The Environmental Impact Of Server Hosts

The Environmental Impact Of Server Hosts

The Environmental Impact Of Server Hosts

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

Jane Goodall

The evidence is indisputable. Global warming is happening and mankind is playing a large role in speeding its effects up. The polar ice caps are melting, the sea levels are rising, more natural disasters are occurring. The list goes on and on. 

Because of this, individuals, communities and nations are taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint. Consumers are recycling. People are buying electric cars. Governments are enforcing stronger environmental regulations. But is it enough?

The scary truth is that while many people are making the effort to be more conscientious about their use of resources, there are some ways individuals unknowingly waste. One of these more hidden resource drainers are the server hosts that people connect to everyday when they surf the internet. 

The Truth Behind Data Centers

There are now roughly three million data centers across America, and all of these servers make up about 2% of total United States electricity use—roughly the equivalent of five nuclear power plants. Annually, a single server, on its own, produces more carbon dioxide than a car. Over 10 years ago, globally, data centers were consuming the equivalent of 14 coal-fired one thousand megawatt power plants. And these numbers are only going up—by 2020 web hosting will be as polluting as the airline industry. 

But it’s not just about energy use. Servers are abusing the environment in multiple ways. One of the lesser known areas of pollution comes from data center’s fire suppression efforts. Obviously these companies understand that they need to keep client’s data safe, and having extensive precautions makes sense for a business that deals so closely with high voltage. Unfortunately, the chemicals used are pretty harmful to the environment, depleting the ozone layer, getting mixed with rainwater runoff, and having a high global warming potential. 

There’s also the electronic waste that occurs. Not only does server technology and equipment have a finite lifespan, but in order to keep up with performance requirements and competitors, data centers must replace their equipment at least every five years—if not sooner. Most of this ‘junk’ goes into a landfill, sometimes through harmful offshore disposal. But worse still is the poisonous substances that much of the technological equipment contains. This can seep into groundwater and harm plants, animals and humans alike.

The Environmental Impact Of Server Hosts

But the environmental harm gets even worse. Most data centers and servers require diesel fuel. It’s not uncommon for a single data center to emit 150 thousand pounds of carbon dioxide from diesel fuel annually.

And then there’s the coolant and batteries. Coolant is required for computer room air conditioning and liquid cooling—otherwise the machines will overheat. Unfortunately, this coolant can be highly toxic—think chlorofluorocarbons and freon. Along with being toxic, they also have global warming potential by trapping heat within the atmosphere. The enormous batteries that data centers have to keep around in case of power fluctuations are lead-acid. The negative effects from these batteries bookend their lifespan, from the destructive mining that’s required to produce them to the difficulty in disposing them. 

The Benefits Of Going Green

So how can this problem be solved? We can’t stop using the internet and companies still need to rely on data centers. The only available answer is green server hosting. Green hosting, also known as eco-friendly hosting, reduces the environmental impact of internet hosting by utilizing green technologies. OrangeWebsite, an Iceland-based company that has been around for a decade, is doing just that.

Some of these green technologies that we use at OrangeWebsite include energy saving appliances, carbon offsetting, planting trees around the center, and using renewable energy. So while the average web server consumes 1,000 KWh of energy and 630 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year, we produce no carbon dioxide. This means that any business that utilizes our services is reducing their environmental footprint and the environmental footprint of their customers. 

This isn’t just a ‘good’ thing to do out of the kindness of a company’s heart. It is a wise business decision. Partnering with OrangeWebsite changes an organization’s reputation. By simply adding green credentials to their name, a business can drastically alter the way current and potential customers view them. Being environmentally conscious is an added benefit of shopping from them–one more reason to stay loyal or to move from a similar brand that isn’t quite as forward thinking. Additionally, because only the initial setup cost is high for the host, rather than the regular operational expense of buying energy from the utility company, it doesn’t cost anymore to use our services at OrangeWebsite. 

Everything we do at OrangeWebsite is run on green energy–primarily geothermal and hydropower. Businesses that choose to partner with us are provided with a green site seal so that their customers can see that they too are committed to protecting the planet.

But OrangeWebsite goes further than to just utilize the power of renewable energy. The majority of our staff works from home in order to reduce energy waste from an office and commuter traffic. Additionally, we are working to reverse any impact that we do make by planting between 250 to 1,000 trees every month. To find out how you can partner with OrangeWebsite to get excellent web hosting services, as well as  play your part in fighting global warming and environmental damage, contact us.

Orange Website Team