How to Build a Planet Friendly Web

Chris Adams, Product Science

You may have heard the quote “Software is eating the world” to describe how services like Airbnb, Uber, Slack, and Skype are replacing the likes of hotels, taxis, and the office commute. Building digital products as a part of our jobs is accelerating this shift.

It’s easy to think that a shift from moving atoms, to moving bits, is a net win for the planet. However, moving around all those bits for our sitestakes servers. And these servers run on electricity. And most of this electricity powering our servers comes from burning fossil fuels. And burning these is a key driver of climate change—the kind of disruption we don’t want.

While we might not be able to stop using the web, we can change how we build and power it, making it planet-friendly as well as user-friendly.

This will talk will introduce the audience to the planet-friendly web guide, an open source, freely available guide showing how to do this, using an easy-to-understand mental model, established techniques from fields ranging from service design, technical architecture, and agile product management to web performance optimisation. It will also show how the audience can help contribute to the guide, so we can learn what works, and apply it to moving towards a planet-friendly web together and faster.


Over the past ten years, Chris Adams has worked in a long line of environmentally-focused startups and agencies as a system administrator, product manager, developer, and user researcher.

He set up the Planet Friendly Web Guide to make it easier to start changing how we build planet-friendly digital products.