MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE WITH YOUR SUSTAINABLE WEBSITE

OR BY POOPING

THE CONSTANT GROWING ENERGY NEED

Heating, cooling, light, charging and more. We have a constant need for energy. These needs will only continue to grow and the energy supply more scarce. Make the world a better place with your sustainable website. Really?

You make choices on a daily basis, just like every purchase you make is a choice. Where you buy your products and where you shop for your services? But also, who are the sellers and what do they do with your money?

CHECK YOUR SUPPLIERS’ SUSTAINABILITY CLAIMS

The Dutch website Eerlijke Geldwijzer (honest money guide) gives you insight in how your bank, insurer or pension fund invests your money. Ofcourse you have to look after yourself, but you can do that without having your money contribute to arms trade, climate pollution or animal suffering. That’s how I ended up choosing ASR for my pension plan and a couple of insurances. At Milieudefensie (Dutch Council for the Defence of the Environment) you can double check if your energy supplier is as green as they claim to be. That’s how I ended up choosing Pure Energie. So now I receive my energy from a supplier that generates 100% green energy from The Netherlands. But how about my digital energy consumption? Let’s look at the bigger picture.

IS THE INTERNET REALLY THAT BIG OF AN ENERGY GUZZLER?

It is clear that our websites, social media, mail and to greater lengths AI (artificial intelligence) all need energy. Mankind is a generating vast amounts of data species and all that data has to be stored. AI increases the need by training itself by retrieving and processing those large amounts of data. An amount that doubles each year (October ’23). The energy needs will continue to grow explosively in the future. By 2030 the energy needs of the internet will be doubled and and determine 5% of global energy needs around 2050.(april ’23).

But surely my modest website has no significant influence?

Does your website have any influence? I had no idea, so I decided to investigate.

HOW MUCH ENERGY DOES YOUR WEBSITE NEED?

My sitebuilder and hoster was taken over by another, bigger company. The perfect moment to check if you’re still happy with the site and to check if it does what it needs to do. I was happy with the overall look and feel, but had no idea how ‘green’ it was.

After a couple of interviews with several green webcompanies, my choice fell upon Bram Baas. On his website he writes: “My mission is to strengthen your online presence, while we simultaneously work on a more inclusive and sustainable digital world.” He had me there. But he still had to fulfill that mission. And he did just that.

SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE

I received a report on how my website performed. My SEO and accessibility were good, but I needed some improvement on my mobile site. But I was here for a green check mark. I clearly didn’t deserve it if I had to believe the websites Digital Beacon and Website Carbon…..

“Overall this website is rated as bad when it comes to it’s carbon footprint.”

Ok, ok. I get the message. By a heavy and therefore slow website, I expelled more CO2 than necessary. Time for some changes! What did we (or actually Bram) do? First of all you determine how fast our website is at Google Page Speed. Based on that he has implemented a number of principles that make my site lighter and faster:

  • Use different software to build the website. Many page-builders load an unnecessary amount of code. The result is a slower website that uses more energy. While doing this he aslo minimized the amount of plug-ins.
  • Reduce the size of images without reducing quality (often the highest resolution is used for convenience). An example; all images on the homepage have been reduced from 1.74 MB to 424 KB.
  • The pages (and therefore the images) only load when you scroll to them. Many websites immediately load the entire page, while you don’t even see the bottom of it.
  • Using only one, so less needs to be loaded.
  • I switched to the green web hoster Siteground with servers in the Netherlands. You can check your own site at The Green Web Foundation. An additional advantage of a green hoster is that they aim for efficiency and optimization and apply the latest technological developments.

POOPING FOR A BETTER WORLD

So every purchase you make is a choice. By making more sustainable choices you can change the world one small step at a time. Just keep walking! Ofcourse that depends on your budget as well, but if a more sustainable choice is within your reach, why not take it?

Here’s a short list of my sustainable choices:

  • The Good Roll; producers of 100% European recycled and bamboo toilet paper, who use 50% of their proceeds for building toilets in Ghana.
  • Wakuli; coffe producers with three important customers: the coffe farmer (long-term relationship & fair prices), the planet (regenerative production), yourself (damn good coffee).
  • Nortvi; a beautiful and sustainable suitcase brand. Products that go a long way (any broken parts can be replaced), are produced in an honest way, easy to use and look pretty damn stylish. Nope, I am not a shareholder, just a fan.
  • The Chocolate Makers; darn good chocolate that is produced with emission free with solar power in Amsterdam North. With classics like milk and pure, but also more daring flavours like orange & pepper or popped quinoa & ginger. You can taste the trade and pureness of the bar. after this you’ll say goodbye to supermarket crap.

If you live in the Netherlands, all four brands are even more sustainable, because their products don’t have to travel far.

SUSTAINABLE = FASTER & MORE EFFICIENT

And now my own website rubendingemans.nl. What started as a search for a green check mark has resulted in a more sustainable, but also faster and efficient website. That performs excellent on desktop as well as mobile devices and emits a whole let less CO2.

If you want to know more, you can read Bram’s blog or have a look at his site. Sorry peeps, they are both in Dutch. I am a lone freelancer and so is Bram. Our communication was short, sweet and crystal clear. And he also happens to be a really nice guy. That helps, right?

DECREASE YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

Do you want to do more? Then here a more suggestions to decrease your digital energy consumption:

  • unsubscribe for mailings you never read or receive too often.
  • be selective in what and how much you post.
  • clean out your social media once in a while (why did I post that cringe picture anyway?)
  • fix your devices if possible
  • buy refurbished
  • don’t leave full batteries plugged in the charger

JUST KEEP WALKING

I don’t have perfect sustainability scores and sometimes I slack as well. But you decide the choices you make in this world. step by step you can make a change. Sustainability is a mindset. It’s starts with one step and continues to grow. Just keep walking!

Warm regards, Ruben

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