Being sustainable or eco-conscious isn’t just about using a reusable water bottle and recycling your rubbish. Although these things help, it’s about time we all start to think and act on a larger scale. Our planet and its resources are under a real strain right now, so it’s refreshing when brands such as Balanced Energy challenge us to create the greenest website possible for their business.
Who are Balanced Energy?
Balanced Energy are experienced sustainability consultants based in Exeter, Devon. Adhering to the Future Net Zero Standard (and aligned with the UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign), Balanced Energy crafts bespoke carbon plans for their clients that provide a snapshot of their organisational carbon footprint. This baseline report highlights areas for improvement and sets achievable, target-led goals to reduce their environmental impact and help us transition to a Net Zero society.
How do Websites Have a Carbon Footprint?
Unbeknown to most, the internet silently accounts for 3.7% of worldwide emissions, a statistic projected to double by 2025. This environmental impact primarily stems from the essential function of data centres in storing and delivering website content. These data hubs demand substantial electricity, frequently drawing from fossil fuels for power. The carbon footprint of a website extends even more as users engage through various devices, necessitating ongoing energy consumption for device operation and sustained connectivity, both crucial for internet access.
The Green Vision
When Balanced Energy approached us, they had a cluttered and outdated website built using Wix. Although it already outperformed most websites on the internet, they wanted to do even better and deliver a website that not only showcases their services but acts as a beacon of sustainability, inspiring others to bridge the gap between stunning and green web design. Balanced Energy was determined to prove that exceptional web design can go hand-in-hand with environmental responsibility.
The Journey Towards Carbon-Neutrality
To achieve their low-carbon goal, we built their site from the ground up in two parts, with two different technologies. Our top team of designers and developers knuckled down with their focus on minimising Balanced Energy’s carbon footprint using 5 key components:
The content management system (CMS) underwent a revolutionary change, adopting a “headless” WordPress system. This means that WordPress manages just the site’s structure, menus and content. By separating the back-end functionality from the front-end display, we achieved a lightweight and highly customisable solution that ensures fast production and convenient deployment while putting less strain on server resources.
Designed for Efficiency
Our design philosophy revolved around minimising computational demands and adhering to modern web standards. By keeping the design minimalistic and optimising page files during the build process, we reduced the number of items being loaded and further improved performance.
We also used SVG images, an efficient format that uses ‘vectors’ instead of traditional raster images to reduce data size and energy consumption – think of it as sending someone a page from a recipe book rather than sending an entire cake!
Enhanced User Experience
User Experience (UX) was a top priority. We created a frictionless user journey, ensuring visitors can access information without navigating through data-heavy pages. By combining intuitive design with optimal website speed, we have created a seamless experience for every visitor.
The final piece of the jigsaw is CloudFlare, a reliable and sustainable solution which sits between the hosting of the website’s front end and the user. This provides a world-class caching and content delivery network (CDN) service to not only improve the speed, reduce energy waste and enhance the reliability of the site but also protect against potential attacks, and ensure optimal security through SSL encryption. So, whilst all these things are invisible to you, be assured our site is as lean and efficient as possible.
Thanks to the meticulous work of our design and development team, Balanced Energy’s new website emits just 0.05g of CO2 per visit and is cleaner than 95% of websites on the internet! In fact, their emissions are so low that just one tree can offset the carbon produced by their website for an entire year.
Our journey in creating a low-carbon website has been rewarding and enlightening, to say the least. We believe that every business has the ability to make a positive impact on the environment by embracing sustainable practices. By sharing our successful experience, we hope to inspire others to clean up their act online (and offline) to contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for all.
Need some help cleaning up your website? Get in touch, our top-level team would love to take on the challenge.