How Sustainability Will Drive Your Business Growth

drawing of a laptop on a blank background with an eco friendly inspired leaf design

Websites & Sustainability

The common myth suggests web design is inherently sustainable, with a minimal environmental impact—after all, digital has replaced paper. But the reality is far more complex.

As we move towards a more digitally focused world, the urgency for sustainable web design and development has never been more critical.

What impact does a website have on the environment?

Consider the infrastructure behind your website—data centres, servers, and the energy consumption of users accessing your site. This digital ecosystem significantly contributes to your carbon footprint.

In 2023, data centers are estimated to account for up to 3% of global electricity consumption currently, with projections indicating this could increase to 4% by 2030. The average hyperscale data center consumes enough electricity to power up to 37,000 homes annually​​.

According to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), data centre electricity usage is expected to double by 2026, primarily due to power-intensive workloads like AI. With an increasing number of sites using some form of AI, choosing to make sustainable choices in other areas can help offset this figure.

With overall internet usage accounting for 10% of global electricity consumption, a rising figure, the importance of responsible digital practices becomes clear.

Why should I care about sustainable web design?

Creating a more sustainable website isn’t just about ticking a box for corporate social responsibility; it’s a savvy business move with tangible benefits. Here’s how going green with your web design can propel your business forward:

1. A Smoother User Experience
A lean, mean, green website means stripping back to essentials, speeding up load times, and creating a user-friendly interface. This approach cuts down on user frustration by making it easier to find what they’re looking for, leading to happier visitors and more engagement.

2. Improved SEO
In the race to the top of search engine results, speed and user experience are your best allies when it comes to SEO. Sustainable web practices like image optimisation and code streamlining not only make your site faster but are more likely to be favoured by search engines.

3. Organise for Optimal Discovery
A site built on sustainable principles is a dream for search engines to crawl and index, thanks to its clear structure and optimised search capabilities. This makes your content easier to find, reducing bounce rates and boosting the effectiveness of your site.

4. Keep Visitors Hooked
A fast-loading, easy-to-navigate site significantly cuts down the chances of visitors bouncing. And the longer they stay, the more likely they are to convert. By removing barriers like slow response times or confusing layouts, you’re paving the way for a smoother journey from visitor to customer.

5. Build a Brand That Resonates
Today’s market is eco-conscious, and showing that you care about your digital carbon footprint can do wonders for your brand image. Sustainable web design showcases your commitment to the environment, aligning your brand with the values of your eco-aware audience and potentially driving more leads.

6. Beyond Just Business

Corporate Karma: Going green with your web design earns you more than just savings on hosting costs; it’s a mark of your dedication to reducing your environmental impact. This can lead to recognition and certifications that bolster your brand’s reputation.

Earn Green Credentials: Sustainable web design can be a stepping stone to achieving green or carbon-neutral certifications, enhancing your appeal to consumers and partners who prioritise eco-friendliness.

Attract Like-minded Talent and Partners: A commitment to sustainability can make you a magnet for professionals and organisations that share your environmental values, enriching your company culture and partnerships.

Meet the Expectations of Eco-conscious Audiences: As eco-awareness grows, so does the expectation for businesses to act responsibly. By integrating sustainable practices into your web design, you’re not just improving your site; you’re aligning with the values of a significant market segment.

In essence, adopting sustainable web design practices isn’t just good for the planet—it’s a strategic decision that improves site performance, enhances user experience, and solidifies your brand’s reputation. As we move towards a more environmentally conscious future, ensuring your web presence reflects these values is more crucial than ever.

How To Be Greener Online

1. Optimise Your Content

Firstly, look at the images and videos you’re using on your website. Consider using SVGs for vector images that can easily be scaled up and down without compromising quality.

When it comes to traditional images, consider using compression techniques (such as WordPress plugins) and avoid using large file sizes. You can also utilise lazy loading to reduce your initial page load times, save bandwidth, and improve your customers’ experience.

When it comes to videos, hosting them somewhere other than your website, like YouTube or Vimeo, will help offload bandwidth. These platforms use global content delivery networks (CDNs), which store copies of your videos in multiple locations worldwide.

This means that videos are served from the nearest location to the viewer, minimising the energy required for data transmission over long distances. Bellow, we have listed some of the tools our developers use when it comes to checking the sustainability of a website.

  • Website Carbon Checker this will give you a graded score and let you know some statistics like how many trees it would take to absorb the CO2 levels your site produces in a year.
  • Eco Checker by Create is a great tool for obtaining an overall green rating for your website; a Google PageSpeeds insights rating; whether or not your site is running on ‘green energy’; and your pagespeed score.
  • Green Web Check will provide you with code for an accreditation which can appear on your website if it is run on green hosting.

2. Choose Green Hosting

Choosing a web hosting provider that prioritises sustainability can significantly reduce the environmental impact of your online presence. Green hosting providers use renewable energy sources to power their data centres, among other eco-friendly practices.

Beyond the source of energy, consider how efficiently a hosting provider uses that energy. Look for providers that use energy-efficient servers and cooling technologies.

Some providers may not be able to source 100% of their energy from renewable sources but compensate for this by purchasing carbon offsets, which can also contribute to a net reduction in carbon emissions.

Contact our team to make the switch to green hosting now. We pride ourselves on being able to deliver you a more sustainable website, which includes using green hosting providers.

3. Minimise Resource Use

Reducing heavy scripts and frameworks can improve your website’s load time and efficiency. The end-user experience will be improved, and you can create a more sustainable website.

Opt for lighter, more efficient frameworks and libraries that offer the functionality you need without the bloat of unused features. Remember that writing custom code for specific functionalities can be more efficient than including an extensive library with much more than you need.

Minimise and compress JavaScript and CSS files. Consider removing unused code and using tools to automate this process, like PurgeCSS for CSS and UglifyJS for JavaScript.

Adopt coding practices that reduce redundancy and improve efficiency, such as using CSS animations instead of JavaScript for animations, which can be less resource-intensive. For web applications, consider using server-side rendering, which can reduce the amount of JavaScript required to be sent and executed on the client side, speeding up load times and reducing energy use.

Use Lightweight Frameworks: Recommending frameworks like React (for dynamic interfaces) or Vue.js (for progressive web applications) that can be optimized for speed and efficiency.

Optimisation Tools: Tools like Webpack for bundling and minifying assets, or PurifyCSS to remove unused CSS, can significantly reduce load times and energy consumption.

Sustainability and accessibility.

As we know, ensuring your websites are accessible is important to success. After all, creating a site which is accessible to everyone ensures you’re not limiting your customer base. Fortunately, when it comes to web design, accessibility and sustainability go hand in hand.

When web design is focused on sustainability, it should emphasise efficiency through how information is presented and accessed. By choosing to simplify this, not only will the design be sustainable, but it will also often create a more accessible page for anyone with disabilities.

Skilled web designers should create designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also fully functional. There doesn’t need to be a compromise between something that looks good and something that works well.

The future is sustainable.

Sustainable, accessible web design doesn’t compromise on aesthetics or functionality. It’s about creating sites that look great and are built with performance and the environment in mind.

Embracing sustainability in web design lowers your carbon footprint and can save costs over time. Ready to make your website sustainable and accessible? Our skilled design team is here to help. 

Get in touch today to start planning your new, eco-friendly website.