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Green hosting (also known as “Eco-hosting” or “Eco-friendly hosting”) is a service offered by hosting providers that focuses on reducing the environmental impact associated with Internet hosting.
One seldom-considered aspect of choosing a hosting provider is the environmental impact associated with purchasing space on a machine that will, for all intents and purposes, be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until it’s replaced. With energy costs associated with supporting Internet hardware pegged at almost 3 billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone, more and more companies are offering ways for customers to mitigate or even eliminate the environmental impact of power-hungry servers and network equipment.
Green hosting involves a number of modified behaviors, including: powering data centers with solar, wind, or other renewable energy; planting trees and other plants whenever an account is added; switching to low-voltage equipment; and purchasing carbon offset certificates to support green initiatives and help mitigate the damage done by the use of non-renewable energy sources like petroleum, natural gas and coal.
Some companies go a step further and implement “green” policies across the board in their offices (e.g., all computer equipment will be certified energy-efficient, paperless office, etc.) and many will purchase a quantity of energy credits in volumes greater than the actual power they draw from the grid. In addition, many companies offer paperless billing, a “no junk” policy that keeps all correspondence electronic (thus reducing paper consumption).
A number of hosting providers specialize in green hosting, and many other providers have green hosting plans available for purchase (pricing is generally in line with, or slightly higher than, standard hosting). You can also check into the EPA’s Green Power Partner program, which certifies companies that have met their (the EPA’s) standards for economically responsible practices.