As the world awakens to the importance of environmentally-friendly business practices, data storage has been placed under scrutiny. Website hosting data centres use a staggering amount of energy to run their equipment and keep it cool. The high levels of power required to host websites and store their data, has inspired several providers to offset consumption with green initiatives.
“The Department of Natural Resources says data centres already consume about one per cent of all electricity used in Canada, and the demand keeps growing,” reports CBC in ‘Completely unsustainable’: How streaming and other data demands take a toll on the environment.
Environmentally-friendly hosting most often involves the exchange of green power credits for standard power used, but it can also mean the direct use of power alternatives like solar or wind. Technology is also being developed for more efficient, natural cooling and the conversion of generated heat. Additionally, hosting companies have found other creative ways to reduce their carbon footprint throughout their entire infrastructure. Like other businesses, data centres make a conscious effort to reduce office waste, recycle equipment, use energy-efficient lighting & cooling, hire remote workers, plant trees, and so on.
“Data centers provide an opportunity for improving U.S. energy efficiency,” states the US Department of Energy. “If all U.S. data centers were 20% more efficient, we could save more than 20 billion kWh by 2020 as a nation. That translates to roughly $2 billion in cost savings.” Those numbers would be relatively similar in Canada and other countries, per capita.
The Most Environmentally-Friendly Website Hosts
It isn’t easy to find environmentally-friendly website hosting, so we’ve included a few recommendations below.
GreenGeeks puts three times the energy they consume back into the grid through wind energy. They have both Canadian and American data centres.
HostUpon is a Canadian hosting company that has greened virtually every part of its business. Their environmentally-friendly hosting initiatives include less equipment through cloud technology, Energy Star-qualified products and equipment, office recycling & waste reduction, telecommuting options for employees, and more.
Host Papa is a Canadian web hosting provider powered by 100% renewable energy.
A2 Hosting is a Carbonfund.org partner, supporting reforestation and continued development of clean, renewable sources of energy. They’ve also greened their office with polices like employee telecommuting and the re-use of older hardware.
FatCow offers 100% green hosting by offsetting power use with renewable energy.
Dreamhost is certified carbon-neutral and demonstrates a firm focus on greening their company, as well as investing in environmental causes around the world.
Your decision to use green website hosting will, in turn, reduce your own carbon footprint. Furthermore, your eco-aware visitors will view you in a more favourable light if you inform them of your decision to use environmentally-friendly hosting. Several studies indicate many shoppers prefer to purchase from “green” companies. Not only will they choose a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable brand, but they’ll often happily pay more for it.
For example, a 2019 Holiday Shopping survey from Accenture, found Canadian consumers expect to spend:
- 30% of their holiday shopping budget on gifts that are recyclable
- 27% on gifts that are reusable
- 19% on gifts made by “green” companies
The following infographic summarizes the Tork Green Business Survey results.
“The key takeaway for Canadian organizations is that 86 per cent of Canadians are buying green, so products and services with environmental claims are likely a fundamental driver in a customer’s purchase decision,” said Mike Kapalko, sustainability marketing manager for SCA.
GreenGeeks even has a number of badges you can use on your website to let visitors know that your online business is earth-friendly. Dynamic Hosting has a “wind powered” badge you can use.
If you’re concerned about the environmental practices of your current host, send them an email. You can easily switch to a greener company if you’re not happy with their answer. In fact, some website hosts will move your website to their servers free of charge.
CanadiansInternet.com is proudly hosted on GreenGeeks’ Canadian servers!
Is it important to you that your website hosting be environmentally-friendly? Please share your thoughts and concerns in the comments below.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Checklist: Choosing a Website Host for your Canadian Business
A Canadian Guide to Finding the Best eCommerce Platform Software
How to Tap Into the Exploding Canadian eCommerce Market
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