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Reducing The Carbon Footprint Of The Internet

Nov 14, 2007
Beyond carbon-neutral - a whole new state of green...

A new web hosting company, based on Salt Spring Island, is set to become Canada's first carbon-free web host. Solar Energy Host is offering 100% carbon free web hosting that generates zero green house gas emissions. While consumers are familiar with the term carbon-neutral, many will be hearing the phrase 'carbon-free' for the first time.

Company founder, Aaron Handford explored the idea on a recent trip to San Francisco earlier this year. "I was really impressed with the idea of reducing the "carbon footprint" of the Internet. By using solar power to host the sites I saw an opportunity to make a difference in a real way. Instead of using the "carbon neutral" system where companies purchase carbon credits to offset their green house gas emissions, we offer a cleaner solution - websites powered by solar energy - nothing comes from the grid, it's carbon-free."

How much carbon is "the net" itself generating? According to Handford, "The Internet has a big carbon footprint. It's estimated that globally it takes about 868 billion kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per year to run the Internet, associated PCs, routing infrastructure, and phone networks." (http://uclue.com/index.php?xq=724)

He notes, "Of this, about 112.5 Billion kWh are used to power 'data centers', which are the servers that store all the websites."

It has been estimated that as of early 2007 there were about 108,810,358 of these websites in existence. (See the link below for further details. (http://www.boutell.com/newfaq/misc/sizeofweb.html)

This represents a lot of energy, and potentially a lot of CO2 emissions. What can be done to reduce the carbon footprint of the Internet? Handford has some suggestions for those willing to research the net itself for answers. "There are web hosting packages now available that are responding to the need to be 'carbon friendly'. My company Solar Energy Host powers our websites directly with solar energy." Handford adds, "If your website is currently sitting on a server powered by energy from the grid, then you are tied to a system where you can never be sure where that energy is coming from, possibly from the burning of coal or other greenhouse gas producing sources. Solar Energy Host offers consumers another choice - a way to get your website off the energy grid."

What makes it possible is a state-of-the art server that is part of the only solar powered professional web server system in the world. The servers and technology are based in California where solar powered solutions are cropping up in dramatic fashion. A Salt Spring Island based company; Solar Energy Host presents a great hosting solution - and another way to make a difference in the fight to stop global warming.

Handford went on to explain that the data center used by Solar Energy Host stops the emission of the following gasses/toxins:

* 19,890 lbs of Carbon Dioxide (CO2/GHG) per year
* 5.9 lbs of Nitrous Oxide (NOX/smog) per year
* 0.45 lbs of Sulfur Dioxide (SO4/acid rain) per year

He is also following a socially responsible business model by giving back. "We donate five dollars from each account to the 'Gardens of Hope' Project," says Handford. "This money funds the planting of one tree and helps link five communities in Lesotho, southern Africa, into a network of projects that share ideas, skills, resources and common purpose while supporting the educational needs of orphaned and vulnerable children."

For more information please visit: http://www.solarenergyhost.com
About the Author
Aaron Handford is president of Solar Energy Host He is excited about reducing the carbon footprint of the Internet.
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