Why do you automatically provide carbon offsetting?#
As an environmentally conscious company and also as individuals, we think about the impact our activities have on nature in many areas of our lives. In some areas it is obvious to most people: flying, driving, producing animal products, making concrete, the list is long. But what is rarely listed is our beloved Internet.
Very few people know that the Internet has recently been causing even more CO2 emissions than the entire global air traffic. The data centers, end devices, and the energy needed to transmit data all contribute to the emissions.
So if a useful statistics tool like inSites allows us to measure the emissions generated by participating websites, we should do it! Only those who have a value in mind can make a difference.
Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to reduce emissions completely to zero, although fortunately the trend is for data centers to cover their energy requirements more and more with green electricity.
For the data transmission between end devices and data centers that is still necessary, however, we now have a measured value that can be offset. And that's what we do - quite automatically, for all our customers.
How is the carbon footprint of my website calculated?#
Servers and data centers run around the clock, and every click causes carbon emissions. We calculate the carbon emissions of your website and invest in climate protection projects as compensation for you. Automatically and without additional costs for you.
Our calculations are based on the idea of the API of Website Carbon. However, we have revised and rewritten the code for our own purposes to enable an even more accurate calculation of carbon emissions.
Calculating the carbon emissions of a website is not easy and can never be 100% accurate to the emissions. Nevertheless, there is enough knowledge to calculate the value correctly in the order of magnitude. To do this, we use five data sources to give a good estimate:
- Data transmission
- Energy intensity of the web data
- Energy source of the data center
- Carbon intensity of electricity
- Website traffic
When a website is loaded, the energy consumption is roughly proportional to the amount of data transferred.
To calculate the amount of data, take the five most visited pages and their proportions of the total amount of all visited pages. Using this data, we calculate the individual size for each page and take the weighted average from it.
Energy intensity of web data.
Energy is consumed in the data center, telecommunication networks, and by the end user's computer or mobile device. This is of course different for each website and each visitor. Therefore, websitecarbon.com uses the estimated average.
The 2017 figures used are from the report On Global Electricity Usage of Communication Technology: Trends to 2030 by Anders Andrae and Tomas Edler, reduced by production energy as this is not relevant to this calculator. Then the total amount of energy consumed is divided by the total annual data transmission over the Internet described in an article in Nature magazine, How to stop data centers gobbling up the world's electricity. This gives a figure of approximately 1.8 kilowatt hours per gigabyte.
Source of energy used by the data center.
For data center energy consumption, websitecarbon.com matches the Green Web Foundation (GWF) database to determine if the data center is using green energy. If so, the carbon emission is reduced accordingly. The estimate for the percentage of data center energy use is about 10%, which is derived by comparing the global data center energy use reported in the Nature article with the total ICT energy use (excluding manufacturing) from the Andrae and Edler report. Of course, the GWF database is not 100% perfect and includes data centers that purchase standard grid power but offset their emissions. However, for the purpose of the calculation, all are treated the same.
Carbon Intensity of Electricity.
Carbon intensity of grid electricity is based on the international average of 475 grams of CO2 equivalent¹ per kilowatt hour reported by the International Energy Agency; renewable energy figures are based on wind energy data, which produces only about 7% of emissions at 33.4 grams of CO2e per kilowatt hour.
When all this information is compiled, you get a pretty good idea of the emissions associated with an average user visiting a particular website.
Now multiply the carbon per page view by the number of monthly page views and you can estimate the monthly carbon emissions. If you want to learn even more about the calculation, check out https://www.websitecarbon.com/how-does-it-work/ directly.
How do you offset the carbon emissions of my site?#
There are many providers where you can offset your carbon emissions.
We have chosen atmosfair.de.
Atmosfair is a non-profit climate protection organization with headquarters in Berlin, 2004 developed from a research project of the Federal Ministry for the Environment and a joint initiative of the tour operator federation "forum anders reisen" and the environmental and development organization Germanwatch.
And here is information about the climate protection projects that atmosfair invests in: https://www.atmosfair.de/de/klimaschutzprojekte/
¹ "CO2e", which refers to other emissions that have a comparable impact on climate change as CO2, e.g. methane.