Greener, Better, Faster, Slicker
In our continuing efforts to reduce our impact on the world around us, and to help our clients embarking on the same journey, Linassi+Co has developed an energy efficient approach to web builds, one that resulted in our website running up to 150 times more efficiently and nearly 20 times faster than 90% of websites.
Over the past year, we’ve been developing and testing a low-energy mode for websites and have been trialling the functionality on linassi.co. If you’re reading this article on our website, you’re already experiencing our standard low-energy mode, which not only reduces our environmental impact and your power usage but also significantly speeds up the time it takes to load a page.
So, what is a low-energy mode for a website and how is it of benefit?
Every page viewed on your website leaves a tiny but cumulative carbon footprint. Therefore, the greater traffic to your website, the greater its environmental impact.
According to Reset Digital – an online resource that reports on and promotes tech solutions to the climate crisis – the average website produces 4.61 grams of CO2 for every page view. For websites that have an average of 10,000 page views per month, that builds up to 553 kilograms of CO2 per year, which is just a few dozen kilograms short of a one-way flight from London to New York.
As for load times, according to the cloud and mobile testing platform, BrowserStack, the average media website load time in 2023 is 5.5 seconds. BrowserStack also claims that one in four visitors would leave a site that takes more than four seconds to load.
Our new approach to development delivers websites that run with considerably greater efficiency and significantly faster opening rates.
How do we do it?
The ways in which a website is built can affect the amount of power required to view it. The goal for efficiency is to build web pages that don’t continue to draw power from the computer or device’s central processing unit (CPU) or graphic processing unit (GPU) once the page has loaded.
Off-the-shelf web solutions will often come packed to the virtual rafters with code to manage a wide variety of content requirements. Having a clear idea of the content you want to display means the developer can remove any superfluous dead code at the build stage.
In addition, being selective with the types of content hosted within a page, and optimising the content you do feature, will help save power. For example, reducing the use of auto-playing videos, image sliders and interactive maps.
Going the extra mile
For our website, we went one step further by implementing an additional efficiency mode, which allows users the option to optimise further the content they see on the page.
When applied, efficiency mode replaces videos and slider functionality with pre-allocated small image files (we used black and white imagery to emphasise the difference, but you can stick with colour). Click on the lightning flash located at the top right corner of our site to switch between the two modes.
In addition, in standard mode, we added the option of switching between a black or white mode, allowing for further power savings with most modern screens running more efficiently with darker backgrounds. In efficiency mode, the site defaults to a black background.
So, what are the results?
We tested our website in standard mode using the online carbon calculator, websitecarbon.com, through which it was shown to generate just 0.11 grams of CO2 per page view*. That’s over 40 times more efficient than an average site. Our site was also rated as cleaner than 90% of websites the calculator had previously tested.
Switch to efficiency mode, and the improvements were even greater at 0.03 grams per page view, which equates to over 150 times more efficient than the average website and 97% cleaner than all tested sites*.
As for load times, when tested through the online web-speed checker, GTmetrix, our standard website opened fully in just 0.4 seconds and 0.3 seconds in efficiency mode.*
There’s always room for improvement, so we’re going to continue to forge new ways of doing better across our entire business, while also trying to advise and encourage our clients to follow suit.
* Data points at time of writing