Reporting on Website Carbon Emissions

Yesterday I spoke at Smashing Meets Goes Green, an online meetup themed around building a more sustainable web. In my talk I spoke a little about tools for measuring your website’s carbon emissions, and how it would be great if these metrics could be integrated with commonly-used developer tools for monitoring performance. As I also mentioned, it’s really hard to land on 100% accurate figures for this stuff, as there are so many variables.

Nevertheless, bringing these metrics into focus, however imperfect, would contribute in a big way towards awareness of the carbon overhead of of digital products, and hopefully encourage some designers and developers to build more sustainable websites.

Fershad Irani has written a fascinating deep-dive into the models used for calculating website carbon emissions, their limitations, and how they could be improved. He argues that despite their imperfections, we should be reporting on this stuff anyway.

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