Many of us know the main changes to make when looking to reduce our carbon footprint and live in a more eco friendly way – we might ditch single use plastic in favour of reusable alternatives, or cycle into work rather than relying on our cars? But how many of us have looked into how our internet use or how the design and hosting of websites contributes to climate change?
It’s estimated that the average person in the UK spends up to 24 hours per week online. We might think nothing of this statistic, part and parcel of living in a modern, digitally literate world, but when we factor in that a typical website produces 6.8 grams of carbon emissions every time a page loads (that’s roughly the same as the emissions produced when you boil an electric kettle for a cup of tea) our internet usage becomes a huge contributor to the climate crisis. Staggeringly, the global Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem’s environmental impact is so large that its carbon footprint is on a par with the entire aviation industry’s emissions from fuel.
Green web hosting and design is still relatively unknown despite having been around for years, but it can be a great way to minimise the environmental impact of a website by using a provider that uses clean, renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuel electricity.
It’s fantastic to be part of a community of fellow entrepreneurs that are working to drive positive impact for society and the environment
“It’s a little-known fact that the internet has a huge environmental impact, due to its gigantic use of electricity – most of which currently comes from fossil fuel power stations,” says founder and Managing Director of erjjio studios Ben Clifford. “The Cloud may sound fluffy, light and dreamy but every time we search Google, read emails or open a website we’re actually generating carbon emissions.”
“We actively measure, analyse and reduce the carbon emissions of the websites we create. Unlike other hosting providers, we optimise websites to make them much lighter as part of our service – we can typically reduce a website’s emissions by 70% or more. We also power them with clean, renewable energy rather than fossil fuel electricity.”
erjjio studios has been a virtual tenant at Allia since January 2018, and has benefitted from the community of entrepreneurs at our East London centre.
“It’s fantastic to be part of a community of fellow entrepreneurs that are working to drive positive impact for society and the environment. As we all know, the journey of founding and running a business is certainly an emotional rollercoaster and it’s so much better to have a positive network of people around us than to try and go it alone!” Ben told us. “The team at Allia has been hugely supportive. We really appreciate it!”
Ben spent 10 years working at a major multinational software company, supporting, designing and managing market-leading software and websites, before leaving to focus on erjjio.
“I reached a point where I wanted to have more of a positive impact on the world and play a part in helping to solve the enormous climate challenges facing us all,” he explained. “I noticed that the issue of the internet’s environmental impact wasn’t getting the attention that I think it should be, so I started my own venture where I could help spread awareness of the issue and offer a solution.”
And while green hosting has been an option for a number of years, the challenge of raising awareness remains – something that Ben wants to tackle with erjjio.
“Even within sustainability circles, awareness of its availability is limited, and people don’t realise they can choose between fossil fuel or renewable energy suppliers when choosing their hosting provider. The ability to measure the carbon emissions of individual websites is very new and is even less well known about – we’re working hard to change that!” said Ben.
As erjjio pushes for change through green hosting, Ben will be giving a speech at the launch of climate action organisation We Don’t Have Time’s brand new climate action social network app on 22nd April in Stockholm. “I’ll be travelling there by train and bus from London, as they have a no-fly policy – which will be an adventure in itself!”
You can find out more about erjjio studios and green hosting here.