Green Web Hosting
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With growing public concern over the environment, terms like green, sustainable, and eco-friendly get used so often that many people aren't sure what the terms mean. Many online businesses want to be environmentally friendly, and more customers are trying to spend their money with companies that care about the environment. This has led to an increase in the availability of green web hosting, but so many companies claim to be green that it can be hard to tell which ones really are. Web site owners may want a web host that is environmentally friendly, but when they are searching for a free green web host, they aren't sure what a web host means when they say they are green, or how to find one that really is better for the environment.
What makes a web host green?
The term green may seem overused, and that's because it can mean a lot of things. In general, green means having a lower carbon footprint, or less impact negative impact on the environment.
The most common way that a web host can be green is by using renewable sources of energy. Running computers and keeping them cool uses a lot of energy, as does running and maintaining a business, and some sources of energy damage the environment. There are, however, many energy sources that are much less destructive. Some of these include:
- Solar power, gathered by solar panels
- Wind power, generated by wind turbines
- Geothermal power, which harnesses the energy of natural thermal springs
- Biofuels, which are fuels made from renewable resources like corn and soy
Green web hosting companies may get their energy by producing it themselves, such as by installing solar panels or wind turbines. Web hosts also may purchase renewable energy to power their business or buy renewable energy credits to offset the energy they use. They may only purchase or produce enough energy for their own business, or they may pay for extra energy, which then offsets the energy used by other businesses as well.
In addition to their energy source, green hosting can use other methods to be environmentally friendly, such as:
- Using energy efficient computers, electronics, appliances, and lighting, such as those that carry the Energy Star label
- Running a paperless office, with billing, records, and memos all in electronic format
- Sponsoring a company recycling program, especially for old computers and electronic equipment
- Trying to reduce the packaging in materials they ship or receive
- Allowing employees to telecommute, which saves on fuel use
- Using passive solar, which is a type of design that is heated and cooled naturally, without the need for outside energy sources
- Being located in the smallest amount of space practical
- Reusing an old building to avoid using new materials and impacting a new site
- Getting their building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified
- Planting trees
- Using water wise landscaping around their building
- Donating a portion of their profits to environmental causes
- Giving discounts to eco-friendly non-profit organizations
Online businesses that are trying to be more environmentally friendly can also adopt some of these practices themselves.
When you are looking for a green web host, find out what their definition of green is and think about how it matches your own. You should also consider other factors related to your business, such as the services they offer and their prices, which can start at just a few dollars per month. Because green hosting is a growing market, you should be able to find a green web host who also meets your other needs.
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