Green Web Hosting Today
On the internet today, it isn't difficult to find a web host claiming to be "100% Renewable Energy Powered" or “carbon-neutral.” There is a growing number of 'green-branded' web hosts out there and most are using carbon offset certificates – which, unfortunately, we believe to be of dubious environmental value.
Carbon offsets have been the subject of numerous government investigations; you can even find an eHow article entitled "How to Avoid Carbon Offset Scams." Most of these 'green' web hosts use misleading language to indicate that they are directly renewable-powered (as in 100%) and then lay out the details of an offset plan in a less-trafficked area of their site.
The Bigger Picture
Even when carbon offsets work, are they producing anything of real environmental value? After all, carbon offsets do little to slow consumption of natural resources - in fact, they often allow and sanction more energy consumption.
The Bathtub Analogy
If that additional so-called 'good' consumption is accelerating Co2 emissions, the offsets simply cannot cover the environmental balance . Andrew Revkin reports the problems concerning long-term Co2 use in The Greenhouse Effect and the Bathtub Effect:
Basically, the atmosphere is like a bathtub with a partially opened drain. Carbon dioxide from burning fuels and forests is flowing in twice as fast as it is being absorbed by plants and the ocean, and some of those “sinks” are in fact getting saturated, it appears, meaning that the “drain” is clogging a bit. (More on “CO2’s Long Goodbye“)
[UPDATE, 1/29: Inspired by this piece, Marc Roberts, perhaps the world's best -- and only -- climate cartoonist, reposted a hilarious take on the bathtub effect.]
Sustainable Web Hosting
With all of our research in hand, we knew that a carbon-offset web host would not meet our standards for honest environmental sustainability. We wanted a host that takes a thorough and ethical approach to both its environmental and business responsibilities.
And we found one! Canvas Dreams refuse to 'oversell' their web hosting resources. They take the time to calculate the real impact from production to retirement of the servers that power this web site and the platforms of our web hosting clients.
It's great to work with another green company that's more than just talk - and we recommend them to anyone looking for an authentic green web host.