Writing - Sustainability

Thoughts and advice on how to build low-carbon, environmentally friendly websites.

Man in a surgical outfit taking off surgical mask covering his mouth with a questioning look on his face. Text on the image reads

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Why are you estimating digital carbon emissions?

In this post, I want to look at the two different carbon accounting models used for estimation, and in what scenario you might use one over the other.

Time lapse photography of square containers at night photo with light trails weaving across the frame.

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Thinking about a way to estimate website energy use

In this post, I want to continue building out an incremental model, but rather than focusing on emissions calculations I want to create a model to estimate energy use.

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Release guide: CO2.js v0.13

CO2.js v0.13.0 brings the latest average grid intensity data from Ember into the library, as well as expands the number of countries for which average grid intensity data is available.

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A first look at Carbon Control by WebPageTest

In early May, 2023, the WebPageTest (WPT) team shipped a new feature to the tool. They called it Carbon Control, and boy oh boy was I excited to see it finally land.

Silhouette of Boy Running in Body of Water during Sunset

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Chasing efficiency rather than green energy

A recent post by Adrian Cockcroft raised some sensible counter arguments for why chasing green energy usage for cloud compute might not always be the most climate friendly solution.

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Release guide: CO2.js v0.12

CO2.js v0.12.0 introduces the ability to customise the figures used in carbon emissions calculations when using the Sustainable Web Design model, paving the way for more case specific carbon emissions estimates.

Light switch set to 'OFF' on a white wall.

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Making this website carbon aware

Building carbon awareness into products is an important strategy to in the challenge to develop a more sustainable future. In this post, I cover how I used Cloudflare Workers and real-time data to make this website carbon aware.

Yellow analogue weight scale display with the needle position just before 500 kg.

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Improving the accuracy of website carbon emissions estimates

Existing models for website carbon emissions are good for reaching a ballpark figure of website CO2 emissions. This post goes into some ways to generate more specific, accurate emissions estimates.

Blue car driving through the desert with colourful balloons hanging out the window.

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Driven by defaults

I’ve been thinking about how we can drive broader change to make the web more sustainable and performant. As I’ll get into, I believe a large part of that comes from the defaults set by the tools and services we use.

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COP27 Egypt: A webpage sustainability review

As COP27 approaches, I thought it would be “fun” to take a look at this year’s COP homepage. How does it do in terms of website sustainability?

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Website carbon: Beyond data transfer

Measuring the carbon emissions of websites and apps is no easy thing. Most tools use the amount of data being transferred to calculate the overall emissions. But to get more detailed, relevant results we need to go beyond just data transfer.

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Release guide: CO2.js v0.11

The v0.11.0 release of CO2.js introduces a change to the default carbon estimation model, as well as including global average and marginal intensity data for the first time.

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CO2.js: An Open Library for Digital Carbon Reporting

Uploading and downloading the bits and bytes that make up the internet uses a lot of electricity. Breaking the internet down to a systems level, data transfer over networks accounts for an estimated 14% of the web’s total electricity consumption.

Edge DevTools on GitHub

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Microsoft propose sustainability section in Edge DevTools

I share some thoughts on the new proposal put forward by the MS Edge DevTools team for a new “Sustainability” tab to be included in the Edge browser’s DevTools.

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Release guide: CO2.js v0.10

The v0.10.0 release of CO2.js introduces an easier way for developers to switch between the different carbon estimation models that are available in the library.

Green summer trees overhead with blue sky

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A carbon aware internet

Knowing the carbon intensity of the electricity grids in which code runs can allow developers to make informed decisions about where/when to run their code.

Female protestor holding up cardboard sign with the words 'Less is more. It's eco-logical' painted on it.

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“Use less. Use green. Buy green.”

By using less power, using green power, and buying from green suppliers businesses and individuals alike can reduce their carbon footprint. How would we go about applying this same thinking to website performance and sustainability?

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Core Web Vitals meets sustainability

Everyone wants to make sure their website's Core Web Vitals are up to standard. What if we told you that some of the very things you'll do to improve your site's Core Web Vitals can also help make it more sustainable!

Wind turbines standing in a grass field in Spain.

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Reducing website carbon emissions

As our thirst for data, connectivity, and content grows, so does the portion of global carbon emissions attributed to the internet. In this post, we'll take a look at the steps frontend developers can take to make sites more efficient and better for the planet.

white windmills in open fields during the daytime

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The environmental case for website performance

What's the link between a faster website and climate change? In this post I'll explain how you can help the environment by focusing on website performance.