Website hosting is something that every company needs, it’s so hard to find the right website host that many see green website hosting as something they should use. Not only because data centres are becoming big polluters and using more energy they think by using a green hosting company they will lessen their environmental impact by reducing their energy consumption and carbon footprint. While everyone (and every company) has good intent it almost always requires research before finding the right company to use.
1) Find a dedicated page regarding their green usage
Companies can say they are green all they want, but they should have a page that lists details so you can read about it for yourself. They should list if they use green power directly or if they purchase renewable energy certificates (to offset the use and cost of using regular energy) which are known as green certificate in Europe and it is becoming more widespread known as that globally. If they have any sort of certification label that shows they are adhering to certain guidelines (like LEED in Canada and the US, BREEAM, or even EDGE), how else they are reducing their environmental impact, or if they are a green business, and more.
2) Are they using green power or just buying renewable energy certificates?
If a company is a green company then they would use green power however they can, by wind, water, solar energy or even another method. If they can they should provide links to more details about their green power so that people can read more and decide for themselves since many companies say they are 100% using green power but their claim is misleading.
If they are buying renewable energy certificates they should tell you where they are buying their certification from, they should be able to provide proof of purchases (either by a link or a pdf), and provide more links of their details and anything else that helps to show that they are in fact buying green certificates.
3) Are they doing any carbon offsetting?
Many people use cars, or fly to their destination so why not offset that as well. A green hosting company should do their best to offset their employees carbon use by calculating how much carbon their office and each employees uses, then buying equal to that (or more) as a carbon offset from a renewable energy source. Conservation International and David Suzuki Doundation both talk more about carbon setting if you are interesting in learning more about this. If you would like to pay for your carbon offset then there are many options, Less Emissions (Canadian company) and Arbor Day Foundation (US non-profit) are two organizations that are known to do what they say (help offset your carbon usage) when you give to them.
4) Are they encouraging their employees to be more environmentally-friendly?
It’s only a start to have green hosting, is the company doing anything to encourage their employees to be more environmentally-friendly? It could be anything from having a recycling program, to going paperless, to using more natural light, to turning off lights and computers when not in use and more.
5) Do they use eco-friendly cooling or no cooling at all?
Servers need cooling in order to keep functioning, no company or person can say what the optimal temperature is, it’s just based on their requirements. What does the green hosting company use for cooling? There are many eco-friendly ways (such as being conscious with the purchases, exterior air, and separating what needs to be hot and what can be cold) but the company should state what method(s) they use. Do they have any proof of using eco-friendly cooling?
6) Is the company known to keep their promises?
Being a green website host means keeping a promise, that promise is to keep being a green website host and doing what you have written on their site and to find new ways to be more environmentally-friendly. There are also many lies that web hosting companies say, WHSR talks about just 6 those of lies.
These are just some ways that a website hosting company could be green (or eco-friendly) but it isn’t all of the ways. Always look into more details when a company says they are environmentally-friendly because they may not be as green as they say they are.
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