How to reduce the carbon footprint of your website

When businesses started reducing paper and moving to online operations, it was considered better for the environment. However, going digital increases our demand for computing power, which requires more energy, consumes more resources, and produces more greenhouse gas emissions.

Businesses are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint as part of their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts. Reducing your website’s carbon footprint is one way to help with this and should be an essential part of your ESG efforts.

How to measure your website’s carbon footprint

The first step to reducing your website’s carbon footprint is to measure where you are now. You can do this via online carbon footprint calculators like the Website Carbon Calculator.

According to the Website Carbon Calculator, the average web page produces approximately 0.8 grams of CO2 equivalent per pageview. So, for a website receiving 10,000 monthly page views, the annual CO2 equivalent emitted would be around 102 kg. To put this in perspective, 100 kg of CO2 is equivalent to driving a car for 715 km.

Testing our homepage returned an F rating for carbon emissions, so we have plenty of work to do to improve this. So what can we do?

Brand Up website carbon footprint result

This calculator examines only one page. For a more comprehensive carbon footprint assessment, check out Footprint Digital’s Digital Carbon Footprint Audit.

Here are five ways to reduce your website’s carbon footprint:

1. Reduce the size of images, PDFs, and videos.

A web page consists of several files, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and image files. Images usually make up the largest portion of the total webpage size. The simple solution would be to exclude the use of images; however, as most people will not read your web page without attractive images or graphics, there is an important balance between using images and minimising the size of your web pages.

Luckily, images can be reduced in size by saving them to the correct size and format and compressing them using a tool or plugin. Next-generation image formats like WebP can offer better compression and quality than older formats, such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

The inclusion of videos also increases the size of the webpage. Embedding a YouTube video is easy; however, this increases the number of requests necessary to render your page, including downloading the YouTube video player itself.

This can be solved using a type of Lazy Loading in which the thumbnail or placeholder image with a play icon is shown instead of the video. The video player files are downloaded and the video plays only when the play icon is clicked.

2. Improve website performance.

As well as images, optimising your web pages using caching can dramatically improve your website’s performance. This involves storing static versions of web pages, images and other resources on the user’s device or via a content delivery network (CDN).

You can also optimise the JavaScript, HTML, and CSS code used on your website by minifying and compressing it. This removes unnecessary code and rewrites it into an efficient format.

These steps lead to faster page load times and reduced resource usage.

3. Choose a green host.

When choosing a web hosting provider for your website, look for one that uses green energy. You can search for a green web hosting provider on The Green Web Foundation’s directory, which includes over 500 hosting providers committed to using green energy worldwide. Our website is hosted on SiteGround, which is a certified green host.

Screenshot of green host check

4. Conduct regular content review.

All these methods are part of sustainable web design principles, which aim to minimise the environmental impact of websites.

These principles can also include a minimalistic design approach, energy-efficient colour schemes, and avoiding resource-intensive design elements like excessive animations or large background images.

5. Adopt sustainable web design practices.

All these methods are part of sustainable web design principles, which aim to minimise the environmental impact of websites.

These principles can also include a minimalistic design approach, energy-efficient colour schemes, and avoiding resource-intensive design elements like excessive animations or large background images.

Final thoughts

As your business looks for ways to minimise its environmental impact, reducing your website’s carbon footprint can help your organisation achieve its sustainability goals.

Now, we need to work on reducing our website’s carbon footprint!

Further Reading

About Angie Vale

Angie is technical director at Studio Brand Up and has over 10 years experience in UX, web design and web accessibility.