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How to surf in the Internet more sustainably

Sustainable on the Internet - 14 tips for greener surfing

Do you actually know how you can surf the internet sustainably can? Admittedly, this is a question that very few people ask themselves. But it is also clear that every necessary search query, every fun online game and every romantic movie on a streaming platform consumes energy. IT companies need to develop more efficient data centers, that's true! But we can also act sustainably in our everyday use of the internet.

In this article, I would like to give you some valuable tips to help you surf the internet more consciously and sustainably in the future. From search behavior and your email provider to the ideal screen size. Let's go!

TipDo you plan to live more sustainably? Then be sure to take a look at my article with the best Tips for a sustainable everyday life an.

Why is sustainability necessary on the Internet?

The climate change is certainly the biggest environmental problem of our time - a problem that brings further problems with it. The increasing energy consumption of growing world populationbut makes the fight against global warming more difficult.

Both IT companies and users must work together to ensure that our society is as sustainable as possible on the Internet in the long term. Here are some facts that make it necessary to learn more about more environmentally friendly web surfing:

  • Google's server farms consume enormous resources. On average, a single search query consumes 0.0003 kilowatts. Each individual Google user could power a 60-watt light bulb for three hours with their monthly search queries alone.₁
  • Digital technology is now responsible for 3.7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. By comparison, civil aviation accounted for just 2 percent of emissions in 2018.₂
  • In 2015, servers in Germany consumed around 7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity for operation alone, plus a further 5 billion kilowatt hours for the necessary cooling. The resulting CO2-emissions amounted to around 6 million tons. This corresponded to around 0.7 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Germany in 2015.₃
  • Experts expect the energy requirements of servers to increase by 60 percent between 2015 and 2025.₄

Tip: What if you could also ensure more sustainability on the Internet professionally? In the sustainable job portal for example, you can find job advertisements in the IT sector of environmentally conscious companies. Or how about studying environmental informatics? You can find out more in the detailed article about Sustainable study programs.

14 tips for more sustainable internet surfing

Sustainable surfing on the Internet - the best tips

By now, you know why a sustainable approach to the Internet is also important for solving many problems. Environmental problems of our time is. That's why we're now getting down to the nitty-gritty. In the following, I'll show you my best tips for surfing the Internet sustainably.

1. use sustainable search engine

Search queries consume energy, which is why it is fundamentally sustainable and sensible to make as few as possible. However, search engines are an integral part of our everyday lives. Google may be the biggest user of renewable energy, but there are even more sustainable search engines.

Tip: Switch to a sustainable search engine. With the Ecosia search engine, for example, more than 50 million trees have already been planted as a result of users' search queries.

2. avoid browser and voice search

Both browser searches and searches with voice assistants such as Siri, Cortana or Alexa require additional energy and computing power. This relatively unnecessary energy consumption can be saved by visiting a website directly or entering the search terms yourself.

Tip: In future, go directly to instead of typing "careelite de" or "careelite" in the search bar of your browser. And use the Google text field to get answers to your questions.

3. send download links rather than large files

For example, if you want to send your long bachelor thesis to your friends for proofreading, then it is much more sustainable to do it with a download link than by email. Sending the file requires storage space in the email program and, depending on the recipient, must still be uploaded and saved on the server of another email provider.

Tip: Send a download link from your cloud rather than large files. This saves energy, storage and computing power as they only need to be uploaded once and downloaded once.

4. use green electricity at home

We use electrical devices to surf the internet every day - but hardly anyone thinks about where the electricity actually comes from. For truly sustainable internet surfing, it should definitely come from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydroelectric power.

Tip: Find a Green electricity-The company is a provider that focuses on sustainable energy sources in a holistic manner (and not just with a single tariff).

5. delete unused accounts and subscriptions

Everyone has a few superfluous accounts on social networks or email providers and perhaps also a newsletter subscription with emails that only get deleted anyway.

Tip: Delete all inactive accounts that you no longer need. And unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters. This saves energy and helps you to keep your mailbox organized. live more minimalist.

6. use web hosters & cloud providers with a green electricity base

Do you have your own website or are you planning one? In any case, you need a web host. Make sure that they run their servers on renewable energy. The servers on which is hosted, for example, are powered by 100% hydropower. You can also pay attention to sustainability with cloud providers.

Tip: Sign up with an environmentally conscious web host and cloud provider so that you can surf the Internet even more sustainably in the future.

Notice: If you want to start your own online project, the article on Sustainable founding many more tips.

7. reduce use of streaming services

Streaming - Sustainable surfing on the Internet

If you enjoy watching series, documentaries or films on Netflix and listening to music on online services such as Spotify, you probably don't like it. However, around three quarters of the average data volume used on the internet is actually attributable to the use of streaming services.₅

Tip: Use content from the internet offline more often. For example, by downloading your favorite songs that you listen to frequently. This saves you from streaming and makes your use of the internet even more sustainable.

Notice: Don't worry! This doesn't mean that you should never stream entertainment media again. Even a more conscious and reduced use of streaming services will make your online behavior much more sustainable.

8. turn off computer, laptop and smartphone

Electrical appliances consume electricity - even if they are only in standby mode. And every German now has more than just one device at home. From laptops and smartphones to power strips - it is more sustainable to switch them off completely.

Tip: By switching off computers and the like, you save energy and can also sleep better.

9. switch off WLAN router at night

Is it really necessary to use electricity for your Internet connection around the clock? A legitimate question - after all, you rarely go online at night anyway.

Tip: Just turn off your router when you go to sleep - and turn it back on when you get up.

10. reconsider a new laptop purchase

Green surfing the Internet - laptop

Of course, it is particularly sustainable if you have your laptop that no longer works repaired. If absolutely nothing else works - then you should dispose of it properly and prefer to buy a used one to save natural resources.

Tip: When buying a laptop, make sure that it is only as powerful as it needs to be for your personal purposes. If you're not a gamer or graphic designer, for example, you don't usually need an overly powerful graphics card.

11. prefer green e-mail providers

Of course, there are also sustainable email providers that allow you to send and receive emails in an environmentally friendly way. Sustainable email providers cover the energy requirements of their data centers with green electricity or offset the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Tip: When choosing your e-mail provider, look out for the label for green electricity and compensation payments, for example.

12. dispose of electrical appliances properly

Old electrical appliances do not belong in the household waste and certainly not at the side of the road - unfortunately, this can be seen from time to time. If your old computer really is absolutely irreparable, there are more sustainable ways of disposing of it.

Tip: If repairing is no longer an option, dispose of electrical appliances at wholesalers who sell electrical appliances - or at a recycling center: it's often a little further, but you can dispose of them there. Dispose of electronic waste properly.

13. surfing with a stationary Internet connection

Data transmission via a mobile connection consumes significantly more energy than via a stationary connection with LAN or WLAN. Unfortunately, surfing the Internet via a mobile connection is no longer much more expensive, but it is much more convenient.

Tip: If you have the option, use the Internet via a stationary connection and not via mobile communications. This will make your use of the Internet much more sustainable.

14. use a screen of an appropriate size

The screen you use to surf the internet should not be as oversized as possible, but only as large as necessary. This is because screens also consume a lot of electricity - and that also unnecessarily hits your wallet. Another sign that you are using Sustainability Save money can.

Tip: The next time you buy a new screen, make sure that it is only as large as absolutely necessary. This also applies to the Smart TV.

Notice: Even powerful graphics cards are usually incredibly energy-intensive. Consider whether an ordinary graphics card might be sufficient for your purposes.

Sustainable on the Internet - is that possible?

Is it possible to surf the Internet sustainably?

Yes, it works! If you are on the Internet, you can never do it 100% sustainably - after all, energy is consumed. But what's much more important is that you can do it more sustainably. I hope that the tips in this article will help you to surf in an even more environmentally friendly and energy-saving way in the future. As is so often the case, it's just a few habits that we need to break away from.

Do you have any other tips, questions or your own experiences with sustainable surfing on the internet that you would like to share? Then please write a comment below this article.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Feel free to look around a bit more in the Blog about sustainable living around. There you will learn, for example, how you can save money through sustainability can. You are also welcome to contact us via the Building sustainable websites inform

₁ S. Ostendorf: Unersättlicher Hunger nach Strom: Warum der Datenverkehr im Internet so viel Energie verschlingt (Status: 01.11.2018), available at [15.11.2019].

₂ M. Holland; Heise Medien GmbH & Co. KG: Climate change: Online porn produces as much CO2 as Romania (as at: 12.07.2019), available at [15.11.2019].

₃ Federal Environment Agency (2019): Surfing, Internet providers (as at: 21.02.2019), available at [15.11.2019].

₄ Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (2015): Development of the ICTconditional electricity demand in Germany - Final report, p.41. Available at [15.11.2019].

₅ Federal Environment Agency (2019): Surfing, Internet providers (as at: 21.02.2019), available at [15.11.2019].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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