The Karma Metrix Decalogue for a more sustainable use of the web

Before going out home, we all turn off the lights in every room in order to consume less energy. But if we talk about digital, the topic of “energy saving” is still little considered. But yet, according to the Global Carbon Project, if the Internet were a Country, it would rank 4th in CO2 emissions! As in our “offline and physical life”, also our online actions consume energy and consequently produce CO2.

To get an eco-sustainable digital life has become a central toping right now, considering also the digital transition and the pandemic we have all faced in the last years (more e-commerce shopping, smart working, e-learning…). So how to reduce our Internet carbon footprint?

10 rules for a more sustainable use of the web

For years we have analyzed the technical and behavioural factors that engrave the web eco-sustainability, and that’s how Karma Metrix was born. From the project, we thought to share some piece of information with everybody and write a Decalogue with 10 simple actions we can do everyday to have a more eco-sustainable digital life.

1. Erase the useless images from the smartphone

On many phones there are back-up systems that replicate all the photos on the cloud. This action consumes precious energy both as storage and as data movement. If it is true that an image is worth a thousand words, it is also true that maybe out of 10 photos you have on your smartphone perhaps 1 deserves to be kept and backed up. Then delete unused photos and clean the gallery of your smartphone at least once a month.

2. Prefer low-polluting websites

Based on how websites are built and optimized on the technical side, they can pollute emit more or less CO2; to understand how a web pages is eco-sustainable, you can use our free Karma Demo Tool. With the same services / products, look for sites that measure, share and monitor how much CO2 they emit.

3. Heavy files? Use exchange platforms

We often see users sending mega files via chat and email. This consumes precious energy, both in terms of storage and data movement. Better to use a cloud and / or data exchange platforms (such as Wetransfer) that optimize energy for file transfer and / or delete the file sent after a few days.

4. Streaming yes! But not too much

30 minutes of streaming on Youtube, Netflix or Fortnite can produce up to 59 g of CO2; when you decide to use streaming, you can optimize energy consumption by avoiding pausing the video, staying awake and keeping it streaming only if you are actually watching.

5. Clean up the email inbox

Save only important emails and try to have the cleanest inbox ever. On many PCs and mobile phones there are lots of emails that take up data spaceon the device and on the servers that replicate all data on the cloud. This consumes precious energy both as storage and as data movement. So, as it for the gallery of your phone, once a month clean up your email inbox.

6. Delete unused apps on your smartphone

The apps you have on your phone consume energy and exchange data even if you don’t use them. If it is true that we generally use a maximum of twenty APPs on the mobile, delete the ones you haven’t used for months and download only the APPs you really think you are using.

7. Web meetings without video

With smart working, web meetings with active video have grown exponentially. The calls with videos consume much more energy than the call without. It is better to use video-web meeting only when necessary. Avoiding video, you reduce the energy consumed for data transfer.

8. More text messages, less photos, videos and voices

We are always chatting, right? And our messages often include voice, image and video elements. In terms of eco-sustainability in data transfer, this consumes a lot; therefore it is better to prefer text chat or the good old SMS, which with its 0.014 grams of CO2 per SMS remains the most eco-sustainable solution.

9. Just one back-up

We all have on average more than one device including PC, tablet and smartphone. There is no need to duplicate the archives, nor to replicate (or back-up) data in multiple cloud platforms. It is absolutely useless and also doubles the memory space occupied and therefore the energy consumption. To make a comparison with electricity, it is as you turn on all the lights of your home before going out: non-sense.

10. Less windows, less multitasking 

There are more and more users who love multitasking and work with multiple devices and windows open at the same time. This is a non-sustainable behaviour!