One of the biggest growing trends with web hosting providers these days is to become “green”. It is constantly seen within front web pages of many providers – “100% green” or even “300% green”. While this sounds great on the surface (and in the case of 300%, a bit odd), the reality is these hosting providers are not so likely to be actually green, rather eco-friendly.
Codero recently announced its 100% green power theme with the purchase of 12,600 Mwh in renewable energy credits. Data centers for the company are located in Phoenix, AZ and San Diego, CA while its headquarters can be found in Overland Park, KS. The company is now considered to be the largest managed and dedicated web hosting provider in the industry touting green hosting solutions. The “Go Green With Codero” motto, according to the Codero web site, will allow businesses utilizing their services be assured of being powered by green energy.
While purchasing renewable energy credits is certain a step in the right direction, I’d hardly call it being green. It is a terribly misleading statement. Being an actual green powered hosting company involves solar panels, wind energy, and the like. Renewable energy credits (also known as green tags, renewable energy certificates and tradable renewable certificates) are purchased by the company but actually used by a third party. The credits or certificates are not to be considered actual renewable energy used by the company who purchased them. It is a very nice way to give back to nature but simply not a green hosting solution.
An easy way to think of how renewable energy credits work is laid out very nicely at Native Energy:
“Let’s say your utility offered you the opportunity to pay a little more each month for wind power, and you did. From that point on, the electricity feeding your meter would be exactly the same as it was before you started buying wind power. That’s because all electricity is the same, and you can’t tell particular electrons to go to a particular house on the grid. So what do you get when you buy wind power from your utility? You get electricity from the mix of all sources feeding the grid, and “credit” for having had the electricity you use replaced with wind power. That “credit” is the core of renewable energy credits, or RECs. “
While it does end up helping the environment in the long run, it is hardly a “green” solution. Purchasing renewable energy credits is laudable practice and, if a web hosting company does not have access to solar or wind energy, a worthy endeavor toward helping creating renewable energy overall. Simply put, these hostig companies should be considered “100% eco-friendly”. Certainly not “100% green”.