How it Works

Thanks for using Ecograder.

Your website is part of a digital ecosystem that uses energy when visitors interact with your content, through network and data center use, and hardware production. As such, the internet has a significant environmental impact. Some estimates put the global carbon emissions of the internet’s 5 billion worldwide users on par with that of the airline industry.

In 2013, Mightybytes released the first version of Ecograder, which has crawled tens of millions of websites. To address the environmental impact of websites, tools like Ecograder help people better understand, track, manage and reduce their digital footprint. In 2022, an updated version of this tool was released.

How Ecograder Calculates Web Page Scores

The 2022 Ecograder utilizes CO2.js from The Green Web Foundation, as well as Google Lighthouse's open source page metrics, to identify areas for improvement.

The Green Web Foundation (TGWF) is an active not-for-profit organization striving to deliver a meaningful contribution towards creating a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly internet that runs on renewable energy. CO2.js from The Green Web Foundation is a JavaScript module designed to estimate website carbon emissions. The specific methodology CO2.js uses is outlined in Calculating Digital Emissions on the Sustainable Web Design site we created with our friends at Wholegrain Digital. More importantly, by incorporating CO2.js, the reports Ecograder generates should also produce the same numbers as those from EcoPing.Earth, Website Carbon, and other tools that use this open source module.

Google Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. Ecograder 2022 uses the metrics identified by Google Lighthouse, but with a modified scoring algorithm.

Ecograder’s carbon accounting includes percentage estimates for the ecosystem scenarios mentioned above:

  • Consumer device use
  • Network use
  • Data center use
  • Hardware production

Using Ecograder to Reduce Digital Emissions

When you input a website address and submit, you receive a report providing suggestions for improving your website’s carbon footprint.

The improvements in the 2022 Ecograder version include a redesigned algorithm and re-weighing individual scoring components such as green hosting, page metrics (including page weight and page performance) and carbon impact. The most significant update to Ecograder’s scoring mechanism is the addition of page-based carbon accounting. At the top of your report, you will now see two figures instead of just one:

  1. Overall Page Score: A page score between 1 and 100 indicates how your page ranks in Ecograder’s scoring algorithm (similar to the old version).
  2. Emissions Estimate: Your page’s estimated carbon impact based on page weight and performance.

Adjusting Emissions Estimates for Traffic

More page views correlates to more emissions. You can adjust Ecograder’s emissions estimates based on the amount of monthly traffic your page gets. Ecograder defaults to a single page view, but if you know the average monthly page views of the URL you are testing, you can adjust for that.

Implementing Ecograder’s Recommendations

The 2022 Ecograder report is designed to prioritize specific actions you can take to reduce website carbon emissions. Each report allows you to drill down into primary page components for more information on how to reduce emissions by minifying scripts, optimizing or resizing images, and so on. Where relevant, Ecograder also links out to additional resources for a deeper understanding of specific sustainable web design topics.

The report represents one URL of your entire site or digital product. After you make improvements to your website, you can run the report again or consider using Ecograder to test other important pages. Test another page now.