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Did you know that surfing the web can contribute to carbon emissions caused by the energy consumption of data centres? Intending to reduce the number of greenhouse gases we create, follow these five ways to reduce your digital carbon footprint.

Do not leave your computer in sleep mode

Systematically turning off your computer and more generally any electronic equipment that is not in use should come at the top of any list to save energy consumed by digital devices. Even if the quantity of energy is small, the fact that it is used when a machine is asleep means that it is effectively wasted. Let’s not forget that lowering your screen brightness can also improve the battery life of machines while making them kinder to the planet.

Downloading is better than streaming

digital carbon footprint

When watching videos or listening to music, you should know that downloading files always use less power than streaming. As a general rule, if you are trying to save energy you should opt for locally sourced data rather than files on remote servers. By the same token, storing data in the cloud is more damaging to the environment than storing it locally.

Manage your emails

digital carbon footprint

Applying a few simple techniques can also reduce the carbon footprint of your email correspondence. As a rule, you should limit the number of emails you send, especially mails to multiple recipients. At the same time, it is worth thinking about the size of attachments, which should be kept small and in text format rather than HTML wherever possible.

Use an alternative search engine

The search engine Ecosia donates 80% of its profits to organizations that plant trees. The non-profit organization which runs the service claims to have financed the planting of 100 million trees worldwide, each of which was funded by an average of just 45 web searches. The long-term goal Ecosia, which is a Berlin-based carbon-negative business, is to compensate for some of the emissions caused by global Internet use.

Use your browser intelligently

digital carbon footprint

To cut down on your personal carbon footprint, there are a few browsing behaviours that you might want to avoid. First and foremost, you should try to minimize the number of tabs you have open at any one time, and make use of bookmarks rather than Google searches to find frequently visited websites. Last but not least, it is important to ensure that autoplay for video is turned off in settings.

All images: Courtesy Getty