Digital Ecology: How Can You Mitigate the Carbon Footprint of Websites?

Rate this content

Did you know that about 250 000 websites are published every day? The majority uses too heavy fonts, unnecessary images or utilises redundant libraries generating carbon footprint. ec0lint is a tool for frontend developers that mitigates the carbon footprint of websites by showing tips on how to create a more climate-friendly code. Thanks to code optimization ec0lint can help in reducing emissions from 1.8 g to ~0.2 g per one view saving 216 kg CO2 for each website (-88%!) annually.

7 min
05 Dec, 2022

AI Generated Video Summary

Today's Talk discusses digital ecology and reducing the carbon footprint of websites. Techniques such as using JavaScript or TypeScript, lighter libraries, and optimizing resources can reduce the carbon footprint by 70%. User data collection is important for sustainability, and the Ecolint tool helps make websites more sustainable. It's an open-source tool that can be downloaded and customized.

1. Digital Ecology and Website Carbon Footprint

Short description:

Today, I'll discuss digital ecology and how to reduce the carbon footprint of websites. The internet emits CO2 through data collection, transfer, and end devices. The ICT industry contributes 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. To create sustainable websites, use JavaScript or TypeScript, consider lighter libraries, cache data, and optimize resources like images, videos, and fonts. These techniques can reduce the carbon footprint by 70%. Additionally, using a dark mode and choosing a host provider with efficient power usage can help.

Hi, I'm Katarzyna and today I'm going to talk about digital ecology and how to mitigate the carbon footprint of websites. So what is digital ecology? It's a field of study about the interdependence of digital systems like the internet and the natural environment.

So long story short, everything we do online and what we do offline with our devices generates carbon footprint. But to be clear, digital ecology is not about stopping people from using the internet. It's all about using more sustainable routines that help to mitigate the carbon footprint of the ICT industry.

So how does the internet emit CO2? It all starts with data collection, with servers, data centers and the cloud. Then we can think about the data transfer and power lines. And last but not least, end devices. At each of the steps we have to think about powering all these devices, all those data centers and cooling them down. We also have to mention the energy and the natural resources needed in manufacturing the end devices.

So is it important? It quite is. The ICT industry stands for 4% of all greenhouse gas emissions. What can we do about it? Let's talk about websites. Every day 250,000 new websites are being published and each of those generates 1.8 gram of CO2, It sums up to 216 kilograms of CO2 annually. Have you ever wondered how much CO2 does your website produce? You can quite easily check it by using one of the most popular tools online called Website Carbon Calculator and it helps you with the formula to calculate what is the amount of CO2 that is being generated. It takes into consideration the website size, the end user traffic and the average global energy emissions.

So how can we create more sustainable websites? There are quite many techniques. Let's start with programming languages. So by using JavaScript or TypeScript, we can make our website much less heavier than by using a platform like Wix or Word Press. We would also have more control over the code and thus we can leave some unnecessary parts of the code. When thinking about libraries, ask yourself the question, do I really need all of those? Maybe there are some lighter libraries that you could use, or maybe you could just use the built-in fetch or just try writing those comments in plain JavaScript. Think also about calls to external APIs and about caching the data. And when it comes to resources, there are three main things that you have to consider. So images, videos, and fonts. When saving images, use SVG or WebPi as the formats. Videos, save them always in WebM. And fonts, of course, it's much better to use system fonts than those hosted online, and if you are saving them, use WOFFT instead of the TOFF. By using just this simple know-how, you can mitigate the carbon footprint by 70%. It's also good to have your website in a dark mode. And when picking a host provider, take a look at the power usage effectiveness of the data center and read also their behavior policy.

2. User Data Collection and Ecolint

Short description:

User data collection, including tracking and personalized ads, is crucial for mitigating the carbon footprint and improving loading time and SEO. We've developed Ecolint, a linter that suggests code improvements to make websites more sustainable. With Ecolint, you can transform your website into a more sustainable version. Download Node, install Ecolint and EcolintStyle, initialize the configuration, and run Ecolint. It's an open-source tool, and you can contribute or collaborate by reaching out on LinkedIn or leaving a star on GitHub.

Last but not least, user data collection is also an important topic and this refers to data collection, user tracking, and personalized ads. So why do all this? First, of course, we can mitigate the carbon footprint and save electrical energy. But this also results in shorter loading time for your user, which is essential, and better SEO.

Together with my team, we develop Ecolint, a linter that proposes code improvements to make websites more sustainable. By using Ecolint, you can easily transform your website into its more sustainable version. We are currently developing new features, and with Ecolint, we aim to save up to 88% of the carbon footprint generated by websites.

To get started, download Node and install Ecolint and EcolintStyle. EcolintStyle is for CSS and other CSS-like languages. Initialize the configuration and run Ecolint. Ecolint is an open-source tool, free for everyone to use. If you'd like to contribute or collaborate, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or leave a star on GitHub.

Check out more articles and videos

We constantly think of articles and videos that might spark Git people interest / skill us up or help building a stellar career

React Advanced Conference 2022React Advanced Conference 2022
25 min
A Guide to React Rendering Behavior
React is a library for "rendering" UI from components, but many users find themselves confused about how React rendering actually works. What do terms like "rendering", "reconciliation", "Fibers", and "committing" actually mean? When do renders happen? How does Context affect rendering, and how do libraries like Redux cause updates? In this talk, we'll clear up the confusion and provide a solid foundation for understanding when, why, and how React renders. We'll look at: - What "rendering" actually is - How React queues renders and the standard rendering behavior - How keys and component types are used in rendering - Techniques for optimizing render performance - How context usage affects rendering behavior| - How external libraries tie into React rendering
React Summit Remote Edition 2021React Summit Remote Edition 2021
33 min
Building Better Websites with Remix
Remix is a new web framework from the creators of React Router that helps you build better, faster websites through a solid understanding of web fundamentals. Remix takes care of the heavy lifting like server rendering, code splitting, prefetching, and navigation and leaves you with the fun part: building something awesome!
React Advanced Conference 2022React Advanced Conference 2022
30 min
Using useEffect Effectively
Can useEffect affect your codebase negatively? From fetching data to fighting with imperative APIs, side effects are one of the biggest sources of frustration in web app development. And let’s be honest, putting everything in useEffect hooks doesn’t help much. In this talk, we'll demystify the useEffect hook and get a better understanding of when (and when not) to use it, as well as discover how declarative effects can make effect management more maintainable in even the most complex React apps.
React Summit 2022React Summit 2022
20 min
Routing in React 18 and Beyond
Concurrent React and Server Components are changing the way we think about routing, rendering, and fetching in web applications. Next.js recently shared part of its vision to help developers adopt these new React features and take advantage of the benefits they unlock.In this talk, we’ll explore the past, present and future of routing in front-end applications and discuss how new features in React and Next.js can help us architect more performant and feature-rich applications.
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
27 min
(Easier) Interactive Data Visualization in React
If you’re building a dashboard, analytics platform, or any web app where you need to give your users insight into their data, you need beautiful, custom, interactive data visualizations in your React app. But building visualizations hand with a low-level library like D3 can be a huge headache, involving lots of wheel-reinventing. In this talk, we’ll see how data viz development can get so much easier thanks to tools like Plot, a high-level dataviz library for quick & easy charting, and Observable, a reactive dataviz prototyping environment, both from the creator of D3. Through live coding examples we’ll explore how React refs let us delegate DOM manipulation for our data visualizations, and how Observable’s embedding functionality lets us easily repurpose community-built visualizations for our own data & use cases. By the end of this talk we’ll know how to get a beautiful, customized, interactive data visualization into our apps with a fraction of the time & effort!

Workshops on related topic

React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
170 min
React Performance Debugging Masterclass
Featured WorkshopFree
Ivan’s first attempts at performance debugging were chaotic. He would see a slow interaction, try a random optimization, see that it didn't help, and keep trying other optimizations until he found the right one (or gave up).
Back then, Ivan didn’t know how to use performance devtools well. He would do a recording in Chrome DevTools or React Profiler, poke around it, try clicking random things, and then close it in frustration a few minutes later. Now, Ivan knows exactly where and what to look for. And in this workshop, Ivan will teach you that too.
Here’s how this is going to work. We’ll take a slow app → debug it (using tools like Chrome DevTools, React Profiler, and why-did-you-render) → pinpoint the bottleneck → and then repeat, several times more. We won’t talk about the solutions (in 90% of the cases, it’s just the ol’ regular useMemo() or memo()). But we’ll talk about everything that comes before – and learn how to analyze any React performance problem, step by step.
(Note: This workshop is best suited for engineers who are already familiar with how useMemo() and memo() work – but want to get better at using the performance tools around React. Also, we’ll be covering interaction performance, not load speed, so you won’t hear a word about Lighthouse 🤐)
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
132 min
Concurrent Rendering Adventures in React 18
Featured WorkshopFree
With the release of React 18 we finally get the long awaited concurrent rendering. But how is that going to affect your application? What are the benefits of concurrent rendering in React? What do you need to do to switch to concurrent rendering when you upgrade to React 18? And what if you don’t want or can’t use concurrent rendering yet?

There are some behavior changes you need to be aware of! In this workshop we will cover all of those subjects and more.

Join me with your laptop in this interactive workshop. You will see how easy it is to switch to concurrent rendering in your React application. You will learn all about concurrent rendering, SuspenseList, the startTransition API and more.
React Summit Remote Edition 2021React Summit Remote Edition 2021
177 min
React Hooks Tips Only the Pros Know
Featured Workshop
The addition of the hooks API to React was quite a major change. Before hooks most components had to be class based. Now, with hooks, these are often much simpler functional components. Hooks can be really simple to use. Almost deceptively simple. Because there are still plenty of ways you can mess up with hooks. And it often turns out there are many ways where you can improve your components a better understanding of how each React hook can be used.You will learn all about the pros and cons of the various hooks. You will learn when to use useState() versus useReducer(). We will look at using useContext() efficiently. You will see when to use useLayoutEffect() and when useEffect() is better.
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
174 min
React, TypeScript, and TDD
Featured WorkshopFree
ReactJS is wildly popular and thus wildly supported. TypeScript is increasingly popular, and thus increasingly supported.

The two together? Not as much. Given that they both change quickly, it's hard to find accurate learning materials.

React+TypeScript, with JetBrains IDEs? That three-part combination is the topic of this series. We'll show a little about a lot. Meaning, the key steps to getting productive, in the IDE, for React projects using TypeScript. Along the way we'll show test-driven development and emphasize tips-and-tricks in the IDE.
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
145 min
Web3 Workshop - Building Your First Dapp
Featured WorkshopFree
In this workshop, you'll learn how to build your first full stack dapp on the Ethereum blockchain, reading and writing data to the network, and connecting a front end application to the contract you've deployed. By the end of the workshop, you'll understand how to set up a full stack development environment, run a local node, and interact with any smart contract using React, HardHat, and Ethers.js.
React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
151 min
Designing Effective Tests With React Testing Library
Featured Workshop
React Testing Library is a great framework for React component tests because there are a lot of questions it answers for you, so you don’t need to worry about those questions. But that doesn’t mean testing is easy. There are still a lot of questions you have to figure out for yourself: How many component tests should you write vs end-to-end tests or lower-level unit tests? How can you test a certain line of code that is tricky to test? And what in the world are you supposed to do about that persistent act() warning?
In this three-hour workshop we’ll introduce React Testing Library along with a mental model for how to think about designing your component tests. This mental model will help you see how to test each bit of logic, whether or not to mock dependencies, and will help improve the design of your components. You’ll walk away with the tools, techniques, and principles you need to implement low-cost, high-value component tests.
Table of contents- The different kinds of React application tests, and where component tests fit in- A mental model for thinking about the inputs and outputs of the components you test- Options for selecting DOM elements to verify and interact with them- The value of mocks and why they shouldn’t be avoided- The challenges with asynchrony in RTL tests and how to handle them
Prerequisites- Familiarity with building applications with React- Basic experience writing automated tests with Jest or another unit testing framework- You do not need any experience with React Testing Library- Machine setup: Node LTS, Yarn