
Speed up your website
You’ll remember that site speed is now a factor in Google search rankings. It’s also a measure of how green your website is. The longer it takes to load the pages of your company website or blog, the heavier the energy load gets – and the bigger its impact on the environment. Want to go green and speed up your site? Check out the tips we’ve come up with on how to improve your site speed. And no, you don’t have to be a programmer or web developer to figure these out.
Use renewable energy
The benefits of greening your business are multi-fold – even if you’re just investing in small renewable energy sources. There is a wide range of products out in the market – like solar panels and wind turbines – designed for individual consumer and small business use. These products transfer your energy needs so you don’t have to use up resources from an already dwindling supply.
Add a printer-friendly option
If your site has downloadable documents, articles, or pages, make sure that you create printer-friendly, black-and-white versions of these. This gives visitors printing options that can minimize their own impact on the environment. It would also be great if you add a simple button that encourages your users to “Print Responsibly”.
Simplify your web design
Web design is not just about looking pretty; it’s also about achieving efficiency. Ditch the complex color schemes, unnecessary widgets, and fancy Flash presentations which might be confusing to your visitors anyway. Instead go for simplified designs that do not require intensive data and which do not consume loads of energy. If you have to showcase your products through photos, make sure you compress these into quality resolutions that are viewable and lightweight.