When choosing a hosting company, people want to know how well the company performs as a service provider, what services it offers, and how good its customer service is. Most people don’t consider the impact their hosting company has on the environment.
However, energy conservation is starting to become a priority, with energy costs and production methods coming under scrutiny. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are more affordable than ever, and people are choosing these green solutions more often for their homes and small businesses, finding that they produce enough energy for their daily needs.
Energy efficiency is also a concern for many web hosting companies. The equipment needed to run a hosting platform uses a lot of power, so hosting companies are always looking for ways to reduce energy costs. Servers and other rack-mounted devices need to run 24×7. When you consider that a typical data center contains hundreds or even thousands of pieces of rack-mounted hardware, you can imagine how massive the energy drain is.
Some web hosting companies are aware of the impact that this is having on the carbon footprint of their operations and they’ve started trying to reduce their energy usage through an approach called green web hosting.
What Is Green Web Hosting?
Green web hosting is a greener, more environmentally friendly way to host websites. The goal of most green web hosting companies is to provide high-quality services while doing everything they can to limit their carbon footprint.
A common approach is to produce an equivalent or a greater amount of energy than what is being consumed and return that energy to the grid. A company can generate energy using renewable power technologies like solar and wind. Those technologies are prime examples of green energy production and two of the most environmentally friendly methods of generating electricity that we have.
What if a company doesn’t want to invest in a solar grid or wind farm?
A green web hosting company doesn’t have to generate their own power to feed back into the system. They can pass that responsibility to a certified green energy supplier.
Companies can purchase Green tags from green energy suppliers that are certified to sell them. For each Green tag purchased, the certified green energy supplier will add a prescribed amount of energy to the grid on behalf of the web hosting company that purchased the tag.
This makes sense, because the cost to produce any type of electricity is high. Renewable energy, while gradually becoming more affordable, is still quite an expensive technology when scaled to meet the power needs of a data center.
Using a green energy provider is a good way for web hosting companies to offset their energy consumption without having to generate the power themselves.
Another way a company can be accountable for its energy usage involves recycling initiatives that give the company carbon credits. These credits allow businesses to cancel out the carbon they have contributed to the global system.
Green Web Hosting Certification Types
There are many different levels of green certification from different certification bodies, but the two main types of certifications related to green web hosting are Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) and Carbon Offset Certificates (VER).
- Renewable Energy Certificates (REC): These are most commonly known as Green tags, although you might also see them referred to as Renewable Electricity Certificates or Tradable Renewable Certificates.
In the US, these certificates are used as a way to prove that a full 1 megawatt-hour of electricity has been generated from a renewable energy source and then fed back into the electricity grid. This ensures that the power that’s been used by a web hosting facility has been replaced by a renewable electricity provider.
- Carbon Offset Certificate (VER): Think of carbon offset as a way to make up for carbon that gets created as a result of energy generation and consumption. For web hosting companies that have large installations inside data centers, it makes a lot of sense to get certified with carbon offsets. It’s an effective way to ensure that their energy usage complies with the rules of the country where they’re operating.
Recycling is another good way to get a carbon offset certificate and it can help reduce an organization’s carbon footprint.
The Benefits of Green Web Hosting
The greatest benefit of green web hosting is that it’s an environmentally considerate way to get your website online.
Whether you’re helping the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of the web host or you’re contributing power back into the grid, green web hosting means you’re interacting more positively with the environment.
For customers like you, and for the hosting companies themselves, getting a carbon credit is a big part of the draw. Many data center owners have realized that running a more energy efficient operation can give them a better carbon footprint, not just lower energy costs. It’s usually a combination of economic and environmental considerations that make web hosting companies seek REV and VER certifications.
Why Use a Green Web Host?
People go green in many parts of their lives and for a variety of reasons. Globally, there’s a shift towards sustainable and renewable energy, and the change is reflected in the behavior of both businesses and consumers.
People want to be able to enjoy technology, but not at the expense of the environment.
By going green in as many ways as possible, the hope is that we’ll all consume less energy, thereby offsetting energy consumption in other areas.
Going green with your web hosting can make a huge difference on the carbon footprint of your website. Regardless of how your provider achieves certified green status, you’ll know that by using a green hosting company, you’re giving back at least as much energy as you’re using.
If enough people take the same approach, and if enough data centers strive for efficient data consumption, the global carbon footprint of the internet can be significantly reduced.
Get On Board with Green Web Hosting
Green web hosting can have real benefits for your business or personal website.
Not only will you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping the environment, your visitors will know as well! You can proudly display your website’s green status and show people how much you care about the planet. Maybe you’ll even convince a few people to go green themselves.
By getting the word out to the rest of the world, you can help encourage a green revolution in which we all focus more on efficient energy usage and environmentally friendly living.
If everybody does their part, we can make a big difference.