This is a carbon neutral website - and why that matters.

Why I chose to rebuild all my websites and reinvest the money I had saved by switching hosting providers, into offsetting my websites CO2 emissions.

A bit of a backstory

I’ve been tinkering with building websites since 2014 when I needed a website for my new company, Novel Beings (which is now called A Novel Approach) because I didn’t have the financial means to pay someone to build something for me. Since then, I have made countless websites for myself, friends and family on a myriad of different website builders.

I attempted to build the first incarnation on WordPress but found it almost impossible to achieve what I was envisaging (both visually and functionality wise) for my new company back then, and abandoned WordPress for Squarespace quite quickly. I remember doing some research into different CMS builders. After falling down some internet rabbit hole, I read that Squarespace ran on green servers, which was the incentive for me to rebuild the site on Squarespace as it aligned with our company values. I remember being incredibly proud of the fact we had a “green website” – long before I even understood the full ramifications of what that meant for my beloved environment and fledgeling business. Novel Beings was a company that was committed to putting the Planet and the ethical treatment of people front and centre.

I am not entirely sure when Squarespace opted out of green energy (or if it was even true to begin with?) but at some point they did. This, along with the fact that they no longer provided the versatility and flexibility we needed for our developing needs, I decided to change things up…as I do.

"The energy output of the internet is equivalent to all the flights taken in the world"

BBC World Business Report

Considerations & Justifications

Considering the challenges I had using WordPress, I chose to build the next manifestation on Wix. Admittedly, the fact that the hosting was not run on renewables went out the window, and I prioritised convenience and practically over climate. Wix turned out to be so easy in fact, that I landed up rebuilding all my various projects websites on the platform.

As my education into the climate emergency grew – in tandem with my passion into finding Planet (and pocket) friendly solutions to running a business, I re-explored the value in running my various websites inline with my ethos (again). Slowly but steadily, I rebuilt – for the third time – all of my different projects websites on WordPress because I discovered a brilliant hosting provider – Kualo*. Their servers are here in the UK (but they also have US servers for their North American clients) and run on 100% renewable energy – not to mention that they have continuously provided me with outstanding support and customer service. The added bonus is that I have saved a whopping £1 128.12 per year by making the switch!

*This is an affiliate link, but I am only promoting Kualo because I truly think they are worth it. 

Consolidation

Vujà Dé Creative Solutions (a.k.a. khandiz.com) was the last one I rebuilt from scratch. I chose to coincide the “rebuild” with the expiration of my annual Wix subscription. 

I wanted a home for all my various disciplines and ideas – and to not continually have to build a new website each time I decided upskill or expand my service offering. 

I wanted a website that reflected my personality and values in equal measure. Today I have finally achieved this, and am proud to present my certification that deems this website officially carbon neutral.

Screenshot 2020 06 25 at 14.39.22
Why it matters

So why was achieving a carbon neutral website so important to me? Well, because my website is very image-heavy, it requires more energy to view than most websites (apparently, it’s 82% “dirtier” than most websites on the websitecarbon.com database)^. I imagine this is because it’s predominantly a multi-portfolio site to showcase my visual works of art. I had taken every other recommended measure to limit the energy output required to run and view the site, while still allowing it to serve its purpose. The very last initiative I have taken was offsetting my emissions. Currently, I am greatly overcompensating on the offsetting because I am not getting nearly 10 000 views per month (yet!) – but the good news is, I am also offsetting your emissions in viewing this post (and hopefully the rest of my website).

The reason I chose to offset with co2neutralwebsite.com is that not only are they are independently audited, but they are also transparent and pragmatic with their information and they invest in a number of carbon-reduction initiatives (i.e. they aren’t just planting trees). They also offer support on how to minimise my sites energy consumption even further.

^ The % issued by websitecarbon.com does not take into account that I offset my website’s emissions. 

Facts & Figures

According to Greenpeace’s Clicking Clean Report, the Internet of Things is possible the largest man-made thing ever created, and it continues to grow daily – with the “IT sector requiring approximately 7% of global energy use” in 2017. With that, comes an enormous amount of invisible emissions. According to websitecarbon.com, the internet requires 416.2TWh per year to run. That’s an enormous amount of energy. To put it into perspective, that’s 3 – 4% of the worlds global emissions, and it’s likely to increase to 20% of the global emissions by the end of the decade. The impact of the internet – and all the actions, applications and devices that support or require it – is essentially invisible to us. 

Out of site, out of mind so to speak (pun in intended)! I hope this musing inspires you to consider your internet usage impact.

If you’re in need of a new website, or even just a website overhaul that supports your values and supports your decarbonising objectives, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Resources & Further Reading

Here's a great infographic put together by CustomMade, breaking down the why? how? and what?

Carbon Footprint of the Internet

Carbon Footprint of the Internet
Infographic by CustomMade

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