This post is part of the Blog Action Day 2009 over climate change.
Green web hosting is something that has started to become quite popular among many web hosting companies. Even some of the big players are starting to turn to alternative energy sources to power their servers, or to try show that they don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
Why does this matter? It matters because of a little study on server energy usage conducted by Stanford in 2007. Thanks to the explosion of video, VOIP and an increase of broadband Internet services, energy consumed by data centers from 2000 to 2005 doubled. And it’s only been getting worse over the past 4+ years since the study.
Every effort web hosts can make to consume less energy and become more environmentally friendly is a very important thing as we use more and more energy to power our websites.
How Does Green Hosting Work?
There are a few ways that web hosting companies and server farms have figured out how to become more environmentally friendly in how they power their servers.
Because changing to a more eco-friendly setup is expensive for web hosts, the most popular way to become more eco-friendly is to do carbon offsetting to reduce (or eliminate) their carbon footprint. Companies will do things like plant trees for new accounts and do general energy conservation.
Buying carbon credits means that the company is purchasing credits to fund another eco-friendly project, which in theory cancels out their carbon usage.
Renewable Energy Certificates
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs or Green Tags) show that the energy used by the web host is from a natural source like solar energy or wind energy.
There are lots of different types of servers that can potentially cut down on power and resources used. “Speed stepping” is a technology for servers that reduces the amount of voltage and heat a server uses.
Better Data Center Layouts
Data center makers have figured out ways to optimize their server farms so that the least amount of energy is used. The less air conditioning a server needs, the more eco-friendly it is.
Other Eco-Friendly Options
Some companies use propane instead of diesel gases for backup resources. In some cases windmills power the servers, or there are paperless offices. There are any number of ways that a web hosting company can make their company more environmentally friendly.
Now that we’ve got a bit more knowledge about how web hosts can become more green, here are some hosts that are doing their part to make a more environmentally-friendly hosting company.
While typically greener initiatives are for smaller hosting companies, there are a handful of the major players in the hosting industry that are “going green”.
A2 has started with an initiative called FutureServe, that utilizes carbon offsets, eco-friendly employment practices (renewable office supplies, telecommuting, etc.), and energy efficient servers.
Much like A2, Dreamhost has become a carbon neutral company (with a carbon neutral certificate. Dreamhost uses eco-friendly office products, employees who telecommute, and they purchase Renewable Energy Credits.
Hostgator prides itself in using 130% wind energy by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits and using wind-powered servers. In theory, they’re actually reversing their environmental impact.
1&1 relies solely on renewable energy to power all of their servers, and utilizes renewable energy to power two of their large office buildings. 1&1 also uses highly-efficient power supplies with less than 20% heat loss.
Major hosting company and reseller Rackspace has partnered with NativeEnergy to become a greener company. Also, they’re helping customers become more environmentally-conscious by providing a carbon calculator that lets business learn their carbon footprint and gives information on how to reduce it.
Here are some lesser-known web hosts who are doing their part to reduce their impact on the environment.
Ecological Hosting is an environmentally-friendly and ethical hosting provider. They use their own solar energy to power their data centers in the UK.
Acorn is powered by green energy and and is carbon neutral. The servers are low-voltage servers and recycle their hardware equipment.
Aiso is an incredibly innovative company that has tons of green initiatives within the company. The company’s cooling is done with collected rain water, and the office and data center has a “green roof”, or a roof with grasses on top that cools the buildings by 20 degrees. The offices use solar lighting, and the servers are powered by solar energy. If that weren’t enough, they also use alternative air conditioning that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels to cool the servers and offices.
ecoSKY uses wind and solar energy to power their servers.
Solar Energy Host
Solar Energy Host is a “beyond carbon neutral” web host. Instead of buying carbon credits, Solar Energy Host’s servers produce zero emissions.
Green WebHost plants a tree for every new account, and also utilizes solar power to run their data centers.
HostPapa is a Canadian web hosting company that is powered by green renewable energy sources.
iMountain powers their servers with the solar panels on the roof of their data centers and office.
Lightbeing Creations is a web host that uses solar energy instead of Renewable Energy Certificates.
Planetmind uses solar-powered energy from a grid to power their Colorado-based servers.
Sustainable Websites run their sites from a green data center in Atlanta, and the electricity is generated by wind power. On top of that Sustainable Websites purchases RECs.
ThinkHost uses wind and solar power to manage their data centers, and each of their plans is covered under their carbon neutral green program. Also, they’ll plant a tree for each hosting account.
WebHostingBuzz is a carbon-neutral host that runs energy-efficient servers and computers in their company. They’ve also partnered with the International Tree Foundation to help plant trees in developing countries.
GreenGeeks bills itself as the “World’s #1 Green Webhost”. They won the Best Green Hosting award in 2009 and 2008. They use energy efficient servers, carbon-neutral energy and they buy back 3x the amount of energy they pull in RECs.
Treecentric is a Green e-certified program that purchases Renewable Energy Credits to offset their energy usage.
Super Green Hosting
Super Green Hosing uses “Green” Dell servers that produce 20% less CO2 than the average server. Super Green Hosting also provides ways for customers to purchase RECs and plant trees.
Taproot Hosting uses only wind power to run their servers out of Portland, Oregon. The employees all telecommute, and for every new customer they’ll plant a tree with the Plant a Billion Trees project.
Beanstalk Solar Hosting
As the name implies, Beanstalk Solar Hosting uses solar power from the roof of the servers.
Sustainable Hosting is a carbon neutral web host, and they go well beyond common in their quest for sustainability. Sustainable Hosting uses e-certified renewable energy certificates, the office is paperless, and they even use a socially responsible bank.
Fat Cow uses only wind energy RECs to power their servers and office.
Integritive web hosting has solar-powred hosting plans that run their green data centers and offices. Integritive also utilizes AMD Opteron servers that use 60% less energy and generate 50% less heat.
Green Web Hosting by Lush
Lushtech servers are powered by clean, renewable energy. They recycle computers and computer parts, and participate in many other green practices, like using bamboo flooring in their offices.If you found this article useful, then Subscribe to the feed
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