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What does "green web hosting" mean?
If you are choosing a web hosting company, a consideration for your selection should be how 'green' the company is. Web hosting can use a lot of power, consequently effecting the environment with the carbon emissions related to the power consumption. The larger the hosting operation, the more servers, network infrastructure, employees and support structure is needed. Some web hosts adopted a more green posture years ago, while there are others that do not consider this in their overall plan
Web hosting companies can go about being more environmentally sensitive in a few different ways. Truly any of these methods or a combination of them can be effective in making the company considerably and effectively greener. You can check out the web hostís home page to see what is posted relative to the green side of their business model.
One way to go green is the companyís use of carbon offsets. This basically is mandated for larger corporations that use major amounts of energy, but for the average web hosting company it would be voluntary. In this voluntary scenario the companies purchase carbon offsets to excuse their own greenhouse gas emissions from any or all sources; transportation, electric power consumption, and others. For example, they might purchase carbon offsets to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by their serversí use of electric power.
The funds that are raised through carbon offsets are used to assist in developing and maintain green power sources like wind farms, solar, etc.
Another method for a web hosting company to go green is their use of Renewable Energy Credits. This supports renewable energy sources and offsets the environmental impact of the web host. The company will calculate their energy consumption and buy an amount of RECs to compensate. This is similar to the carbon offsets, and the true meaning of which one is better than the other is not yet totally understood by most companies. Suffice to say that either method would help to offset or compensate for a web host companies use of power.
By employing the highest energy saving equipment available a web host company can be greener too. Selecting servers and other equipment that use less power and can make a difference in their energy consumption levels. It can also save the company money in the long run. Powering off unneeded equipment at certain hours of the day is conceivable as well, but it must be carefully monitored so the clients do not experience any outage of their services.
Lastly and much more easily accomplished is for the web hosting company to let their employees telecommute. Working from home will take the burden off the company in terms of the individual transportation needs, reduce some onsite power needs (lighting, etc.) and give the employees more flexibility in the time they choose to work.
If you are considering using a web hosting company, taking into consideration whether or not they are green could be a deciding factor for you, and one that can make your business a bit more environmentally sensitive as well.