The internet will soon amount to nearly 1 billion tons of CO2 annually or approximately 10% of global electricity usage.
Every time we click, upload a file or download an app, we use massive data centres that are mostly powered by dirty energy. The more than 100 million websites online today account for almost 10% of the electricity used in the U.S. annually. For the most part, big, bloated and inefficient code and other assets like video and photographs power these sites. The average web page has now ballooned to 2.5 MB, which is 20 times bigger than a page was 13 years ago.
Renewable energy could power all of that data going up and down the pipes. As a passion project, 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 visitors about the need to host websites and applications efficiently with renewable energy and offer resources to build a more sustainable web.
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. We hope that the site will help start and continue a conversation about how our digital economy must be part of a green economy. Serving Green received an Honorable Mention from Awwwards, a peer-evaluated organization recognizing innovative web designers, developers, and agencies worldwide.
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