When you work on your website - or people visit your website - data must be transferred from the website’s server, across the internet infrastructure to your - or a visitor's - computer or mobile device. Transferring data uses energy (electricity). Creating this energy commonly involves burning fossil fuels - such as oil, coal, and gas - that release greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2). The more energy use associated with your website - especially via visitors - the bigger your website's "carbon footprint".
The daily use of the internet requires electricity and generates CO2-emissions. A single German standard computer centre - hosting approximately 50,000 websites - has an annual electricity consumption of 5.5 million kWh. (source: Energy Efficiency in Data Centers, bitkom 2015). The electricity required for this purpose is still largely derived from fossil fuels whose greenhouse gases released during combustion have a negative impact on the environment.
Not all energy-related carbon emissions can be 'removed' or reduced. Until carbon emissions can be removed or reduced - or adapted to provide a non-harmful effect - other approaches must be used to address this problem. With academic and applied research from the University of Oxford, Carbon Neutral Websites has developed a proprietary algorithm to estimate a website's carbon footprint. This carbon can then be offset - by 200% when using Carbon Neutral Websites - via accredited carbon reduction projects.
With 51 per cent of the world’s population still lacking access to the internet, we are at a critical juncture where we must decide how the internet of the future is built. Although current human energy needs rely on using a significant volume of fossil fuels, future solutions are likely to involve the development of existing and new renewable energy technologies.