Green Web Hosting - Is It the Future?

2008-03-10by Rodney Ringler

Green Web Hosting - Is it the future?

The green web hosting options have expanded quite a bit in recent months. Which one should you choose? Well, right now it appears that the primary discriminator is the method by which they power their datacenters. One group buys Renewable Energy Certificates; these insure that the power they use is generated in an ecofriendly manner. This is typically wind or solar, but it could also be biogas or geothermal as well. The second group actually generates their own power directly from renewable energy, usually wind and solar.

Recently, the Web hosting business had a  dramatic change in it awareness of bringing green practices to the industry. Two years ago there were no hosting companies marketing themselves as Green Web Hosts. Today there are a handful that market themselves as green as well as hosting directories that have added green hosting as a featured category. Overall it will not have a large impact on the environment, but relatively, datacenters are large consumers of power for the computer equipment and cooling systems needed.

Green web hosting is familiar to all, with a multitude of companies proudly taking on the description and promoting clean renewable methods of powering their data centers now a days. The fact is that many technology consumers are concerned about the human potential to degrade the environment and the sense that our hundreds of millions of cars and computers are not helping the planet. Rising temperatures may or may not be related to global warming, but the notion that humans, in general, have had a negative affect on the environment has begun to be absorbed by the web hosting industry.

Several hosting providers have set out to at least balance their part of what hosting does to negatively impact the environment. These hosts use alternative or renewable energy to power their datacenters, plant trees for every server sold, and even telecommute to save gas. They are investing a lot of time, money, and other resources into helping the environment.

 It’s interesting to observe web hosts of all sizes are making a commitment to helping the environment. Some of these hosting companies are huge and others are small. Dell and other computer companies offer users money rebates to buy a tree to help offset the greenhouse gases used to power their machine.

IT datacenters including hosting sites in the U.S. only consume an estimated (via the EPA) 1.5% of all electrical power used in the U.S. So while carbon credits are popular to talk about regarding datacenters, the bigger issue is that of energy supply and demand on a reliable basis. Thus to support growth, the solution is not simply power down devices to avoid power consumption, rather, a multi-prong focus of 1) looking for and deploying more energy efficient technologies that can do more work (performance) and have more space or capacity with the same or less power and cooling requirements as well as implementing best practices including consolidation and data management.

Some Web hosts check the amount of harmful greenhouse-gas producing energy they use, and then purchase renewable energy credits which fund and support the production of renewable energy across the country. The amount of greenhouse gases which are produced by a Web host is offset by this process. In fact, what makes the vast majority of these Web hosts green is the purchase of renewable energy credits.

Green Web Hosting is responsible for lowering our carbon CO2 footprint and uses renewable energy. Trees are desperately needed in many countries to restore soil fertility, help in the battle against global warming and improve the lives of impoverished communities. Powering of a business through solar power or wind energy can be possible by purchasing green certificates (90% wind/10% solar), the electricity generated by these sources isn't routed directly into their various premises. For every  kilowatt worth of green energy purchased,  a kilowatt less is fed into the grid via non-renewable means. The solar/wind generated electricity they purchased simply goes into the grid, in their case. Still, the result is the same - carbon neutral web hosting.

You can usually choose which type of renewable energy you'd like - wind, biomass, landfill gas, or solar when you purchase green energy certificates. After your web site and associated online services are environmentally friendly, consider other aspects of your business - your offices and factories. The cost is the value over and above normal electricity rates. While it's a little more expensive it's worth the cost, not only in terms of benefit to the environment, but your clients will see you as a leader in resolving some of the most serious issues that face humanity today.

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Rodney Ringler

Advantage1 Web Services About the Author: Rodney Ringler is President of Advantage1 Web Services, Inc., which owns a network of Web Hosting Informational Websites including HostChart.com, ResellerConnection.com, FoundHost.com, ResellerForums.com, and HostingKnowledge.net. Rodney has over 15 years industry experience from programming to internet marketing.View Rodney Ringler`s profile for more

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