Building a Sustainable Web Infrastructure

Corporate IT is coming under increased scrutiny as data centers alone are estimated to emit at least 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide – and this figure is expected to triple by 2026.

The team at Monogram are doing some amazing work with their clients, helping them transform their web infrastructure to a more sustainable and Carbon NetZero environment. So we took the opportunity to interview their CEO and Founder, Colin Hayward and below is his insights.

One of the largest takeaways from us is that not only can this approach make your environment more efficient, but it delivers web and app performance improvements. So this is one example where you can be more balanced and support the environment, build a lower cost environment and offer an improved user experience. Really getting more for less.

The call for sustainable operations has led businesses to adopt cloud platforms and hosted services, allowing them to reduce the impact of their on-premise data centers. One of the first assets to go off-site is the corporate website. 

Changing the physical location of your corporate website won’t shrink its carbon footprint – especially if you don’t use eco-hosting. People don’t realize how big their footprint is.

The good news is that a properly optimised website and green web hosting can drastically cut a site’s carbon footprint. In addition, it will improve your site’s performance and save you money.

Monogram offers Carbon Neutral web hosting to help offset your Carbon Footprint, so if you’d like to learn more, you can contact the team via their website.

Full Video Transcript.

So I’m Colin Hayward. I’m the founding director of Monogram Digital and we’re a web agency.

We specialise in agency to agency website builds designs and infrastructure.

Web is using two 3% of all consuming or outputting to 3% of the world’s carbon output, which is equivalent to a large developed country. So sustainable web infrastructure to us means net zero, and a reduced carbon output and increased use of sustainable energy sources.

It’s also about producing an efficient website too. So it’s about what energy does your website consume both in terms of where it sits on a server, but also how much energy and performance is it using device side. So if my laptop is consuming lots of energy and trying to render a website, how can we reduce that sort of thing as well? So it’s about kind of both ends of the of the energy consumption spectrum.

There are examples of terrible websites out there because they’re kind of producing huge and heavy server loads, which means every time someone performs an action on their website, lots of energy is consumed server side because the kind of making lots of things like database requests using more memory than we need to using more processing power than we need to, which in turn consumes more energy than it should.

And in addition, those websites oftentimes aren’t so efficient. So in terms of what the device is doing at the other end of the website, the device is using lots and lots of energy. It might be using a battery on your mobile phone. So you have to charge your mobile phone more frequently, could be using more more bandwidth than it needs to over the web, which again in turn uses more energy efficient. So you’ve got a website that’s that’s consuming perhaps more energy than it should.

There are some fundamental things we can do to help. And the first is to to look at the infrastructure and where it’s hosted. And often some of the choices that we can help with are quite simple.

So, if you’re hosting with one particular web infrastructure host or data centre that we know is consuming energy from non-sustainable sources, perhaps we can help you migrate to another one. That is, there might be mechanics we can put in place infrastructure sites that help your website to be more efficient in terms of how resources are loaded and where the load it from.

And there are lots and lots of different things we can do kind of both front and back into the website to make it more efficient, which means it consumes less energy. And actually, it’s really important to stress here that this isn’t eco mode, like on a dishwasher, you know, you expect a less good wash. We’re actually talking about this in terms of performance mode. So, you know we’re consuming less energy. But actually, what happens as a result of the efficiencies we put in place is your website loads faster so consumers get a better experience.

So if you’ve got your website consuming less energy with with intelligent design and intelligent use of resources, the next step is to think about where it’s hosted. So if you’re in a data centre, this millions of miles from your customer base, we can move it geographically closer, which means the transmissions are consuming less bandwidth and travelling less power, which uses less energy.

And also what is the energy source of the data centres that you’re presently using and can we improve upon that? So can we say that we’re going to move you to a data centre that uses energy that’s exclusively sustainable and therefore, you know, make sure that your carbon output is reduced.

So our clients are asking for this because our clients clients are saying, what can we do in order to reduce our carbon output and how can we become more sustainable? And actually one of the key areas is that we have an infrastructure that web hosting application infrastructure. And the other is that it does give an additional value proposition to our immediate clients because they can go to their clients and say, you know, here’s a proposition for a new web application or a new website. Oh, and by the way, if if we choose this route, then you’ll be you’ll be using sustainable solutions.

Key point to to begin with is to start with a website audit. So where are you know, how much energy using and where can savings be made. So the second is to consider the performance of your website. So how efficiently is your code running and how can we enable that or help that to consume less energy? And the third is to think about where your infrastructure and your website is hosted and could that be moved somewhere that’s closer to your audience and more sustainable?

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