Sustainable Web Development – what is it and why does it matter?

The world has a whole lot of data centres using a whole lot of electricity. A lot of this comes from coal generation, but some people are using their data centres intuitively – to grow salad.

In fact, according to ClimateCare.org, our gadgets and the internet as a whole are responsible for 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To put that into context, that’s the same as the whole continent of Africa – and more than the world’s international aviation and shipping combined.

 

Annual-CO2-emissions-Treemap-1

 

What makes up these emissions?

The internet’s emissions come from a range of sources such as servers, search engines and web browsers. Many of these use non-renewable sources for their energy, resulting in a massive carbon footprint. And given that internet traffic has tripled since 2015, that footprint is growing rapidly.

Solutions

The good news is that there are other options. such as:

  • Using a web hosting company that runs on renewables such as Krystal in the UK
  • Using web browsers such as Ecosia
  • Saving your cloud data with an environmentally conscious company

Also, interestingly, companies such as Google are improving their sustainability all the time and claim to have been carbon neutral since 2015 and vow to be carbon-free by 2020, which would be impressive.

And lastly…salad

A data centre company in the Netherlands has had the idea of using data centres to grow salad. The data centres are built near to greenhouses (which need a lot of heat) and the spare heat from the data centres is pumped straight into the greenhouse.

So your next salad could well have been grown using heat from your internet searches.

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