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Every time we click, upload a file or download an app, we use huge data centres that are mostly powered by dirty energy. The Internet will soon amount to nearly 1 billion tons of CO2 annually or approximately 10% of global electricity usage. As well, the over 100 million websites online today account for almost 10% of the electricity used in the U.S. each year. Most of these sites are powered by big, bloated and inefficient code and other assets like video and photographs. In fact, the average web page has now ballooned to 2.5 MB, which is 20 times bigger than a page 13 years ago.

All of that data going up and down the pipes could be powered by renewable energy. A passion project for us, we created Serving Green to demonstrate, in user-friendly terms, the importance of green data centres to our global and connected economies and the role that websites and applications play in warming our climate. Our goals were to educate the public about the need for hosting websites and applications efficiently with renewable energy, to educate visitors about building a sustainable web, to offer useful and relevant resources, and to create an engaging web experience on performance-driven pages.

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Our Solution

The resulting site is itself a model for how to create a more sustainable website. It uses very few media assets while still providing a rich user experience. It also updates easily and is careful to reuse code for faster performance. The site features advanced coding techniques including text masking, calling on hosted script libraries, serving seamlessly looped video backgrounds, and choosing fewer font weights. We developed this project in collaboration with sustainable web guru Tim Frick of Mightybytes and John Haugen of Third Partners. The website received a highly coveted honorable mention prize from Awwwards in 2016. Our hope is that the site will help start and continue a conversation about how our digital economy must be part of a green economy.

We were thrilled to receive an Honorable Mention from Awwwards for Serving.Green, a peer-evaluated organization recognizing innovative web designers, developers and agencies around the globe.

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We hope that this site will start new conversations about how the web is contributing to a rapidly warming planet. Many thanks to the incredible people that were responsible for taking this project from a napkin sketch to 1.43 MB of beautifully served data.

—Andrew Boardman, Principal of Manoverboard
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As a member organization of 1% for the Planet, Manoverboard gives the equivalent of one percent of all revenues to select nonprofit partners that are benefiting the environment.

Manoverboard is a Certified B Corporation, which means that we meet ongoing, rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.