The Internet has become part of our everyday life, from just browsing to complex work activities or managing online based businesses. Yet, are we aware of the impact that web surfing has on the environment? Do we understand that websites leave carbon footprints in the real world? Green web design is a concept that acknowledges the negative effects of the web processes over the natural environment, and encourages eco-friendly design and development through optimized pages and code.
Green web design has gained in popularity due to the fact that web designers and developers realize the importance and responsibility that comes with this initiative. Many feel empowered to promote this concept and to implement it, as they are the power behind the Web. It started with the acknowledge of how files on servers, data centers, personal computers, and connected networks make up a complex internet infrastructure and whose maintenance consumes a great amount electricity. And we all understand how electric power generation is affecting our environment.
Over the last few years, internet technologies have improved immensely, empowering designers and developers to build more complex and larger websites that deliver a higher level of service and, implicitly, higher expectations from the users. If a web page does not open in a matter of seconds, one can easily become anxious, and start browsing web pages in parallel. Most of the time, we fail to understand that a more complex website, built with rich animations, images, audio files, or fast loading videos , is responsible for higher energy consumption and higher emissions of CO2 in our physical environment.
As the Web continues to evolve, it provides us with more resources and tools to optimize online performance and experience for websites, that one should make use of wisely. To start a green web design initiative, we recommend resources such as SiteCleaner, Green Web Hosting, CO2 Neutral, or CO2 Stats.
Green web design is actually a mindset that we can all adopt, no matter if we are users, designers, developers, or web hosting providers. We can start by understanding that the online environment functionalities have effects on the real world and they require responsibility and action. When it comes to green web design, we can once again say that less is more!