11 Tips on How to Be Greener on the Internet

Image blog WebSelf

You likely want to do your part to protect the environment. Perhaps you recycle, try to avoid waste, and use your car less often; however, did you know that a large amount of energy is required for web servers? Every time you watch a fun video or send a message to a friend, it creates digital pollution. To help you reduce your carbon footprint, here are 11 tips to be greener on the web. ​

What is digital pollution?

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to talk about digital pollution. According to its definition, digital pollution refers to all forms of pollution caused by the computer domain. There is not only pollution created during the manufacture of these products, there is also an energy cost to use, as well as a large amount of waste.

Welco found data on this digital pollution and the whole thing is far from rosy: 

  • When you search on Google, it emits between 5 and 7g of CO2

  • When you send an email, it emits 7g. If you send an attachment, it amounts to 19g of CO2.

  • 10% of global electricity consumption is digital and the web is responsible for 2% of CO2 emissions

Think about how often you’ve sent an email or watched a video in the last few days. Without knowing it, there is a good chance that your actions have generated CO2 emissions. Now, what to do to be greener on the web?

11 tips to reduce your carbon footprint when browsing the web

Whether you spend several hours a day on the web or not, we have compiled a small list of simple actions to take to be greener when you browse the web. 

Turn off apps and devices you don’t use

It is simple, an application or a device turned off does not consume energy. What’s the point of keeping them operational if it only takes a few seconds to turn them back on? 

Turn on energy saving mode when using your devices

More and more devices offer an energy saving mode. It is possible to use them even when you are not about to run out of battery.

Keep only the necessary emails and documents

Take a look at your mailbox. Is it necessary to keep all that? Old emails and documents online consume a lot of energy on the servers.

Make direct queries or use an eco-friendly search engine

As we have seen above, each research emits CO2. Therefore, if you know what site you are looking for, why not access it directly or use a more ecological search engine like Ecosia and Lilo? 

Don’t keep multiple tabs open and unused at the same time

Maybe you have the bad habit of leaving several tabs open when you browse the web. Again, these unused tabs consume energy. Just make sure to keep only those that are currently useful to you.

Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read

How many newsletters do you receive per day? How many stay in your mailbox for years? Since sending and saving emails requires a lot of energy, eliminate one of the sources by unsubscribing from newsletters that are not of interest to you. 

Clean up your social media accounts

In recent years, you have probably created accounts on several social platforms. Is it necessary to keep them all? Then, is it necessary to always post your photos of your 2012 trip on Facebook? It is best to save these old memories on a USB stick or hard drive.

Limit virtual meetings

Virtual meetings have boomed during the pandemic, but are they still needed? Videos consume much more than just an email or phone call. If necessary, limit the number of participants and duration, then turn off the camera while in listening mode.

Watch your videos and shows online in lower quality

Videos remain one of the major sources of digital pollution. As it can be difficult to ignore Netflix and YouTube, one way to be more eco-friendly would be to simply watch our favorite episodes and videos in lower resolution.

Turn on dark modes when possible

More and more important websites like Google, Facebook or Twitch now offer the dark mode option for their pages. In addition to reducing visual fatigue, it requires less energy. So it’s an easy trick to save electricity when you browse your favorite websites.

Offset your use by purchasing carbon credits

Finally, if you want to neutralize the harmful effects of your web consumption, it is also possible to purchase carbon credits as compensation. However, be careful to purchase your credits from a certified institution. 

And what about your website?

It is also possible to take ecological actions when creating your website. For example, think about designing a light or refined website. You probably noticed that light sites were very trendy, right? To create a light website, consider using only the necessary elements. Simply ask yourself if your image or video really brings something to your page. If necessary, also consider compressing your images so that they consume as little energy as possible.

A light website also has the advantage of downloading quickly. The loading speed of a site is analyzed by Google during your indexing. Therefore, this has a real impact on your position in the search results. Maybe one day websites and online stores will also be evaluated according to their carbon footprint, who knows!

In conclusion, despite what one might think, the web is one of the main sources of CO2 in the world, and its share continues to increase from year to year. Until all servers use renewable energy, we can make a difference by using these tricks to be greener every day. Then, when it’s time to create your website, remember that it’s best to use the right image format so that less energy is required.