The top 5 energy efficient websites of Fortune 500 companies: Seaboard

And the 5 least energy efficient: Aramark

2013-05-01

Co.Exist

Measuring The Energy Efficiency Of Fortune 500 Websites

A website isn’t just a flat image on a screen. Somewhere it’s taking energy to produce what you’re looking at right now. And some companies use a lot more than others.

When developers build websites, they keep user experience—site speed, efficiency, mobile optimization—in mind. Those same factors that make websites easier to use also ensure that they’re less energy intensive. Creative firm Mightybytes recently launched a website, EcoGrader, that lets users see exactly how "green" their favorite websites are, based on factors like page load times, avoidance of Flash, mobile usability, and most importantly, the environmental practices of web hosts.

After running all of the Fortune 500 companies through the EcoGrader, Mightybytes discovered that the top sites come from Seaboard Corporation (a food services company), Terex, 3M, LiveNation, and Eaton. The worst? Aramark, Domtar (a sustainable paper company, sadly enough), Mattel, MorganStanley, and United Technologies.

Mightybytes heavily weights green web hosting in the ranks, which it defines as hosting that uses 100% renewable energy. "We don’t necessarily qualify resellers who go out and get other hosting instances, resell those to you, and buy renewable energy credits to offset their footprint," says Julian Rockwood, a Mightybytes project manager.

One of the key influences for the EcoGrader is an article from Net Magazine called "Save the Planet Through Sustainable Web Design." Central to the article—and to the EcoGrader—is the idea that pixels are real. You can’t hold them in your hand like a magazine, but they still suck up a lot of energy when examined on a large scale.

EcoGrader doesn’t offer too many tips on how to build a more sustainable website, but it seems like the rule of thumb is pretty simple: build sites that are well-designed and perform at a high caliber—then spend a little time researching green hosting services.

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3 Comments

  • pindiespace

    Nice to see that Ecograder is getting some press! The idea of measuring sustainability of websites in terms of carbon footprint, Ux, Ui, etc. goes back a few years before my .NET article - there are links to older articles on my blog below.

    If you like EcoGrader, you might also enjoy a manual survey I did of so-called "green" websites a year ago - see http://sustainablevirtualdesig...

    The take-home is that sites which were about "green" did significantly worse than the average website, which has bloated several-fold in download size over the last few years - see httparchive at: http://sustainablevirtualdesig...

  • RM

    This EcoGrader just labeled a responsive website as unoptimized for mobile...

    "We hope your users have nimble fingers because it will take a lot of zooming and scaling to read your site on a mobile device."

    Faith in product = lost.