How Can IT Professionals Reduce Their Carbon Footprint?
If you haven't really thought about this in your professional life, then you might be wondering how ‘you’ as a web professional consume a lot of energy when other sectors are making headlines in the newspapers for their higher dependency on conventional energy. The answer is a simple 'yes'—you are indeed gushing out enormous amounts of carbon dioxide every day in your office or at home, unknowingly, through your work. Generally, using laptops and mobile phones daily does a lot more damage to the environment than you think, as these tools require a lot of electricity.
Information technology is very much globalised in today’s world. Several organisations are incorporating sustainable work culture into their business practices, from small enterprises to multinational companies—keeping an eye out for ‘greenwashing’. If you still lack clarity and have no clue how to embed sustainability in your day-to-day work, here is the road map towards a real transition:
You might be a front-end developer, a back-end developer, a full-stack developer, a mobile developer, or even a DevOps engineer. Everyone has a significant role to play in optimising websites in terms of sustainability.
Developers should keep in mind that the code they write and borrow needs to be simple and clean. A clean code is also known as a 'green code’. It helps you decrease the energy consumption demanded by an algorithm. This is an extensive topic, and there is a lot to go in terms of its application, but as a developer, you can keep your code simple, green, avoid duplication, and make sure it is well-polished so it can do what it needs to do.
Sometimes the images you use will eat up a lot of space and require more loading time, which means more energy is consumed. There are a few tricks you could consider to decrease energy consumption. Firstly, try reducing the image size using openly available online tools. Secondly, use a more efficient image format such as WebP over JPG. These simple, thoughtful approaches will provide a wonderful search experience for visitors.
Font formats such as WOFF and WOFF2 can significantly reduce the file size compared to other formats like TTF and OFT. If you want to know more about energy consumption in this context, take a look at wholegrain digital
Inefficient JS will increase CPU usage and add file weight to the web page. Using less JS brings many advantages. It decreases loading time, provides real value to users, and protects their privacy.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP is actually a technology that allows users to experience a simple version of the original web page. It helps take out irrelevant content that adds a huge amount of file weight, thus making content load faster. For more about AMP.
Web Content and Design
Increasing energy efficiency is not confined to web development. Designers, content writers, technical writers, and content creators can contribute to bringing energy consumption down. The following points will help you incorporate energy efficiency into your work:
Videos are great for conveying a message directly to targeted audiences. However, unnecessary videos will increase the loading time on the user’s CPU. If you feel video is unavoidable, try to reduce the duration, remove auto-play, and keep the video as short as possible.
Similar to videos, images can simplify a concept, theory, or any other idea. You might have noticed that images make up more of the web page content than videos. But using a lot of pictures adds no value to the users. So think twice before you pull them up to a web page. The more images you put up, the more energy is consumed.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO facilitates search experiences on the internet. When SEO works well, people have direct access to the information they are looking for and spend less time on web pages that don't meet their needs. A successful SEO will help provide information faster, thereby increasing energy efficiency. To find out more about SEO.
User Experience (UX)
Users do not wish to see any glitches while navigating through a page. A smooth user experience will reduce friction in the user journey and make using the web easier, more enjoyable and more energy efficient.
As discussed above, fonts play a key role in deciding the file weight of websites. Consider using system fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman. Even though they are not visually appealing to some, they add less weight to files and use less energy.
Bringing sustainability into your work life is not as hard as you thought. Now you know what to do and how to be more energy efficient in a field where the carbon footprint is not accurately measured, even though some tools such as Website Carbon can help us understand. But the question you must ask yourself is whether you can follow up on everything discussed here? These simple and easy-to-incorporate tips will definitely have a positive impact on the IT field and our everyday use of digital resources in terms of energy efficiency. However, the decision to make a real transition must come from all of us.