Insights

Data center planned obsolescence (part 2)

If you’re constantly trashing your architecture and always buying the latest, most ‘efficient’ stuff then of course you can parade around saying how ‘efficient’ you are. The fact that your wasteful behavior is hidden underneath your creative accounting, and that this behavior is accepted and almost encouraged by established media and ind... Read More »

Data center planned obsolescence (part 1)

Data centers are about as far away from a circular economy model of design as you can get. They are quintessential models of planned obsolescence and e-waste. And yet, every couple of months, you get a ‘The Internet, it’s not that bad, really’ or a ‘Watch as much Netflix as you want’ article. “New research by two leading scientists says ... Read More »

How to reduce digital waste

There are lots of simple yet effective steps we can take in order to reduce digital waste. Either as individuals or organizations we can: Reduce the creation of wasteful data or content. Make sure that what we create contains the least waste possible. Make sure that what we create has the longest life possible. Make sure that we maint... Read More »

CO2 for Irish councils, government departments, political parties

It’s a climate crisis. Everyone can do something to reduce CO2 and other harmful gases and activities, not least Web professionals. Inspired by an excellent UK Council Website Emissions website, I decided to do something similar for Ireland. In the UK, the average council website is emitting 1.29g of CO2 per visit to its homepage, acco... Read More »

CO2 footprint of data

The Internet is the largest system of infrastructure ever created. Moving data across the Internet is a highly complex process, with a lot of hidden environmental costs. Transferring data has many dependencies, according to Tom Greenwood from Wholegrain Digital. “Are you transferring it on a relatively small network from one node to an... Read More »

Do not track

Digital has become too much about the creation and collection of content and data. We are flooding the present with so much content that we are diminishing our critical abilities to think, plan and design for the long term. “I think distraction is another key aspect of digital,” Tom Greenwood of Wholegrain Digital states. “So much of t... Read More »

The Cloud is on the ground

The Cloud is on the ground. I used to think that digital was immaterial, that sending an email was an act of climate activism, while sending a physical letter was like climate hooliganism. It’s only in the last couple of years that I have come to realize that digital is an accelerator of many of our most climate-destructive habits. Vinee... Read More »

Digital: the great accelerator of the climate emergency

The Website Carbon Calculator is a real go-to tool for me when I want to find out how much CO2 a particular Web page is creating. This, and many other great initiatives, comes from Wholegrain Digital, a company founded by Vineeta and Tom Greenwood in 2007. Tom has recently published an excellent book, Sustainable Web Design, for A Book A... Read More »

Transferring data: convenience versus saving energy

Over a wire is the most energy efficient way to transfer data. In a Digital Waste survey, when we asked people if they tried to transfer data (particularly large quantities of data) using wired cable instead of using Wi-Fi, or 3G, 4G or 5G, 62% said no. A German study found that video streaming for one hour:• Using a fiber optic cable ... Read More »

Reducing digital energy waste

If it takes you three minutes to write an email on a smartphone then the total CO2 involved in that exercise could amount to about 1 gram. Writing the same email on a laptop could amount to 5 grams of CO2, while on a desktop it could be as much as 11 grams. The above figures take account of the CO2 produced in manufacturing a particula... Read More »