Cold Spring Design Inc.
15 Griggs Road
Sutton, MA 01590


Drop us a line! We'd love to hear from you.

We believe that the quality of our lives is essential to the quality of our work. If we're not available when you call or email, we'll get back in touch with you real soon.

Green is Popular, but is the Web Green?

Thursday, Jan. 29th 2009

For those of us who’ve been environmentally conscious for years, the current Green revolution is a bit surreal. This stuff is popular now? When’d that happen? Does that mean it’s okay to be part of the crowd, or do I want to push to the front again?

Of course, there are a world of shades of green! I lived “forest green” while thruhiking the Appalachian Trail. Heck, my brother’s trail name was “Green One”! He’s “bright green”, I think. Now? I’m “sea green” at best. True green comes from removing wasteful consumption from our lives, and that’s something I’ve done only fairly well at.

Cold Spring operates out of two home offices and Chris’s is smaller (and greener) than mine. We both heat and cool the offices and have the computers running much of the day and night. In addition, we have websites hosted on about 8 web servers around the country — that’s using some significant electricity! We do well on paper, using a ream every two months or so. Our electricity is pretty green too, since we pay to ‘green it up’ by paying for renewable energy. We drive our cars on business only a day or two per week, doing almost all our business via phone or video chats. Pretty good, eh?

So, is our business green? Websites have become de rigour for small businesses as well as large ones. Our sites serve as flexible marketing pieces, building trust inexpensively and providing another contact point with clients. Our clients spread their marketing budget between their websites, print ads, direct mail, radio, tv, billboards and other advertising medium. How do we compare on the green scale?

We save on paper and ink costs, we save on gasoline for transport and delivery, but we lose on electricity. To come up with some useful metrics, we need to look at what the cost is to have a website up and running.

Designing and building the average site is about 30 hours of dedicated computer time. We host our sites with approximately 100 other websites on the same computer, thus sharing those resources. The computers run nearly 24x7x365, but let’s call it 4 days electricity per year because of the shared usage. Call the life of a website 4 years, spead the development time over that time and we’re looking at approximately 108 hours per year of electricity at about 200 watts per hour. That looks like 22kWh per year (or about $3.50 if you have to buy it yourself.)

How’s that compare to the impact of paper, ink, gasoline and electricity used in other marketing efforts? I’m guessing pretty well, but I’d be happy to hear what you think!

Posted by Jeff Lerman | in Philosophy | Comments Off on Green is Popular, but is the Web Green?
Subscribe to our newsletter
Thoughts in the blog
What's on our mind