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Dirty internet: carbon aware websites

Updated 11 Mar 2024

I’ve been looking at how solo consultants can measure their carbon emissions. More on that soon. But for now, two ways websites become more aware of their emissions.

Responsive adaptation

Some websites that react to the current carbon intensity of the electricity grid on the server side and/or the browser’s side.

  1. Fershad Irani: This website is carbon aware - When the grid intensity at the visitor’s location is equal to or greater than 221 g/kWh, the following modification are made: Image quality is greatly reduced. Remove AVIF images, since decoding them can be more CPU intensive. Non-critical JavaScript is removed from the site” (and the code is on Github).
  2. Designing Branch: Sustainable Interaction Design Principles - Utilising data from a grid intensity API and the user’s location, Branch has different interface designs that are shown dependent on the current energy demand and fossil fuels on the grid where the user is.”
  3. Organic basics has a low impact version of its site. Good, but what’s brilliant is they go as far to switch off the website when the carbon intensity is too high. See their their manifesto here.
  4. Low tech magazine: This website runs on a solar powered server located in Barcelona, and will go off-line during longer periods of bad weather”, via How do you build a low-carbon website?

Climate action right there. Inspiring.

Measuring website emissions

These are ways to measure the carbon emissions of a website or a digital practice.

  1. Fershad Irani again: Adapting Cloud Carbon Footprint’s methodology to website carbon estimates and The complexity of Scope 3 emissions.
  2. Wholegrain Digital’s The challenge of calculating our company carbon emissions - for me, the ability to learn and take action is by far the most important.”
  3. ustwo: Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Our Website.
  4. A proposed Technology Carbon Standard which looks like it is designed to overlay the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s model. Looks interesting, a bit thin on detail currently, and note that it doesn’t try measure people, buildings or transport emissions.
  5. Green web foundation will check your own website’s carbon intensity for you.
  6. As will the Website Carbon Calculator, which is from Wholegrain Digital (above) and tells you about its methodology.

All useful reads. And here is my website as measured by those last two sites (good scores are thanks to Blot, not my expertise):

This website is hosted Green - checked by thegreenwebfoundation.orgThis website is hosted Green - checked by

Thanks to the FF.Studio crew for links.

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