Green IT – How dirty is your web site?
How much energy is required to power your web site? In our day-to-day activities, we may not think about our web site as using a lot of energy because, as a business owner, you may spend a great deal of your effort growing your business and your web site. After all, you have made an investment in your web site. You spent valuable company resources planning it – choosing a domain name, hiring a web designer, a graphic designer to illustrate your concept, programmers, and writers to populate it with original content. Your web site is an investment. And as business owners, we focus on the success of our company web site and the business as a whole. It’s a labor of love.
There are close to 130 million web sites on line at the moment and every day, 6,000 new web sites launch, creating entrepreneurs by the thousands. The world wide web is a great way to take control of your professional life (you’re the boss) or to add a few bucks to your household income each month while you keep your day job.
More and more people use the web to make purchases, comparison shop, find directions to a local business or even buy their groceries on the web, the fastest growing marketplace ever. Given the number of options web users have, as a business owner or webmaster, you are actually asking site visitors to do you a favor — to visit your web site and purchase your products or opt-in to your newsletter. And web visitors are more likely to perform a favor for you if you establish trust on your web site by demonstrating your responsibility.
Is your green web host “green”? While a few companies have clearly understood that the source of energy is a critical factor in how green or dirty a web site is, the web hosting sector as a whole still seeks to define “green” as being “more efficient”.
What is a Data Center?
Data centers are run-of-the-mill buildings, often out of the public eye, yet increasingly large in size, and they are the fastest growing source of IT energy use. These buildings house the internet, business and telecommunications systems, and store the bulk of our data. In the US, which hosts approximately 40% of the world’s data center servers, it is estimated that server farms consume close to 3% of the national power supply.
Efficiency is Not Enough
It is true that the IT sector has steadily demonstrated improvements in energy efficiency and has made significant improvements toward reducing the energy consumption of its data centers after many years of neglect. However, efficient IT is not necessarily Green IT.
We are not going to solve the climate problem via efficiency – we must move to cleaner sources of energy.
Bill Wheil, Google Energy Czar (11 March 2011 – Climate One Forum on Cloud Computing)
IT Choices Matter
We cannot achieve the level of reduction needed to protect the planet without IT energy solutions that will allow us to transition away from dirty energy sources and build our economic and planetary prosperity on clean sources of energy such as solar, wind, and water.
Opportunities in the IT Industry to Go Green
- Adoption of clean energy investment incentives specific to the IT sector for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment.
- Development of cost-effective, regionally compatible sources of renewable power generation for data centers (such as solar, wind, tidal and wave power).
- Additional investments toward the development and deployment of grid infrastructure and energy storage technology to enable much higher utilization of variable energy sources, such as wind and solar.
Where to find Renewable Energy?
- SmartestEnergy – is the leading purchaser and supplier of renewable energy from the independent generation sector in the UK and it offers customers the opportunity to choose the proportion and mix of renewables, including wind, hydro and biomass.
- GreenQloud, a company located in Iceland, is powered 100% by geothermal and hydropower energy, delivering hosting and storage services. The Star Peak Energy Center31, though still in concept phase, is also pushing a vision of renewably powered data. The company plans to generate geothermal power and attract data center operators to locate their facilities at its site and purchase Star Peak’s renewable energy.
- i/o Data Centers is installing a massive solar array on top of its new 580,000 sq ft facility in Phoenix, with 5,000 panels that will generate a total 4.5MW at peak capacity.
A company that takes responsibility for its energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions will demonstrate a high level of responsibility in its core values.
- the direct purchase or installation of renewable energy to power its infrastructure
- avoiding emissions through energy efficiency.
Perception is reality on the world wide web, and if site visitors perceive that your web site has integrity, and your delivery of services or products demonstrates that you’re a trustworthy businessperson, you will see more and more repeat sales. Build trust with site visitors and you will build business with site visitors. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.