A sustainability first digital build for the voice of the UK’s sustainable Built Environment

Written by Rachael B. - April 4, 2023

We’re excited today, to share the launch of a brand new website for the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). A superlight, sustainable online space that truly reflects the organisation’s vision for a more sustainable future.

While sustainability is always a priority in every project, this was the first led by our Digital Sustainability Lead, Marketa, with our Digital Sustainability services front and centre before we even began, starting with a UKGBC specific presentation to highlight the benefits of taking this approach.

Screenshot from Website Carbon, showing that the original website was 82% dirtier than pages tested, with 1.36g C02 produced per page view.
The original website carbon score for UKGBC’s old website – 1.36g CO2 per homepage view

The UKGBC team didn’t need convincing of the importance of ensuring their new online space would be as sustainable as their vision for the future of the built environment, and were wonderful to work with. 

We quickly developed a strong collaborative relationship, working closely together to flex our approach at every stage of the project, to problem solve and turn potential sticking points into creative sustainable solutions.

We’re super grateful to the UKGBC team for also allowing additional time for this creative exploration, giving us the space to come up with a unique solution that then informed the design of the website.

Image of the UKGBC website homepage. The brand colours are a dark-ish blue with white text, with a speech bubble to emphasise 'The voice of our sustainable built environment' in a bright teal, with a darker blue text.

Website Carbon Audit

In order to identify the best ways to reduce the impact of the new website, compared to the existing, carbon heavy site, we began with an in-depth Website Carbon audit.

This allows us to report and benchmark impact so that we can identify key areas for improvement. There were several areas we identified, the main one being the amount of images across the site, which added considerable weight to its carbon footprint.

Image from one of our presentations, showing the different images and the carbon/weight savings from creating the new image styling.
Our dynamic dev/design solution for reducing image size

Low carbon content

Alongside our Website Carbon audit, we also conducted an SEO audit and complete content refresh. This is a brand new service that we offer, partnering with fellow B Corp Empower Agency, who provide us with SEO insights, which we then combine with data from our Website Carbon audit.

This combined approach helps us to analyse what legacy content should be kept, what needs to be updated and whether there is any low value content that should be removed from the site. By streamlining the site content in this way, we ensure that we make the new website more relevant to those who use it, as well as ensuring a reduced impact on the environment.

Image of an open laptop displayed thje stylised, pixellated style image that dictated the design of the new ukgbc website.

A unique image styling solution 

We began by using a darker pallette for the new branding, which reduced the impact of the overall design of the new website, but the number of images across the site remained the biggest challenge when it came to finding a sustainable solution.

To approach this challenge without removing necessary images from the new website, our design and development teams worked closely together, to ensure that any design decisions were thoroughly thought through in terms of the impact they would have across the whole site.

This, as well as the extra time that the UKGBC gave us to experiment with image rendering, helped us to come up with a unique approach to image styling – creating a unique pixellated look and feel that we then incorporated into the new website’s branding.

This innovative approach to image styling helped us to reduce the image sizing across the whole website to 95% smaller than the original site!


Screenshot from Website Carbon, showing that the new website is 74% cleaner than pages tested, with just 0.24g C02 produced per page view.

A 94% cleaner, sustainable success!

Thanks to the Digital Sustainability first approach, and allowing additional time to explore innovative solutions, the new website is now 94% cleaner than the old site (based on the assumption that they’ll receive the same amount of traffic as before), with an estimated average carbon footprint per page view (across the whole site) of just 0.1g CO2.

The website we co-created also has drastically reduced CO2 emissions – reduced from 664kg CO2 to 41kg CO2 on a standard grid and an even bigger reduction with the move to green hosting – 39kg CO2.

To put this in context, this is as much CO2 as boiling water for 89,992 cups of tea on the old site versus 5,571 cups of tea on the new site, or as much CO2 that would be generated by driving an average gasoline-powered car for 1,649 miles (old site) versus just 103 miles (new site).

Our Digital Sustainability Lead, Marketa, says:

“Working on this project was a wonderful opportunity to really take our time to see the difference we could make spending more time on dynamic design and development solutions to create a super light website. It was a real pleasure to work with the with the UKGBC team, who were so invested in this journey.” 

You can read more about this project over on our case studies page, and if you would like to learn more about our Digital Sutainability services, please get in touch. We’d love to help you green your website!