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Sustainability on the internet

When you think of sustainability, you may think first of all of the actions you can take in the physical world. Yes, like driving an emission-free car or considering sharing economy rather than buying new things. But there are also digital sustainability measures you can take.

How can deleting an email or freeing up hard disk space have a positive effect on the environment? Let's take a closer look at the case!

What is meant by sustainability on the internet?

To understand how digital sustainability measures work, we first need to understand the connection between energy consumption and the environment. 

A large proportion of the world's electricity is produced through gas and coal power plants, ie non-renewable natural resources. In other words, by cutting down on electricity consumption, we can help save important natural resources - and thus also the environment.

Emails and files take up a lot of storage capacity on servers, and these servers are often located abroad. If you store content in digital "clouds", this means a certain consumption of electricity (perhaps on the other side of the globe). 

Clouds are in practice large, energy-intensive data centers that are switched on 24/7. Among other things, a lot of energy is spent on cooling the data centers. By taking up less storage space, there will be less load on the servers. Therefore, power consumption is also reduced.

What about Norwegian energy - is it not produced in a sustainable way?

Storage can also take place on local servers in the office or at home. In this country, a lot of electrical energy is produced through renewable resources such as water, solar and wind. Many people therefore think that you can use electricity with a clear conscience in Norway. 

However, the electricity you use in Norway does not only come from renewable resources. We are part of the European electricity grid, which means that electricity is both imported and exported. This energy often comes from coal or gas.

What can you do yourself?

Although it may seem like "a drop in the ocean", action can be taken you does have a positive effect on the environment. It can still be beneficial to have "volunteer work", where several people work together to clean up e-mail accounts and files to free up storage space.

If all the inhabitants of Norway had deleted an e-mail or two each, this would have constituted a reduction in power consumption corresponding to the amount of power needed to charge 1,000,000 mobile phones. In other words, we are talking about major energy savings.

As an individual, these measures can help:

  • Delete emails
  • Use less storage (both on local and remote servers)

What can companies do?

Businesses should also take responsibility when it comes to sustainability on the internet. Feel free to encourage all your employees to delete emails on a regular basis. In addition, it can be beneficial to provide greener hosting of your business website.

Green hosting means that the hosting company uses electricity from renewable energy sources. Examples are electricity generated by wind, solar, tides or geothermal energy.

It is also important to think about website speed. Pages that are not very resource intensive and fast need less processing power. This in turn will result in a lower energy consumption than what a slow website would have required.

Another tip is to make sure your business has mobile-friendly websites. In general, visitors to your website will use less power if the page is visited from a mobile than from a heavy and power-hungry computer.

  • Encourage employees to participate in "delete jobs"
  • Choose greener hosting
  • Faster speed (less energy)
  • Have mobile-friendly websites

What do we do in Flexistore?

Flexistore has a clear sustainability strategy, and works continuously to be it most environmentally friendly warehousing solution in Norway. So far, we have introduced a number of measures to minimize our climate footprint.

Among other things, we prioritize sustainable network solutions. These use minimal energy, and also ensure that our site loads faster for customers. 
Read more about our sustainability strategy here!

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