The internet has become an essential part of life and a household commodity just like water and electricity. It connects us to the wider world and much of what we do here at Huskup wouldn’t be possible without it. But, did you know the internet is a huge contributor when it comes to carbon emissions? Here is some more information about that and how we became a 300% green website with Green Geeks!
Why Is The Internet Bad For The Environment?
The internet itself is great.
It’s opened up the world to more people than ever and connected people and communities that would have otherwise probably never have known about each other. But this connectivity and access to information comes at a price.
All of the information for all of the websites out there is held on millions of servers, these are housed in huge data centres and run day and night. This uses an incredible amount of energy, as does the air conditioning used to stop them from overheating and failing.
And where does all this energy come from? That’s right, the burning of fossil fuels.
Although great studies are being made into renewable energy we still rely heavily on fossil fuels to meet our increasing demand for power.
Today there are more than 8 million data centres worldwide, a 16 fold increase over the last 7 or so years. This number is only set to rise year on year with our switch over to a more virtual world.
With these data centres already accounting for around 2% of global carbon emissions, it’s absolutely vital that we find a solution to start reducing this now. This could be where the eco-friendly web hosting movement comes in.
Should I Just Stop Using The Internet?
Of course not! The benefits from free and easy access to information for communities worldwide are immeasurable. However, there are a few things we can do as individuals to help reduce our internet-related carbon emissions.
The biggest one is to be more mindful about how often we use the internet and what we use it for. For example, streaming videos uses far more energy than reading a blog.
This is because the amount of data in a high-quality video far outweighs that of a text format web page. All that data is stored on servers that require a lot of energy to hold and stream the content to you.
So, does that mean you should cancel your video subscription services? Not necessarily, there are ways to reduce your energy load while still enjoying media content. A great way to do this is to start by turning off autoplay.
Videos automatically playing draw us into watching more content for longer than we might have originally planned.
How often have you thought you’ll just watch one episode of a show only to end up watching the whole series? This is because autoplay only gives you a few seconds to think about whether that’s what you actually want to do or not.
Most streaming services do allow you to turn the autoplay function off, even if it is a little bit hidden in the settings!
Another way to reduce your internet related carbon footprint is to set yourself limits for social media use. Not only does this help to reduce carbon emissions but it’s good for you too. Taking a break from our screens and getting out in nature is proven to improve our mood, help us to relax and feel less anxious.
These are great steps for individuals but what can we as businesses do to reduce our impact? Eco-Friendly web hosting might be the answer.
What Is Eco-Friendly Web Hosting or a Green Website?
Eco-friendly or green web hosting companies look to address the huge level of carbon emissions that the industry causes. They normally do this by investing in carbon capture and offsetting schemes like the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs are a way of purchasing 1 megawatt-hour increments of renewable energy to be put back into the power grid, replacing the need for energy from fossil fuels to be used.
We have switched our hosting provider from fossil fuels to GreenGeeks. They are a company that offers eco-friendly website hosting and for the first time, the possibility of a positive energy footprint.
They do this through their purchase of RECs 3 times the value of what’s consumed.
We think that this is a great way for us to lessen our impact on the environment while still being able to stay connected to the global plastic-free movement.
GreenGeeks are committed to helping solve the problem of internet-related energy emissions. They’ve pledged to make themselves the most eco-friendly web hosting company in the world. And have already been recognised as a Green Power Partner by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
They are also working with One Tree Planted to reforest areas worldwide. For every account they host they plant a tree, so you directly contribute to carbon capture and reforestation! But all this doesn’t mean that they’ve compromised on their infrastructure.
They still offer high performance, reliable hosting using the latest systems and backups, meaning your website data is in great hands.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Help?
Absolutely! Most internet providers and online businesses will keep doing things the way they always have unless we tell them that’s not what we want to be a part of.
You can write to your internet provider or favourite online retailer and ask them what they are doing to limit their impact on the environment. Letting companies know you expect more from them is a great way to use your voice as a consumer to effect change.
We are unfortunately at a tipping point with climate change where if we don’t act in a big way as a species we are going to be facing environmental collapse sooner rather than later. Letting big businesses know that you want them to play their part is absolutely vital to change this outcome.
We now need to reduce carbon emissions by almost 8% a year between now and 2030 to prevent the global temperature from exceeding an increase of 1.5oC. Making the internet greener could have a big impact on this.
Better Days Ahead With A Green Website
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom, there are plenty of businesses out there doing all they can to help protect the environment. We love to collaborate with charities and initiatives around the world to reduce single-use plastic waste, enrich environments and empower communities to protect the planet for generations to come.
You can find out more about the charities we work with within the “Community” section of our website. Check back regularly as we add more charities and initiatives to our online plastic-free community in the coming months and years.
As you know by now, here at Huskup, we’re really passionate about doing everything we can to not only minimise our own impact on the planet but also help reverse climate change. This is why it is so important to us to make sure every aspect of our business is optimised to make the least impact on the environment possible.