The Centre for Sustainable Communications, (CESC), part of Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, has released the beta-version of an online application that can calculate the carbon emissions of a website.
The program, called Greenalytics, calculates the carbon impact of websites by matching Google Analytics statistics with pools of environmental research data and then making appropriate calculations and assumptions that are known about the energy mix in the users’ locations.
”In my research, I want to illustrate the options available when databases are opened up and provide data in a standardized format, which in turn can be linked to environmental data. If you are aware of the climate impact a product has, you can also reduce it,” says Jorge Zapico, the CESC researcher who developed application.
For example, to calculate the electricity use of servers, data storage and network infrastructure, Greenalytics looks at the total data traffic generated by the site and an approximation of the energy used by internet per data unit. The total data traffic is an approximation calculated by aggregating the total traffic per page (the size of the page per the number of visits it has), multiplying with a so-called “Weber unit,” a value associated with energy use per gigabyte of data (3.5 kWh/GB), and finally multiplying with the electricity factor of the country where the server is situated for getting the CO2 value.
Using Greenalytics, Zapico found that the institute’s website causes the emissions of seven tons of carbon dioxide each year.