Green Hosting: 11 Carbon Neutral Hosting Alternatives

Many individuals and business are doing their part to help the environment by using more energy efficient electronics, printing less, and recycling more. Yet it’s hard to be truly environmentally friendly when your web servers are emitting CO2 around the clock to keep your website up and running. A growing number of hosting services are becoming aware of the huge impact they have on the environment and have taken measures to counteract their effect. While going green may cost these companies a little more, the cost isn’t always passed along to the consumer. Most environmentally friendly web hosting services are competitively priced, allowing you to save money and your guilty conscience at the same time. These are a few of the companies that have taken the pledge to go green.

  1. Rackspace: Rackspace is one of the UK’s leading web hosting providers. Because of their leadership, they are taking the initiative to become carbon neutral. Rackspace has opted to offset its energy usage by partnering with The International Tree Foundation, a charity that plants and preserves trees all over the world. For every server that Rackspace uses, a tree will be planted. At the current rate, this amounts to 200-300 new servers and trees a month. Rackspace has also vowed to help limit the amount of paperwork and direct mail they print and send.
  2. WebHostingBuzz: WebHostingBuzz has, like Rackspace, formed a partnership with the International Tree Foundation to help offset the carbon dioxide emissions of the electricity they use. They are providing funds to a number of tree plantation projects worldwide.
  3. Sustainable Hosting: Sustainable Hosting takes pride in being an environmentally responsible hosting company. Sustainable Hosting is powered in part by wind generated electricity, a renewable and more preferable source of energy than those that rely on fossil fuels. Presently, Sustainable Hosting purchases 23,364 kilowatt hours of wind energy each year. According to their calculations, this adds up to 32,521 pounds of CO2 that have been prevented from entering the atmosphere, an amount that would take over 12 acres of trees to offset.
  4. Coreix: Coreix is a UK-based hosting center that has taken steps to offset their carbon footprint. Coreix has partnered with the World Land Trust, a conservation charity, to help carry out the plans for their offset. On their behalf, the World Land Trust will work to repair degraded forests in Ecuador. This allows Coreix to not only take CO2 out of the atmosphere, but also provide more habitat for wildlife.
  5. DreamHost: DreamHost has not only taken into consideration the energy they use running their servers, but also the gas they use driving to work and the paper they use in their office to calculate how to offset their carbon emissions. While DreamHost doesn’t have the option to be directly powered by the wind or sun, they have opted to purchase what are called "Renewable Energy Credits." The proceeds from thesecredits go towards funding renewable energy projects. Additionally, DreamHost is purchasing more energy efficient servers and processors.
  6. HostPapa: HostPapa offsets their carbon emissions by purchasing green, renewable wind and sun energy to power their data center, servers, office and computers. This doesn’t mean they are powered directly by these sources, but that their total energy usage is offset by power from these sources being pumped back into the larger power grid when it otherwise would have had to have come from a less green source. They estimate that they have prevented over 10,000 pounds of CO 2 from entering the environment by making this simple investment in cleaner technology.
  7. TigerTech: TigerTech is a Northern California hosting company that has chosen to offset its carbon output in a variety of ways. TigerTech only purchases products with the EnergyStar rating, uses fluorescent lights, and encourages its employees to conserve energy by turning off anything not in use. Additionally, TigerTech makes a donation each year to the CarbonFund, a renewable energy program, to offset the electricity that they use. This money is used to fund zero-emission energy programs.
  8. Iron Mountain: Iron Mountain is one of few solar powered web hosts. They have teamed up with solar energy company Value Solar to make their data center entirely powered by the sun. You can be sure that any energy they use will be coming from a clean and renewable source.
  9. AISO: AISO has followed in the footsteps of Iron Mountain and chosen to power their entire hosting center with a system of 120 solar panels. They’ve also designed their offices with solar tubes to use outside light during the day and have invested in servers that use less than half of the energy required by a normal server.
  10. Ilisys: Ilisys is based in Australia, the largest producer of greenhouse gases among developed nations. They’ve taken steps to start reducing their contribution. Ilisys gets its energy from renewable wind and solar power sources in Australia. They also donate to the CarbonNeutral program. Carbon Neutral plants trees on their behalf to help offset any additional CO2 emissions produced by car and air travel.
  11. AcornHost: AcornHost is another web hosting company that helps offset the emissions by purchasing green certificates. These allow renewable energy to make up a larger part of the total energy used by the larger power grid, and help invest in new innovations in renewable energy technology.

If you’re serious about reducing the carbon output of your business, using a carbon neutral web host can be a big step toward achieving that goal. Whichever service you choose, you can be proud of the fact that that you’re doing your part to support a more earth friendly Internet.

Comments

  1. Alex says

    Just a correction: Australia is *not* the largest producer of greenhouse gases. It has one of the largest *per capita* emissions levels, but that is arguably due to all the aluminum refining and other energy intensive industries that it is host to and not due to individual consumption.

  2. says

    It is important to recognise the distinction between those who have taken some action to reduce their emissions (e.g. energy usage reductions, solar panels) and those who are involved in the amusing capitalist business of ‘being green’ through simply carrying on as usual and paying out some money, AKA offsetting

  3. iMountain.com says

    Great article Christina.

    It is true that the initial cost is quite staggering but in the long run, it is worth it for everybody in the long run. It only takes a few people to go green to get the ball rolling.

    There are a few items that need clarification.

    iMountain.com is our website…the other Iron Mountain is a document company like shawn says. They take your documents and secure them down in a mineshaft (back in the old days at least)

    And for those interested in solar panels/green hosting; we’re putting up another set of panels pretty soon and when we do, we’ll write up a blog article about it at http://iMountain.com/blog

    Solar power is extremely clean, we are also looking into adding some wind power too. Kudos to everybody trying to make that difference.

  4. iMountain.com says

    Also, up for clarification, AISO.NET had their solar powered datacenter up before iMountain.com did. So they’re the first that we know of.

    We apologize for the double-post.

  5. Berenike Hartmann says

    Australia has the world’s largest emissions output per capita mostly due to its high emission energy sources and the great distances people travel – mostly by plane and car. But this just on the side: I wanted to extend the list of carbon neutral hosting providers. A company called Vigilant Solutions – http://www.vgs.com.au – has become carbon neutral a little over a year ago, that means its web hosting an all other IT services are carbon neutral. VGS has received carbon neutral certification from the Carbon Reduction Institute – http://www.noco2.com.au – and was the world’s first ever IT company to receive NoCO2 certification. I love seeing that more and more companies are taking action!

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