Green Tech South West is delighted to welcome Vineeta Greenwood, co-founder of the pioneering Wholegrain Digital agency to talk about zero waste web design.
Vineeta will share how we can use zero waste principles in web design, exploring the question of why zero waste is a good way to go and how we can make this possible.
Vineeta co-founded Wholegrain Digital, a London-based WordPress agency that is a certified BCorp and 1% for the planet contributor. The Wholegrain team crafts beautiful & fast websites that are user-friendly and naturally low in carbon emissions. Wholegrain Digital are also responsible for the popular website calculator tool.
Day to day, Vineeta is the guardian of relationships with Wholegrain’s mission-aligned clients and the team.
You can read our short interview with Vineeta ahead of her talk.
Q: As the “web” has become more functional and complex – not just pages, but APIs, webapps, embedded pages, etc – how do you consider web design alongside tech use more broadly? For example, considering whether an alternative approach or protocol is more sustainable or appropriate?
“I don’t think we have a protocol or alternative approach for this. I would say if you are working on API solutions, you would find the best approach for it. The same applies to individual solutions. We currently don’t have a way of measuring the effect of this in terms of sustainability other than advocating the less is more principle and asking questions such as is this integration really necessary? And hoping that people who are specialising say in streaming platforms for eg. Netflix is able to take responsibility for their actions and do studies like they are doing with universities to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions.“
Q: Is there a link to the Nielsen Group article on people not actually looking at (stock) images?
“If the photo is not relevant to the content, people tend to ignore the image. Here is the link to the study, and another.“
Q: Is it better to host fonts locally or use something like google fonts that I believe are subset?
“I actually dont know – I’ll ask around in our team to find out.“
Q: Is Webflow environmentally friendly?
“Having any system is less environmentally friendly than having a system. Web Flow in particular may not be the worst offender but still comes with code that you may not make full use of. If you were to go by the less is more principle, then worth seeing what you can do without.“
Q: Any ideas on how we could recycle websites?
“Good point. In a way that’s what our internal project Granola components is about. We’re trying to write an extremely efficiently written code and reuse it for charities with lower budgets. Recycling code would just mean reusing code I suppose?“
Q: Google and other big providers seem committed to more efficient data centres – are they actually a good, ethical default choice for hosting?
“Yes, a large number or almost all Google data centres are carbon neutral and are aiming to be more efficient as it is in their commercial interest to use less energy to make things work. There are very few ethical hosting companies that are genuinely committed to making green choices. Some include Positive internet, Raidboxes and Krystal hosting. If you were using Google cloud service which we do through kinsta, you want to try and find the most positive company that is hosting on google servers, so you are getting the ethical benefit.“
Resources and Links
One of the perks of holding events online, and having such a wonderful and engaging community, is we share a huge amount of useful resources and information throughout the event. Here’s a summary of what we unearthed.
Links & resources
- Wholegrain Digital twitter page
- Website carbon calculator tool by Wholegrain Digital
- GTSW Ecologi forest
- Environmental practices for the web video – Ben Byford
- Sustainable Web Design – Tom Greenwood
- Machine Ethics podcast
- Bristol games hub co-working space
- Eco Web Hosting
- SDIA Steering Group Update: Environmental footprint framework for server-side applications
- Our event about Transport and Mobility (Jan 2022)
- B Corp
- Science Daily – Emissions from computing and ICT could be worse than previously thought
- Web Almanac – Page weight
- Innocent juice website with energy saving toggle
- Green web syllabus
- Noughts and Crosses website with eco-mode
- Kate Bolin person website website score
- The Short Pixel
- Lowww directory of lightweight websites
- SVGOMG svg optimiser
- Sgvo optimiser
- Font Squirrel
- The Hacker News: German Court Rules Websites Embedding Google Fonts Violates GDPR
- The sustainable web manifesto
- Google Front subsetter
- GTSW – Gerry McGovern Interview
- Gerry McGovern – Talk on susbtainable digital design survey
- CAT Salon: Sustainability’s role in the ethical web framework (with Amy Drayer)
- Sustainable Web Design
- Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub
- W3 Environmental Concerns and Sustainability of Web Technologies
- Talk on what brutalist Philosophy can have on web design
- WholeGrain Digital – 17 ways to make your website more energy efficient
- Carbon trap
- Our event with Branch magazine (Sept 2021)
60 Second intro’s
Albie Baker Smith – Founding a Bristol-based start-up aiming to help businesses reduce their staff and client travel emissions. Currently in the really early stages, Albie is keen to test some assumptions so if you have any contacts in organisations who are currently looking to reduce their emissions, or companies helping other businesses to reduce their emissions, get in touch!
You can contact Albie at email@example.com.
Ben Byford – Bristol-based web designer, games designer, AI ethics consultant and host of the machine ethics podcast. Ben also runs Bristol Games Hub, a co-working space, so get in touch if you would like to book a desk!
You can reach out to Ben via his website. More info on the Bristol Games Hub here.
Andy Hawkins – Chief Purpose Officer and B-Corp Coach at Business On Purpose, an organisation supporting companies with B Corp Certification as well as Charities and Public Sector Organisations to measure and increase the impact of their social value. Following on from Albie’s 60 second intro, Andy brought our attention to CoCo plus, a carbon off-setting platform that manages and off-sets corporate travel.
Get in touch with Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate Bolin – Marketing Director at Eco Web Hosting, a small, sustainability conscious web hosting company that plants trees for every web hosting package bought with them.
Neil Clark – Service Design Lead at Manifesto and on the Board of Advisors for the SDIA who are building an API based tool that will be placed into datacentres to measure the amount of electricity used by specific applications. As a think-tank and community-enabled organisation, the SDIA is looking for developers to get involved with the tool.
Neil is also working with Beamer, a trade organisation predominantly linked to digital and marketing agencies, to put together an open letter on how the Government can start to break down barriers for companies to offer their employees more climate-conscious incentives and benefits. He hopes to put this to policymakers when it’s ready and would be grateful to hear from anyone who wishes to co-sign.