The primary objective of ImageEngine is to reduce the byte size of images while maintaining the perceived visual quality.
The results of this is a faster and leaner website - with all the great impact that has on user experience and business - but also a website with significantly reduced carbon footprint.
80% Less Bytes = 80% Less CO2e
The heading above is simplified. However, there is a direct link between the bytes stored, transferred and processed on the internet and the sustainability - or carbon footprint - of a website. As for performance and site speed, optimizing images is a low hanging fruit to reach your business ESG goals, improve Scope 3 emissions and in general lower the environmental impact of your digital presence.
In the "Analytics" section in the control panel, the "Carbon Footprint Reduction" chart shows how many CO2 equivalents (metric grams/tonnes) ImageEngine saved from being emitted.
The chart compares the carbon footprint through ImageEngine (right bar) with what the carbon footprint would have been serving the images unoptimized (left bar). In this example, almost 0.5 MT is saved, which is the same as driving a modern fossil-fuel car 4000 km!
How the Reduced Carbon Footprint is Calculated
The basic foundation for all calculations about digital carbon footprints is that bytes require electricity.
Electricity is needed to create, store, transfer and display digital content.
The less bytes, the less electricity.
Electricity is what generates the carbon footprint. Producing electricity generate anywhere from <20 grams to >700 grams CO2e per KWh depending on how the electricity is produced. Coal powered plants has a higher emission per KWh than hydro powered plants.
To "translate" bytes to KWh, there are a number of models to choose from. The challenge is of course that the carbon footprint of images depends on the geographical location of the end user, origin and the ImageEngine PoPs.
The chart you see in the control panel, uses the "OneByte model" introduced by The Shift Project in their report on CO2 emissions from digital infrastructure.
In the future we aim to produce more accurate numbers based on actual geographical distribution of the traffic.
Carbon Neutral Images
Even if ImageEngine is able to reduce image weight and carbon footprint significantly, there are still some bytes to account for.
In our sustainability policy we explain how we're addressing that.
Put short, we're buying carbon offsets on your behalf so that you can serve images without worrying about emissions generated by images.