Digital Carbon Footprints, Does Dematerialisation Really Equal Decarbonisation?
When looking at our environmentalimpacts as companies and studios,rarely is our digital energy useconsidered as part of this. For my major project within the Certificate in Design for Sustainability and Circular Economies at LSAD, I analysed this question.
Design For Climate
I began by analysing the environmental impact of technology, including production of tech and the European-wide impact of using digital services eg the internet and websites. I came across a study done by Danny Van Kooten, a software developer. He takes two million websites and assumes the averagewebsite receives about10.000 unique visitors permonth and serves files fromcache for returning visitors.
Shaving off a singlekilobyte in a file thatis being loaded on2 million websitesreduces CO2 emissionsby an estimated 2950 kg per month. This is equal to...
Europe-wide, what does this look like? Greens/EFA MEPs David Cormand and Kim van Sparrentak highlight the resounding impact of digital technology and the IT sector on our environment. They deconstruct the notion that the digital world is light and dematerialised – “virtual”, “in the clouds” – and that it has no impact on the physical world. The environmental impact of one year of digital services in Europe looks like the following...
On May 25, 2018—the day GDPR, the General Data Privacy Regulation, went into effect across Europe—Austrian web developer Marcel Freinbichler noticed that the separate, GDPR-compliant website popular news outlet USA Today created for EU users was significantly faster than the original. Upon further inspection, he found that, with all its tracking codes removed, the GDPR-compliant site was one-tenth of its original size and page load time dropped from 45 seconds to three seconds.
Tim Frick of Mighty Bytes observes that those of us who build the web for a living have a responsibility to make it as efficient as we can and power it with renewables when possible. If every one of the more than half-million agencies worldwide committed to building lightweight digital products similar to USA Today‘s GDPR site, for example, we could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions warming up our planet
This project is currently being developed– check back soon for more!