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Tips to make your online activities more energy efficient

Every time you send an email, do an internet search, or upload to your organisation’s website you are using energy and increasing your digital carbon footprint.

A digital carbon footprint is defined as the sum of energy required from all of your online activities. More efficient use of digital technology could help cut 15 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions – and reduce energy use and costs according to the Royal Society.

Ten tips to reduce your digital carbon footprint

  1. Calculate your website’s impact
  2. Change to a green web hosting provider
  3. Simplify your user experience – Every click someone makes on your website has an impact on the environment as they use more energy. So how you structure your website can reduce this environmental impact but also improve user journey.
  4. Make all content count – Every piece of content you create adds to your digital carbon footprint. It’s therefore vital that everything you publish adds maximum value.
  5. Conduct a digital spring clean -Review your metrics and remove content that is out of date or not being read. This means you are not wasting energy on serving content that is no longer of value to your audience. It’s also a great way to ensure your content is up to date and relevant.
  6. Make sure your images are as small as possible – always reduce image size to reduce energy use
  7. Be sparing with video and keep it short and more user friendly (less than 30 seconds)
  8. Use efficient web fonts – Using pre-installed system fonts is the most efficient choice as your device doesn’t need to make extra calls to the server to download bespoke fonts.
  9. Make every email count Make sure any business emails you send add value to your target customers. For example, it’s better to send fewer high-quality emails to a targeted audience than lots of generalised emails to everyone on your mailing list. Think before you send – do you need to send this email? Do you need to cc people Include a link rather than an attachment. For example, Microsoft Office allows you to share a link to a document via its share options, or you can use a service like WeTransfer Delete emails that you won’t need again to prevent them from being stored unnecessarily. Unsubscribe from email newsletters you never read
  10. Think about what device you use and keep it for longer – 83 per cent of carbon associated with your laptop comes from the manufacture of the device rather than using it. Keep your device for as long as possible to minimise the impact it has on the planet Always repair if possible. If you decide to replace a device, think about second hand or rental services and always recycle your old device.

Recycle old devices

Here are some organisations that can help

Make a difference, give a laptop or tablet for schoolchildren to use, a national
campaign coordinated by the BBC. Getting Oxfordshire Online refurbishes donated devices and gives them to local people who need them. Secret Santa 365 started its Laptops4Learners Appeal during lockdown, but has carried on collecting

Recycle your Electricals helps you locate a site near you

Small electrical items, cables and chargers can be tied into a carrier bag and left next to your black bin on collection day. Remember to remove any batteries and recycle them separately

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