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Web designers and developers impact the environment significantly, as the websites they create a viewed by millions of people every year, and the efficiency of the websites can help or hurt the environment.
It’s definitely easier to prevent than to cure, but since the damage has already been done, it’s time now to actively pursue remedial measures. We’re all responsible for the environmental degradation that has slowly taken place over the years, and now that we’re more aware of the consequences of our actions, we must do all that we can to prevent further destruction and also try to restore what we can of the Earth’s natural goodness.
It’s not just the environmentalists and those who work outdoors who can contribute to the environment; as a web designer, there’s much you can do to minimize your carbon footprint:
- Encourage your clients to opt for eco-friendly webhosting solutions: Besides using a green webhost for your hosting needs, ask your clients if they’re willing to move to a webhost who practices eco-friendly measures that go a long way towards helping the environment. Even if a few switch over based on your recommendation, you would have achieved a significant victory. If possible, you could even include a discount if clients agree to change webhosts at your suggestion.
- Create a green office: If you work from home and are in charge of your own work environment, use the opportunity to create a green office – it’s not too difficult, and you save both money and the environment in one go. Get rid of your energy guzzling gadgets and devices and use equipment that does not consume too much power; invest in CFL for your lighting needs; use your printer only when necessary (when hard copies are a must), buy recycled paper, and print on both sides for in-house documents. Dispose of your old gadgets responsibly, by recycling them instead of dumping them in your trash and polluting the earth’s natural resources through landfills.
- Use energy responsibly: Use electricity sparingly – switch off lights when you’re not using them, keep your heating/cooling to a minimum, and shut down devices when you’re not going to be using them for hours together. Don’t just switch off the power button on printers and other devices, ensure that you switch off the main supply as well. Also, switch off chargers and remove them from their sockets when you’re done charging your phones and other devices,
- Recycle and reuse: This mantra holds good not just for material things, but also for code that you use in the creation of websites. Opt for applications that have been used in other websites, and if your developer is amiable, get a discount on such deals. Also, use CMS to create self-sustaining websites so that you don’t have to hire the services of coders and developers to maintain the site over the course of its lifetime. This ensures that less manpower is used, less energy is used, and less time is wasted.
- Use green web design principles: While there’s not much you can do for the environment when you’re actually at work (except to get things done quickly and avoid wasting power), you could design simpler pages that load faster (because the energy used in the transfer is less) and also use lighter shades for your background because LCD monitors use more energy to display darker shades. Earlier, when CRT monitors were more popular, darker colors were preferred because they used less energy, but with LCD monitors ruling the roost today, lighter shades have taken priority.
Every bit helps, do don’t worry that you’re not doing much for the environment; it’s commendable that you’re doing all you can.