The CO2 impact of just one blog

04 May 2020

[ sustainability   footprint   impact   blog   ]

This post in the end is more a placeholder, or even a reminder if you will, on not forgetting that even the smallest of our actions has a CO2 impact!

the impact of having a blog

In this case, it’s the impact of having a blog. In my case, when I tested it, it appears to produce 0.21g of CO2 with every visit! Now, nobody really visits this blog, so it is of little impact, however it larger than expected, albeit better than 85% of the websites tested. The result gets even worse when you look at the actual page which is around 0.40g and only better than 75% of tested pages. This sounds small, but miniscule individual impacts can lead to some pretty hefty emissions!

What does it actually mean?

These results carry some caveats, firstly the tool only analyses the page sent, hence the difference between vs This is quite limiting, and really without analysing the domain or the first initial pages of a domain it gives a somewhat skewed result in favour of those with extremely simple landing pages.

Dynamic vs Static content is an aspect which isn’t really well explained in the How Does It Work? section

Additionally the great majority people who are going to test their at these websites will be clearly interested in making their websites as streamlined as possible, just by selection bias, so the results will be driven to some pretty extremely low values.

Nonetheless, I found this website via which happens to have an amazing 0.06g for the actual blog page! He’s an experience frontend dev and proponent of minimalist websites so the bar is quite high, but it shows what is really possible.

Being pragmatic

In the end for my 10-visitor-a-year-blog it really doesn’t matter, and the effort of finding out the actual realistic impact of the blog is a bit high for the reward, but it does bring up some good general practices which you might want to always keep in the back of your mind (talking to myself here again):

  • Minimise the size of the delivered webpage, this means trimming CSS, JavaScript, libraries, using thumbnails on the pages etc.
  • Minimise the actual in-server storage of the domain! Compress images, reduce repeated code, etc.
  • Finally think of the impact of the actual server to host the page. A particularly interesting, but maybe not practical, example is the solar powered version of low tech magazine - A more reasonable method is using sustainable datacentres powered by renewable energy.

Anyways, I’ll skip this for now, but maybe one day I revisit the idea! This page seems to include even more ideas, mind you it recommends using AMP which is something I disagree with completely, but for other reasons

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