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Greenalytics - Unveiling the carbon footprint of the web
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Greenalytics - Unveiling the carbon footprint of the web

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An online application has been developed that measures the carbon emissions and energy usage of websites.

Greenalytics, developed by Swedish researcher Jorge Zapico, matches data from Google Analytics (GA) and environmental research to estimate the carbon footprint of websites, including server, infrastructure and final user.

The calculations arrived at are based on certain assumptions about the user and the country in which the server is based and are therefore an approximation rather than an exact measurement, according to Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology, which has funded the project.

On the user side, Greenalytics uses GA information to calculate the exact number of users, their location and duration of visit. The total CO2 is calculated by aggregating the impact per country, which is the total time visitors from that country spent on the site multiplied by how much electricity computer consume multiplied by the electricity factor (how much carbon dioxide is emitted per electricity unit) of that country.

Greenalytics calculates the electricity use of servers, data storage and network infrastructure by using the total data traffic generated by the site and an approximation of the energy used by internet per data unit.

There are certain assumptions made while calculating the carbon footprint:

The type of computer and screen size is not possible to know. A reasonable mix between laptops and desktops is: 45 per cent using laptops consuming 19W and 55 per cent using desktops consuming 60W.

The data traffic is calculated by the size of the pages, and it doesn’t take into account other factors such as caching. Dynamic content as streaming media or AJAX based interactions are not included. Using just traffic to measure the impact does not include factors as server efficiency or websites that include heavy data processing.

Zapico has calculated the carbon footprint of KTN's own website and found it emitted seven tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2010.

If you would like to measure the carbon footprint of your web site, please contact Cyber Gear at www.cyber-gear.com











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