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Green hosting includes Carbon offsetting, powering a data center directly with renewable energy, planting trees, plants and grass around and over Data Centers and more day-to-day activities such as energy conservation and the use of energy saving appliances.
Green hosting utilizes green marketing which focuses on green consumers and their concern about the environment. Adoption of green hosting was initially very slow in the early 2000s, largely because many of the first hosting companies to offer the service were doing so at a price premium. Moreover, awareness amongst consumers about the environmental impacts of hosting was at best limited. Today though, the market has changed dramatically, with many hosting companies offering green services at no extra cost. Consumer awareness has also increased. A recent study of 543 US adults found that more than 60 percent of people are swayed to purchase from an online shop if the website explicitly claims to use green energy. Seventy-eight percent of consumers say that the environmental practices of online shops are important to them and over 70 percent believe that using a green hosting provider is a valid and acceptable way for a website to put across it's 'green' image.
World Internet usage statistics show that the Internet is still rapidly growing in the U.S. and growing from 400 to 1000% a year, worldwide. In 2015, there were over 876 million websites worldwide, and as reported by Jonathan Koomey in 2005, the total electric bill to operate those servers and related infrastructure equipment was $2.7 billion in the United States and $7.2 billion worldwide. A web server on average produces more than 630 kg of CO2 and consumes 1,000 KWh of energy annually. A green host on the other hand, theoretically produces zero CO2. It is estimated that if energy consumption due to web hosting keeps raising at the current rate by 2020 the industry will be polluting the planet more than the airline industry. With so much demand on resources, eco-friendly hosting services have emerged.
The percentage of electricity consumption varies between organizations, but the Department of Energy estimates that 10 percent of the federal government’s electricity use goes to data centers.
Hosting sites that contain a Green-E certification labels are organizations that voluntarily adhere to strict environmental guidelines. A green organization doesn't necessarily have to have access to green power from wind, water, or solar energy, they can also purchase green certificates to offset the use and cost of conventional energy.
A hosting organization or any organization can reduce their environmental impact by:
- Using low-voltage computer equipment
- Augmenting active cooling with outside air during mild weather (see Free cooling)
- Improving airflow through servers which would allow operators to use higher cooling temperatures
- Upgrading Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRACs) and other HVAC components with more efficient units
- Isolating cold air from hot air produced by the servers to improve loading of the HVAC equipment (which improves efficiency)
- The use of energy efficient lighting and occupancy sensors in the building
- Purchasing Renewable Energy Credits or producing renewable energy directly
- Contributing to other Green organizations that promote energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, or sustainable practices.
- "SMB Green Study". sustainablebusinesstoolkit.com. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
- Internet users as percentage of population (US), World Bank statistics, Google public data explorer
- Data Center Energy Consumption Has Doubled Since 2000, Informationweek.com, February 15, 2007
- The Evolution of Web Hosting Industry in the 21st Century, Abelohost.com, January 5, 2017
- Steve Lohr (May 1, 2008). "Data Centers Are Becoming Big Polluters, Study Finds". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
- 10 Facts to Know About Data Centers
- "Green-e Energy Certification". Green-e. Retrieved 4 September 2014.