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uProfile April 2024 - Amy Czuba

Amy Czuba's Sustainable Journey with Umbraco: Empowering Change in Digital Sustainability

Written by Amy Czuba

Introducing Amy Czuba, an Account Director at Nexer Digital. With over five years of Umbraco experience, Amy's journey began with a fascination for its simplicity, evolving into a mission for digital sustainability. From crafting Nexer Digital's Sustainability Strategy to joining Umbraco's Sustainability Community Team, Amy is driving change.

  • Name: Amy Czuba
  • Pronouns: She/Her
  • Company name: Nexer Digital
  • Role: Account Director
  • Country/region: Yorkshire, UK
  • Working with Umbraco for: 5+ years


Profile picture of Amy Czuba, with a smiling, happy face and long, wavy blond hair, wearing a pink and green floral dress.

Amy’s sustainable journey with Umbraco

I have a passion for human and planet-centred design and development, with a particular interest in digital sustainability. I had been working with Umbraco for a few years, enjoying it's simplicity and ease with which our client solutions could be created. Before long I started a new role as our Internal Partner Manager, which led me to having more and more conversations and involvement with Umbraco. I quickly learned what an impact Umbraco and .NET Core can make to our client's sustainability goals, which was exciting to me. 

In 2022 I wrote our company's, Nexer Digital's, Sustainability Strategy and from there it has been my mission to empower everyone, no matter their role, to think and act greener in their work. So when I saw the call for Umbraco Community members to join Umbraco's new Sustainability Community Team, I jumped at the chance to apply. I wanted to be part of the team as I felt I had a lot to bring. I wanted to share my knowledge and passion on the subject, as-well-as to have the opportunity to contribute to something greater, making the Umbraco platform more sustainable for all. Thankfully I was accepted! 

From there I started to attend all sorts of Umbraco events, meeting all new people, catching up with friends made online and learning lots in the process. I also attended my first Codegarden, which was so much fun! It's such a welcoming community and I was pleasantly surprised to learn isn't an entirely developer-focused one, as a non-developer.

Some of the Umbraco Sustainability Community Team, gathered in a meeting room at Umbraco HQ ahead of Codegarden. From left to right: Thomas Morris, Jeffrey Schoemaker, Frederik Klerens, Rick Butterfield, Lasse Fredslund, Amy Czuba and James Hobbs.

Some of the Umbraco Sustainability Community Team, gathered in a meeting room at Umbraco HQ ahead of Codegarden. From left to right: Thomas Morris, Jeffrey Schoemaker, Frederik Klerens, Rick Butterfield, Lasse Fredslund, Amy Czuba and James Hobbs.

It's not just code contributions that matter...

As part of the Sustainability Community Team, I've contributed to the best practice guide that we have created to help developers and content editors create sustainable websites.

I have enjoyed writing for community led initiatives such as 24DaysInUmbraco and Skrift. My most recent piece being an article for 24 Days on Equitable Digital Products and Service for People and Planet!

In my role as a Sustainability Community Team member, I also took part in an Umbraco organised virtual webinar; Why Sustainability Needs To Be In Your Web Agenda, together with my Community Team colleagues, and special guests Gerry McGovern, author of "World Wide Waste: How digital is killing the planet, and Hannah Smith, co-founder of the Green Tech South West community. The panel session was incredibly enlightening. My key takeaway was the importance of data management, content and information architecture. We're creating endless amounts of data, especially with the advent of AI for the masses. Between now and 2035 it's expected that the quantity of data we create will far surpass our capacity to store it, so it' imperative we think about what we need and why, with a view to minimise our own impact with the data we create. If you're keen to hear what we discussed, you can watch it back here.

Screen shot of the virtual digital sustainability panel discussion - showing a greyscale image of an iceberg, with the text 14% useful for the small tip of the iceberg seen above the water line and 32% useless, 54% unknown, alongside the large, body of the iceberg which is unseen underwater. As well as profile images of the panel participants.

A screen shot of the virtual digital sustainability panel discussion. Participants top to bottom: Lasse Fredslund, Amy Czuba, Neil Clark, Frederik Klerens, Hannah Smith and Gerry McGovern

Opportunity knocks

One of my favourite memories from being involved in the community, specifically the Sustainability Team, is having the opportunity to travel in style, in electric cars to visit Fjernvarme Fyn A/S, thanks to Lasse Fredslund and Jeffrey Schoemaker. Fjernvarme Fyn A/S is Denmark's third-largest heating company. They cover about 97% of the heat demand in Odense (80,000 residential units). They are publicly owned by the local municipalities and are not for profit. During our tour we saw different production methods including the process of household waste being incinerated, which was both disgusting and super cool at the same time (make sure you recycle people!).

This was the first time I learned about the concept of district heating. It’s a system where by heat is supplied to consumers through large insulated underground pipes, it’s a lower carbon alternative to other transitional heating methods, because heat from a source is essentially recycled through redistribution. This is where it got interesting for me, Odense has a large data centre owned by Meta (Facebook, instagram, threads and WhatsApp), which Fjernvarme Fyn use to source the majority of their district heating network. In fact, when compared to other methods they use (such as wind, straw and woodchip), this was the most consistent method. Which makes sense, because it’s always ‘on’.

Data centres are notorious for their power and water consumption, in fact, it’s been reported that one data centre uses as much power and water in a year as a small city. With the projected rise of digital services, we can’t ignore that we will become more reliant on data centres. It seems to me that district heating could offset some of the damage that they are doing, particularly in countries such as Ireland where there are currently 75 data centres responsible for circa 20% energy consumption!

Image of Amy Czuba visiting Fjernvarme Fyn, wearing a red hard hat and safety goggles, while making a peace sign.

Taking safety seriously, Amy Czuba visiting Fjernvarme Fyn

What is it about the Umbraco Community that keeps me coming back for more?

‘The friendly CMS’ - it's so true. I don't think I’ve had a negative interaction with one person, everyone is so genuinely lovely. But lovely in a supportive way, people are interested in you and what you do. It’s a great community where you can share ideas, ask (sometimes silly) questions, and find ways to make a greater impact together.

Amy Czuba with her fellow Nexer Digital colleagues at Codegarden, Matt Wise, Danny Lancaster and Rick Butterfield

Amy with her fellow Nexer Digital colleagues at Codegarden. Left to right: Matt Wise, Danny Lancaster and Rick Butterfield

What would I tell folks looking to join the Umbraco Community?

Just go for it, throw yourself in and be brave. It might not feel natural to put yourself out there, but honestly, it will be one of the most rewarding things that you do professionally and personally.

Know your value; your ideas, input and experience is unique and valuable. 

Be open to learning, things move quick and change all the time, being open-minded is one of the best skillsets you can bring to the community.

Amy Czuba on stage at Codegarden, with some of her fellow Sustainability Team members. Left to right: Amy, Thomas Morris, Rick Butterfield, James Hobbs and Lasse Fredslund

Amy on stage at Codegarden, with some of her fellow Sustainability Team members. Left to right: Amy, Thomas Morris, Rick Butterfield, James Hobbs and Lasse Fredslund

What's next for me?

Aside from more sustainability goodness, I have a keen curiosity for AI and all it might bring. The rate at which AI is developing is scary, I'd love to be able to look at how sustainable AI use can help us. Naturally, a lot of people are hesitant about AI, there's a lot of scaremongering about how AI will replace our jobs and many elements of our day-to-day human interactions. For me, I'm particularly interested in how we can leverage AI to understand how we can make our digital worlds leaner and cleaner. You can read more on my thoughts on this here.

What I do for fun and other interesting facts

  • I'm currently exploring and embracing some pretty big lifestyle changes at the moment. I have really got into running, yoga, plant-based nutrition and choosing a sober lifestyle.
  • I couldn't get though my day without multiple mugs of tea, Yorkshire tea specifically. When at work my tea-based beverages sit on my Umbracoffee coaster, next to a cheeky neon pink gnome, that just so happens to be giving the middle finger.
  • I love to read. I'm pretty into self development books, my current read is Clarity and Connection by Yung Pueblo. At the same time, I have finally got around to reading Exponential Climate Solutions: How to Build Leading Sustainable Companies, by Rebecka Carlsson - which I find fascinating.
  • I was fortunate to take part in a secondment to Sweden, which was a wonderful experience, with one not so wonderful memory - being fed Kalles Caviar. I can confirm, gross!
Amy Czuba with fellow Umbracians, Callum Whyte and Marcin Zajkowski, at Codegarden in Denmark, receiving her bag of free Umbracoffee coffee

Amy Czuba with fellow Umbracians, Callum Whyte and Marcin Zajkowski, at Codegarden, receiving her bag of free Umbracoffee coffee

Stay in touch!! 

You can catch me on X, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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