December 7, 2021
The website carbon calculator
Michelle Barker featured the website carbon calculator on CSS-Tricks today. She wrote a nice piece about the application of such a tool. Her suggestion to add it to the Google Lighthouse Score is a good one.
Google claims to have a PUE of 1.1. Adding the ‘carbon score’ to Lighthouse is a great way to further green wash their data hungry business model. However, I agree with Michelle that adding a ‘carbon score’ could have a positive effect and is actually a good idea.
Because I did like the tool, I also got interested in the company behind it. This appears to be Whole Grain Digital, a web development agency from London. I think they have done a terrific job on the design! The quirky feel of their tool gives me a very positive vibe. The image they showed me when I entered my websites address made me genuinly happy. Here it is:
But something hit me. My website generated 0.02 grams of CO2 per visit, while when I entered the tool itsself I got a score that was 21(!) times as polluting! Why? What went wrong there? The design is as simple as mine.
I digged into their source code.
- they use WordPres for their website, which is a remarkable choice for a green website
- they load 144kb of (compressed) CSS, which is 10 times the size of a ’normal’ CSS file
- for their statistics they use a service that is called Cabin (low footprint analytics), which is created by Normally Ltd. who are autoplaying 12MB of video on their homepage
- this makes the Normally homepage not 21 but 337 times more polluting
So, to get things straight: this company, that is doing a ’not so good job’ at building a green website, is telling me I should hire them for my next green website? While they are using a tool from a company that claims to care about footprints, but has a 12MB homepage? It just feels wrong.
The tool is great. I applaud the idea, I applaud the design and I applaud the marketing effort, but from a technical point of view the tool is disappointing. And isn’t technical excellence what this tool is actually about?
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