The Global Good Awards (GGA) prides itself on leading the way in sustainable best practice (as well as celebrating it), particularly as it is closely associated to the events industry, one of the most wasteful sectors around.
Indeed, earlier this year GGA CEO, Karen Sutton, put together a guide ‘How to Run Sustainable Events – 17 Top Sustainability Hacks’, sharing the fundamentals of running a sustainable event; both from a social and environmental perspective. It covers everything from food and drink to venues, and from delegate travel to ‘goodie’ bags. See more here. https://globalgoodawards.co.uk/sustainable-event-consultancy/
Now, there is another area GGA has turned its attention to: the environmental impact of digital and the carbon footprint of its website, www.globalgoodawards.co.uk – a move that triggered the subject of the very first Disruption:Delivered webinar (see more here).
Not everyone is aware that a website even has a carbon footprint. Erjjio explains: “When a website has high carbon emissions, the cause is that it loads a relatively large amount of data when the page opens. The basic principle is that data and carbon emissions have a positive relationship. The larger the page size, the larger the amount of data that needs to be stored and transmitted through the internet, which uses more energy and has a larger footprint.”
The first step in tackling GGA’s site emissions was via a free tool called Gtmetrix, which measures the total page size. The result was 5.08MB, which is relatively large – in an ideal world, according to erjjio, a website should load no more than around 1.5MB.
Erjjio then tested the carbon emissions of the website at websitecarbon.com The results indicated that although the website was already running on sustainable energy with a different hosting provider, its carbon emissions were relatively high, at 2.79g every time a visitor visited the home page of the site.
As a consquence of erjjio’s investigations, GGA switched its website to erjjio’s planet-friendly hosting plan, which runs on green energy (as verified by the GreenWebFoundation.org). Using a variety of specialised techniques to optimise the website, it then dramatically reduced the file sizes being loaded by the page. These techniques include image compression, conversion to a web-optimised image format called WebP and “lazy load” to avoid YouTube content being loaded until a user asks for it.
The optimisation has been applied across the entire website which contains 1000+ images. Overall, the Total Page Size reduced from 5.08MB to 2.48MB – a saving of just over 50%. In addition, the page caching elements of erjjio’s optimisation process improved the overall Page Speed Score to A (which was previously E).
Testing the website a second time using websitecarbon.com, the result has significantly improved from its original score of 2.79g to 1.42g – a 49% reduction in the page’s carbon emissions!
Karen admits that there is still room for improvement. “The key reason that the website still has a relatively high score is that a large number of images are displayed on the home page, so we will be exploring opportunities to use a few less images where possible in the future,” she says.
An added bonus for being hosted by erjjio is that trees are planted exclusively on the website’s behalf every month too, via erjjio’s partnership with the Eden Reforestation Project.