The internet has enabled huge advances in learning and sharing information, and our world is the richer for it, but it doesn’t come without a cost.
And the cost is not found just in the price of the hardware and services forming the infrastructure, but also in the environmental effects of increased power demands (and the associated carbon emissions) for driving the storage and delivery of bits and bytes from the servers to your screen.
Have you ever wondered what the carbon footprint is for something as vast and varied as the internet?
According to Mightybytes, the estimated 50 million servers that make up the internet, all of which demand a constant power supply, are responsible for 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s quite a bit of an impact for something that seems ephemeral to most of us, and it will only increase as we get more devices in our homes and hands and more files on servers everywhere.
“More than 100 million websites and web applications account for 9% of the United States’ total electricity consumption, which is more than the airline Industry or a small country like Sweden. While the web is certainly more sustainable than other mediums (print, etc.), there is a lot of room for improvement.” – Mightybytes
In response to this need for improvement in the sustainability of the internet, the company started with the bits and pieces that make up the web. EcoGrader is their new web-based app that can analyze and grade individual websites on factors that affect how “green” a site is. From the FAQ page, the score consists of six tests, with more to come:
The six existing tests are:
- Is your site hosted on a green/sustainable hosting provider?
- What is your website’s findability according to MozRank?
- How many HTTP requests are there upon hitting your website’s homepage?
- What is your Google Page Speed according to Google Page Speed Insights?
- Is your site designed mobile first or responsively according to [method of test]?
- Did you avoid using Flash on your site?
Find out how your favorite websites compare over at EcoGrader.