September 27, 2023


Learn Business From Experience

7 Digital and Expertise Hacks to Cut back Your Group’s Environmental Influence

8 min read

After we speak about lowering carbon emissions, it’s normally issues like heating, transportation, utilities, and bodily methods to cut back waste that come to thoughts. However do you know that web utilization, web site internet hosting, and digital communications additionally devour an enormous quantity of vitality?

To rejoice Earth Day – and let’s face it, she deserves some love this 12 months – we’ve give you seven straightforward methods you may tackle this digital waste and ensure your group is energy-efficient and environmentally pleasant on each stage.

#1: So. Many. Emails.

On prime of being everybody’s favorite workplace punching bag, the lowly e mail really consumes an enormous quantity of vitality. Why? As a result of each e mail you ship or obtain is shipped, scanned for viruses, downloaded to your laptop computer / smartphone / watch, and saved ceaselessly. A typical e mail creates about 4 grams of CO2 emissions; a much bigger e mail – say, one despatched to quite a lot of recipients, with attachments and plenty of responses – can create as much as 50 grams of CO2e.

Inbox Zero
Picture by Solen Feyissa / Unsplash

These emissions add up. For instance, what number of occasions a day do you ship a fast “thanks” e mail? Though the notice is temporary, the e-mail nonetheless will get despatched, scanned, and saved ceaselessly, which suggests your fast “thanks!” makes use of the identical quantity of vitality as an extended message.

Let’s say you ship 10 of those “thanks” emails per week. With 30 million Canadians similar to you reinforcing our politeness stereotype through e mail, that interprets to 40 tonnes of CO2e per day in Canada!

So how are you going to minimize that down? There are a couple of easy adjustments that may lighten your environmental load.

  • Cut back the variety of emails coming and going out of your account. Solely copy crucial folks in your e mail. (Does Brad in Accounting really want to know?) Each extra recipient represents one other occasion of the e-mail being obtained, scanned, and saved. By making certain your emails solely go to individuals who have to see them, you may reduce considerably on the CO2 emissions from every e mail. You can even clear your mailing lists and unsubscribe from something you don’t commonly use.
  • Cut back the measurement of your emails. Attachments enhance the scale of an e mail, which raises the quantity of vitality it takes to ship and obtain. Strive linking to recordsdata in cloud storage relatively than sending them as attachments. (Bonus: this will make collaboration simpler.)  
  • In the reduction of on emails altogether. Transfer your day-to-day communications onto a chat app like Slack, Groups, and Discord, which hold only one supply of the message as a substitute of a number of copies. As a substitute of sending that wasteful “thanks” e mail, you may ship a fast chat and considerably scale back your CO2 emissions.

#2: Knowledge Monitoring In Your Browser

Do you ever get the sensation that ads comply with you across the web?
They do.

Picture by Siarhei Horbach / Unsplash

Most web sites observe your knowledge, which suggests each search you conduct and each web site you go to is being tracked and logged. On-line entrepreneurs use monitoring instruments to measure the effectiveness of their promoting. And this monitoring results in extra net site visitors.

You may simply scale back this – and hold your curiosity in classic toasters to your self –  with a easy anti-tracking or content-blocking software program like BitDefender; hottest browsers even have anti-tracking choices inbuilt. Anti-tracking and content-blocking softwares block promoting content material and trackers from downloading, lowering the fixed stream of your private knowledge and chopping down on the quantity of vitality consumed by your web use. Bonus: this additionally protects your privateness.

#3 Your Web site

It’s straightforward to overlook that the web itself produces CO2 emissions. The servers that energy the web  are working always and devour an unlimited quantity of vitality. In actual fact, the web consumes over 1 million megawatt-hours (Mwh) per day. Because of this simply by present, your web site is utilizing vitality. How will you guarantee that it’s utilizing that vitality effectively?

How inexperienced is my web site?

The common web site produces 1.5-7.0 grams of CO2 per web page view. An especially mild web site just like the Musk Foundation website can produce as little as 0.009 grams of CO2 per web page view. If you wish to learn how a lot carbon your web site produces, get a calculation at They’ll let you know how a lot carbon your web site produces and supply customized suggestions on the way to make your web site greener. Sustainable Web Design By Tom Greenwood (published by A Book Apart) additionally offers a superb information to sustainable net design.


If you happen to’re too quick on time to learn the entire e-book, however need to scale back the environmental affect of your web site, strive these three quite simple methods to cut back its payload or obtain measurement:

  1. Cut back the scale of your photographs. Use a compressing software program like TinyPNG to maintain your photographs small. Optimized photographs use much less vitality, and likewise make your web site load sooner.
  2. Trim down the javascript – Trimming down your javascript or CSS removes pointless scripts that may sluggish your web site down.
  3. Use caching software program. You should use a plugin like W3 TotalCache in your WordPress web site to cut back your javascript and CSS and implement browser caching on the similar time.  

Trimming down your web site is a win-win-win state of affairs. Not solely is it higher for the atmosphere, it’s higher for search engine optimization, higher for accessibility, and higher conversion. Your web site runs higher for you when it runs higher for the planet.

#4 Web site Internet hosting

Even when your web site’s load is mild, an inefficient internet hosting server can nonetheless drive up your carbon emissions. Do your analysis on which internet hosting platforms use probably the most sustainable servers to just be sure you’re maintaining your footprint as small as doable. Trace: Insurgent is certainly one of them.

What’s powering your web site?

The best and only approach to ensure your internet hosting firm runs inexperienced is to search out out the place they draw their energy. Since Quebec makes use of 99% renewable, hydroelectric vitality, any servers in Montreal or Quebec Metropolis are a secure wager. Giant knowledge centres with servers primarily based in Montreal and Quebec embrace Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. For a small, and positively inexperienced possibility, makes use of Montreal-based servers which run totally on renewable vitality.

To the Cloud!

Cloud internet hosting is probably the most vitality environment friendly internet hosting possibility. It could repeatedly scale up and down techniques to mirror the web site’s utilization patterns. Cloud internet hosting additionally unlocks serverless choices, automation, and scaling for functions, and is all the time a secure wager for inexperienced internet hosting provision.

Use a CDN

A Content material Distribution Community, or CDN, brings your content material nearer to your customers. For instance, a consumer in BC can obtain info from a server in Alberta relatively than in Montreal. CDNs are designed to prioritize your web site’s effectivity, making your web site as quick as doable. Each Cloudflare and Stackpath (formerly MaxCDN) have WordPress plugins.

The easiest way to make sure your web site is environmentally pleasant is to make sure it’s operating effectively on renewable vitality. Ensure you’re utilizing inexperienced servers, look into cloud internet hosting, and think about using a CDN to cut back your web site’s carbon footprint.

#5 e-waste

Even the greenest enterprise finally creates some digital waste. Electronics, computer systems, displays, and printer cartridges all turn into e-waste that may pollute soil and water with heavy metals. Whenever you change your electronics, don’t simply throw the outdated ones within the landfill. There are a variety of companies and organizations that can take your used electronics and eliminate them safely.

  • CompuCorps can refurbish your outdated know-how, take away your knowledge, and if the gadget continues to be usable, they will settle for it as a donation (and offer you a donation receipt).
  • BestBuy and Staples each have electronics disposal packages. They ship electronics to waste centres that take the elements aside, eliminate heavy metals safely, and recycle what they will.

It’s straightforward to ensure your e-waste doesn’t find yourself in landfill, so make your mother proud and eliminate yours appropriately.

Domestic appliances being recycled, SW London
Picture by John Cameron / Unsplash

#6 Work Habits

The best way you utilize your electronics at work additionally impacts their environmental affect.

  • Similar to turning off your lights while you’re not within the room reduces your energy utilization, turning your laptop off while you’re not utilizing it (as a substitute of merely placing it to sleep) saves vitality.
  • Reducing the brightness in your monitor from 100% to 70% can save 20% of the display’s energy consumption. Utilizing an advert blocker or monitoring blocker is one other strategy to save energy.
  • Strive switching your search engine to Ecosia! This search engine funds tree planting with the revenue it makes from on-line searches and is an easy approach to assist the atmosphere at work.

#7 Get Concerned!

There are lots of people engaged on options to make tech work greener. Think about getting concerned with, a group of tech staff determining the way to make their work extra sustainable.

Along with brainstorming and discussing options, ClimateAction began #LetsGreenTheWeb, a marketing campaign to cut back the carbon emissions of internet sites. It additionally organized the Digital Local weather Strike in 2019, when corporations agreed to close down their web sites and e-commerce for a day to preserve vitality. If you wish to be taught extra about ClimateAction, you may watch the ClimateActionTech TedX talk, or be a part of the Slack group and get in on the dialog!

Modifications to the environmental affect of digital enterprise can solely come from companies and people deciding to make a change. Anybody could make a distinction: we will scale back our carbon footprint and enhance CO2 emissions from our personal inboxes, search engines like google, and web sites. What is going to you strive first?  

This text was additionally introduced as a part of Your Green Business Speaker Series host The EnviroCentre in Ottawa.

Concerning the Creator

Brett Tackaberry is a digital options skilled with 20 yrs of expertise who makes use of his tech expertise for the higher good. Brett is presently the CTO at Insurgent, accountable for the technical staff and product path. In his mission to make the world a greater place via know-how, Brett helps out with Random Hacks of Kindness, Tech4Good, Ottawa Civic Tech and Baby Nature Alliance Canada.

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