Digital Carbon Footprints

The sources of our energy and its consumption are currently a huge economic and environmental concern.

Back in the 19th century “consumption” was a medical issue, in the 20th an aspiration/addiction, and now in the 21st a major environmental problem!

In November the BBC World service’s Digital Planet series broadcast an interesting and timely look at green tech called “How green is our data?” which mentioned how to discover the green credentials of your favourite websites with the Green Web Foundation

As admin for Transition Falmouth’s website I checked them out and it was instructive to see how many popular websites which have a huge number of visitors (e.g., aren’t running on renewable energy

We are delighted that our web host, Krystal, is one of the 32 UK web hosts that meet the GWF’s criteria.  Krystal have been, and continue to be, very proactive in addressing their carbon footprint – see for full details.

To highlight the issue, I have added Green Web Foundation’s banner on the footer of this and other websites I manage, all of which run on Krystal’s servers and therefore walk their talk!

As far as the broader and constantly growing carbon footprint of communication tech goes, there is a very comprehensive article online called On Global Electricity Usage of Communication Technology: Trends to 2030 (published in 2015 so may well underestimate the exponential growth of usage)

More recently, searching for more about the carbon footprint of the web in particular I discovered an excellent free service for calculating the carbon footprint of any web page taking many factors into account, and suggesting ways to reduce their impact.

I have now added their calculator to the footer of most of the websites I manage, including this one, and here in this article:

You may wish to test some of your favourite websites/pages (Click on “Website Carbon” above)- the results are most illuminating!

Rob, web admin TF


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Digital Carbon Footprints — 4 Comments

  1. Good work, Rob. All this information will be extremely useful for many local organisations to take notice of and act on, and a future piece on tips for users will be most welcome

  2. Thanks, Fliss, I hope to follow up with an article with tips on how to reduce carbon footprint from the user rather than server side at some point