And if it is, it's a cloud that smells bad.
The British CO2 analysis service WebsiteCarbon states that calling up a website causes an average emission of 0.5g CO2. This does not seem like a dramatic value at first. But it's the mass that makes it.
There are currently about 8 billion people worldwide. If all of them call up just one website, this causes an emission of about 4000 tonnes of CO2. That is 600 flights around the globe. For calling up just one page!
What to do? Persuade everyone to do without one page? And invite 600 students on a trip around the world instead? Actually a nice scholarship programme.
The CO2 footprint of a website is made up of various factors. Decisive factors include the amount of data to be transmitted, the energy requirements of the data centres involved and the energy requirements of the end devices used to access a website. The way in which this is done also plays a role. A mobile call causes more CO2 than a call at home via an energy-efficient fibre-optic network, and the slower the mobile network, the higher the CO2 emission.
Another key factor: the system used to deliver websites. The established content management systems (such as WordPress, Squarespace, Joomla or Typo3) are dynamic or database-supported systems. This means that a database must first be queried before a page can be built. This consumes additional energy and causes CO2 emissions that do not occur with static websites. They build up immediately and cause less CO2.
Last but not least, a database-supported system is much more difficult to adapt to individual requirements than a solution that can be customised. Often resources are loaded that are not used at all. For example, CSS resources for designing a website. They are usually kept in a single large file, of which only a fraction is ever needed. This consumes a surprising amount of energy. In contrast, with a customised modular design, only the resources that are actually needed are loaded. Accordingly, CO2 emissions are reduced.
We consider the value of 0.5g CO2 given by WebsiteCarbon for a 'good' emission value of a website to be much too high! By systematically reducing, minimising and modularising all resources used, much better values can be achieved. For example, calling up this page only causes CO2 emissions of approx. 0.03g. This corresponds to a reduction of 94%.
Even websites with long texts and many images can usually be realised with an initial emission value of less than 0.07g. We think that the established content management systems should also orientate themselves towards such a target and consider an average value of 0.15g feasible, even with the system-related limitations of content management systems.
Emission values of 1g and more should actually be banned. They point to errors that can be identified and corrected relatively quickly. They cannot be excused by anything.
We are collecting ideas on how to realistically, but continuously and consistently, reduce the CO2 emissions of a website and will present these ideas on 31 March at 17:00, here on this page. Register via email and we will send you further information and the access data for the event.
We look forward to your visit.Registration