As we become more environmentally conscious more of us are trying to do our bit. Whether it be ditching the single-use plastic shopping bag, buying a reusable coffee cup or switching to energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs, there’s one primary driver of climate change we fail to address. The internet.
Yes, it takes some energy to keep the internet up and plodding along. Just slightly more than the aviation industry, for good measure. But despite our ongoing efforts to improve energy efficiency, the Internet is rapidly increasing our greenhouse gas emissions. And as the world becomes ever more reliant on the web, it’s not slowing down anytime soon, unless we do something about it. Thankfully, there is a saviour. It’s called green hosting.
Green hosting refers to using green technologies for internet or website hosting, including carbon offsetting, to reduce environmental impact. Green hosting is set to become more popular in the years to come as individuals and business find ways to be eco-friendlier with the increasing threat of climate change.
People are already starting to take notice of green hosting. One such person is Chris Harold, a freelance web designer specialising in green hosting. Chris saw the advantages in switching to green early on.
“Working in IT, I noticed there just wasn’t much awareness around the carbon foot-print the internet has. The area is massive, but people generally don’t hear about it like, say, they do for car or an aeroplane” Chris says.
Green hosting first emerged in the early 2000s, but adoption was slow due to lack of awareness and because hosting companies charged a premium. Not so today, as consumers awareness increases and companies like Chris’ charging no extra cost for green hosting.
“Take the airlines for example. People know you can offset the carbon emissions for little more (money) and they pay it. What they don’t realise is that you can also apply carbon offsetting to your website hosting and it won’t cost you any more” Chris explains.
According to a new McKinsey & Company analysis, the energy required to power all the world’s computers, data storage, and communications networks is expected to double by 2020. McKinsey predicts the internet will be the cause of an incredible 3 per cent of all global emissions.
Many offices and business owners already appear to be switching to green hosting.
“Brands have greater awareness around green hosting and are becoming more conscious on their impact on the environment as a whole” Chris says.