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Your green certificate is not green enough

While outfitting data centers to draw 100% of their energy needs from environmentally-friendly efforts like wind or solar power generation may not be feasible for most companies with today’s technology, web hosts are finding new and clever ways to offset their carbon footprint – and advertise so-called “green hosting”.

While firms such as EthicalHost are taking advantage of locally provided low-impact energy sources, the vast majority of the technology that powers the world wide web lies in areas where such sources are either not cost-efficient or not available at all. What’s an environmentally-conscious host to do? Renewable energy certificates just may be the answer.

The most pressing problem in the current branding of green hosting is surely the fact that there is no standard held by any one body that determines when a firm can officially label themselves and their services as “green” or “carbon neutral”; this has lead to confusion among consumers as companies around the world, many of whom have no intention of even monitoring their resource usage, begin branding themselves in the spirit of a simple money-grab. Renewable energy credits have given businesses in all industries the opportunity to easily sponsor every kilowatt hour of electricity generated through clean, Earth-friendly processes like wind- and sun-utilization for the purpose of having the purchase amount go towards the continued growth of that same clean-energy industry.

Bringing order to the carbon-offset industry for hosting firms, offerings from the like of Iberdrola Renewables and 3Degrees are giving ethical web hosts an easy-to-use alternative to building their own green infrastructure while keeping the unethical hosts in check where their “green” claims are concerned with searchable databases of credit buyers and official certificates serving as proof of purchase.

A recent announcement from FatCow Hosting is the latest concerning these carbon-offsets as web service providers are becoming more and more aware of the need to both cut back on their footprint and pander to those of us who keep Earth in mind when making consumer decisions. Popular hosting firm HostGator purchases enough credits to effectively reverse their hardware’s negative impact on the environment, setting an example that is sure to last well into the future as web hosts, like all companies in all sectors, begin integrating green initiatives into their overhead for the sake of both sales and planetary longevity.

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