Podcast – Sustainable Websites

February 21, 2023

  • Lenght: 11 Minutes

Speaker: Anne-Mieke Bovelett & Jakob Trost

In our second podcast episode, we once again have Accessibility & Possibility Advocate Anne-Mieke Bovelett as our guest. This time we talk to her about sustainability – a topic that is often underestimated when it comes to websites.

[00:00:02.330] – Jakob

Hello, everyone. We’re happy to broadcast our second GREYD.Podcast today and I would like to welcome our special guest, Anne-Mieke Bovelett. Hey, great to have you here.

[00:00:11.620] – Anne-Mieke

Hey, thank you for having me again.

[00:00:14.130] – Jakob

Yeah. We’ve chosen another really interesting topic for our second episode. We’ve talked about accessibility the last time and today I would like to talk to you about sustainability and what a sustainable website actually is. So first off, what does sustainable web design mean for you?

[00:00:34.410] – Anne-Mieke

I should actually trim it down to sustainability in general. To me, sustainability is that you do not waste excessive or excessively waste resources, and in this case, energy. That’s what sustainability is for. Because everywhere where energy is used, you get CO2 emissions, which is actually a consequence of using energy or creating energy sources, as far as I know. And anyone here listening can correct me if they like. That’s how I see it.

[00:01:11.270] – Jakob

That is very correct, I think. So sustainability is about costing or using resources and consuming energy, is that right?

[00:01:20.880] – Anne-Mieke


[00:01:21.320] – Jakob

And when we put that into context, when we talk about website design, what does sustainability mean for website design? How does it affect the web?

[00:01:31.860] – Anne-Mieke

Well, I mean you have to think about the tech, the stuff that happens under the hood, and the design. When you say design by design, people always think design is the way it looks, but it’s actually always function over form. So you can say something is working by design. Now, if you create a hero image in a website, does it really need to be a video or an animated GIF for that matter, as animated Gifs are often used as a workaround. Because most mobile applications won’t play autoplay video, which is good. But you have to ask yourself, do I really need to have that? Is someone going to sit on my website and watch it? Because that thing keeps running and running and running and it keeps consuming energy every time the page is loaded. I mean, I’m sure good developers can stop that video from playing once you scroll down, but still it’s using energy. Does it really have to have that or a slider with big images that keeps sliding by? Have you ever seen anyone sit in front of a website, oh, what a nice slider number one, number two, number three, number four. No. And when you think about by design, does it have to have all these moving elements? Does it have to have all these things that consume a lot of energy on your computer or on your mobile phone? Because if it starts draining your phone battery, the person watching your website needs to charge his battery sooner, which is not very sustainable.

[00:03:20.940] – Jakob

Yes, and that is the whole point, because consuming energy means at some part, at some point, we have to recharge our phone and this costs gas emissions in the end. So according to surveys, the Internet consumes or costs around like 1.8 and 3.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s actually a lot. And if we compare those things, a website or maybe a Google search query actually consumes. For example, in an Amazon package direct delivery consumes or costs around 500 to 600 grams of CO2. A simple email costs about around 4 grams and a Google search query costs around 0.2 grams. That’s kind of comparable to making a cup of tea. So this actually gives you some context on why making your website sustainable is really important today and why we have to think about, and I think you explained it perfectly about different points of things you have to think about when you’re building and you actually designing a website. So apart from videos, how do you make your website sustainable? Or are there other topics we have to think about when making websites more sustainable?

[00:04:37.870] – Anne-Mieke

Yeah, we actually have a lot more power as users or web creators than we think. For example, if you work with WordPress and you create blogs, you create categories, you create so called taxonomies, and if you create a taxonomy, it creates a link. And if bots come crawling your website, they’re going to crawl every link your website has. So if you prevent your website from creating these links, because you would use your tags, for example only to filter stuff, you prevent a lot of energy users. I mean, there are complete servers running day by day by day simply because the bots are calling them like crazy. And you can edit your robot dot text. It’s getting pretty technical, but I would say go and watch the presentation from Worktown. Netherlands, where yoast default from? Yoast actually explained how that works, but one of the examples he gave is you can take your robot dot text and tell it that the Korean and the Chinese and the Japanese and the Indian, whatever search engine doesn’t need to crawl your German website. Why would they want to crawl a German website?

[00:06:01.090] – Jakob


[00:06:02.130] – Anne-Mieke

So you can turn that off and if that’s not getting crawled, this is saving hundreds of thousands of hits on your website. Not in general on your. Even if your website is very small, you think, yeah, I only have eight pages and then I have my articles and I have twelve tags in four categories. It’s really small. No, it’s not small if you don’t need to use these tags or if you don’t need to have these tags as archived pages, then leave them out.

[00:06:36.430] – Jakob

Yeah, that is actually a really interesting thought because I never thought about taxonomies and how all these generated URLs actually affect the footprint of your website. The emission footprint.

[00:06:46.750] – Anne-Mieke

I didn’t know either.

[00:06:49.170] – Jakob

Yeah, that’s really interesting. And do you know any tools to like, if I want to make my website sustainable, are there any tools or things I can use for testing it? Or how can I see what footprint this website actually does and how good it is.

[00:07:06.710] – Anne-Mieke

I would actually expect you to know these tools.

[00:07:09.510] – Jakob

Oh, I know a couple of them. I was just like, maybe you have some tricks up your back.

[00:07:15.130] – Anne-Mieke

Not on top of my head, because I think about sustainability before I start building a page and not afterwards to think what I can fix.

[00:07:25.790] – Jakob

Okay, so just to name a few, we actually researched some of you have just to name some tools: Ecograder, Website Carbon or Globemellow Browser add on. Those are tools where you can actually test your website. So just fill in your URL and those tools will like crawl your website and see how many resources this website generating. And a lot of the things, I mean, it’s quite similar to performance testing as well. The more resources it consumes, the more heavier the HTML and CSS and JavaScript markup actually is, the worse your test results are. We did it ourselves and we were quite surprised. We have like I have to look it up, 96 out of 100 on Ecograder and 91% on Website Carbon footprint. That’s actually quite nice in the start. So I think, okay, our website doesn’t seem to be that bad, but I will have a look at how I can proof that.

[00:08:21.840] – Anne-Mieke

I’m curious if these tools take that what we just talked about, the tags and the link and the archive links, if that is taken into account. And maybe we should do a search on that, do some research and do another podcast on the topic to see what we found.

[00:08:39.290] – Jakob

That would be great. That would be great, yes. And just if you really would like to optimize your website for sustainability to be more sustainable. Just listen to what Anne-Mieke did talk to you about, maybe optimize your videos, maybe leave them out entirely. And if you want to make you reduce, for example, the image sizes of your website, use tools like tiny PNG, lazy load images, for example. In fact, you have lots of those functionalities built into the GREYD.SUITE as well, but also could use other tools for that. So yeah, just to come to a conclusion, it was really nice talking to you about sustainability. I learned a lot and learned a lot of points where I have to think about, where I didn’t think about before. So that was really interesting for me and I hope it gives some interesting topics to listeners as well. Do you have any final words about sustainability?

[00:09:37.030] – Anne-Mieke

Yeah, I have final words. It would be final words for any podcast that you record with me. Perfect is the enemy of good. So when you start thinking about this, the first thing you can implement, just implement it. Don’t wait until you know everything because you will never know everything. Just start doing it and look at the tools that you’re using. I mean, there are a lot of really great page builders out there, but you have to judge them by their output. Do they help you to create a sustainable website? Or are they loading tons of scripts? Are they actually counterproductive? You have to look at that. And I think one of the great things about WordPress these days and the Block editor is that sites created with the block editor are super fast. And if you work with GREYD, it’s a wonderful example of using a tool that helps you make a more sustainable website. You have a great basis and you can go from there.

[00:10:47.130] – Jakob

Thank you very much for those nice words. So it was great having you here Anne-Mieke and we will hear you the next time.

[00:10:54.290] – Anne-Mieke

Wonderful. Thank you very much.

More Podcasts


Podcast – Sustainable Websites

We talk with Anne-Mieke Bovelett about sustainability – a topic that is often underestimated when it comes to websites.

Thomas und Anne

Podcast – Accessibility

We speak with Anne-Mieke Bovelett – Accessibility & Possibility Advocate – about the very exciting topic accessibility and give you a first insight into the complex subject, which we will be exploring in more detail in the coming weeks.

Our Blog Topics

Development Events GREYD.SUITE Gutenberg Marketing News Newsflash


Subscribe now and never miss any news about GREYD.SUITE & WordPress:

Skip form
The email address should contain an ‘@’character and a valid domain with a period.
Form skipped

Newest Articles

GREYD wordpress for enterprise


WordPress as a Solution for Enterprise and large Companies

Read More

Acropolis Athen


We’re Excited to Sponsor WordCamp Europe 2023

Read More



WordCamp Germany 2023, a different kind of recap

Read More

web design proposal blog image


How to create a web design proposal that no one can refuse

Read More

GREYD synchronize WordPress sites


How to synchronize WordPress sites

Read More

Purple background with a screenshot of the GoDaddy webpage announcing the webinar in this post. In the foreground is Jakob Trost, a short-haired blond white male, wearing a yellow t-shirt with the GREYD logo.

Multisite demystified – free webinar

Read More



Why WordPress is the best CMS for web designers

Read More

Web shop

News, Marketing

News, Marketing

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which one is better for you?

Read More

Woman sitting at a table with her laptop, looking into it questioningly and raising her hands.


The 17 most common WordPress errors

Read More



What are Custom Post Types?

Read More

Man sits in front of a screen and reads through a post.


Pagebuilders are not sufficent for real webdesigners

Read More