Green web hosting certificates are meant to declare that the web hosting company doesn’t do any damage to the environment. A hosting company that is certified to be green ensures that it doesn’t have any carbon emissions and does not contribute to pollution.
Typically, a hosting company has many servers in data centers and each one of them emits around 320Kg of carbon dioxide per year. However, a company having a green web hosting certificate means that it has zero carbon footprint.
Different types of these certificates depict how a company is managing zero carbon emissions while running its data centers 24/7. Web hosting companies without any certifications are one of the highest contributors to carbon emission.
Green web hosting certificates represent that the hosting provider supports the cause of green energy. Most businesses are opting for green web hosting to mitigate their negative impact on the environment. So, let’s find what you need to know about green hosting certificates.
What Are Green Web Hosting Certificates?
Green web hosting certificates are proof for any web hosting provider that the energy for operating the data center comes from renewable sources. This implies that instead of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) to generate electricity renewable sources (solar, wind, and hydro energy) are used.
Renewable sources have zero carbon emission while burning fossil fuels emits a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the environment. Research indicates that we are just a few years away from climate catastrophe if the trend of greenhouse gas emission doesn’t change.
We are on the brink of facing a climate disaster and purchasing hosting plans from those websites having the green certification can make a huge difference. These certificates are only given to those who can prove that all the electricity being used comes from renewable sources.
Why A Company Needs Green Hosting Certification?
Without having a proper certification, anyone can claim to be a green web hosting provider. Users can be tricked into buying hosting plans from a company that uses non-renewable energy to run their data centers. Certificates are a type of evidence or verification that hosting doesn’t have any carbon footprint.
Green certification is becoming a need for hosting providers because the trend has shifted in the past couple of years. Now businesses tend to avail hosting plans from only those companies that have green web hosting certification.
Companies can display their badge for being green on their website and it shows that the hosting provider is following eco-friendly practices. We’ve listed some of the reasons down below why a company needs green certification.
- Proof of being carbon neutral
- Helps them to keep the environment clean
- Good for the company’s image and marketing
- Increased customer trust for being eco-friendly
- Helps them in supporting climate change initiatives
Importance of Green Hosting Certificates
Do you know that the internet industry is responsible for the emission of more than 3.7% of global greenhouse gasses? Research also shows that data centers only located in the US consume more than 135 billion kWh of energy. If we take a good look at all the stats, we’ll conclude that the hosting industry is destroying our planet.
To understand the importance of green web hosting certificates you need to know how damaging conventional hosting is. Internet’s yearly CO2 emission is equivalent to carbon emitted by the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Mongolia, and Hong Kong combined. The hosting industry is one of the major contributors to emission of carbon dioxide.
A Green web hosting certificate makes sure that you don’t become part of the problem by emitting CO2 into the environment. Everyone as a user of web hosting services also has a responsibility. So, only choose those companies that have green hosting certificates.
Types of Green Web Hosting Certificates?
Many green web hosting certifications can be acquired from various certification bodies. However, we have two major types of certificates for green hosting which includes:
- Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
- Carbon Offset Certificates (VERs)
Now we’ll discuss each one of them in detail: What are the requirements and how can they can be earned?
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
REC is the most common certification for green web hosting companies. It serves as proof that all the energy used for operating data centers comes from renewable sources. These renewable sources could include hydro power, wind power, and solar power. This also proves that a company having a Renewable Energy Certificate is carbon neutral.
Carbon Offset Certificates (VERs)
VER certification is the other method for a hosting company to become green. It is proof that the company will plant trees and take eco-friendly initiatives to offset carbon. Instead of generating electricity from renewable sources, trees are planted to neutralize the effect of carbon emissions on the environment. The company is responsible for planting enough trees to avoid damage.
Main Difference Between REC & VER
Now we know what green hosting certification is and what are the different types of certificates. So, let’s discuss what are the key differences between VER & REC. Some of the key differences are mentioned below:
- Source: for RECs, the source is renewable electricity generators. However, in case of VERs, it is the projects that reduce or avoid the emission of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
- Unit of Measure: the unit of measure for the Renewable Energy Certificate is Megawatt hours (MWh) while for offset the unit is metric tons of CO2.
- Purpose: for RECs, the purpose is to minimize or avoid the carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources to generate electricity. In terms of VERs, the purpose is to mitigate the negative effects of greenhouse gasses on environment by taking eco-friendly initiatives like planting trees.
- Consumer Claims: companies having REC can claim that they have zero or no carbon emissions because they use renewable electricity. For VER they have reduced or neutralized the CO2 effect by performing operations outside the organization.
How do Eco-Friendly Web Hosting Certificates Work?
The green web hosting certificates work by ensuring that certain requirements are followed by the hosting company. The set of requirements can be used to distinguish the type of certification as well. So, let’s see what the requirements for each type of certificate are.
Let’s take an example to understand the requirements for getting REC. For instance, a hosting company is using 5TW of energy per year to keep its data centers up and running. Then the hosting provider must prove that all 5TW of energy is generated from renewable sources.
Let’s take another example for understanding the requirements of VER. For instance, if the hosting provider is utilizing 1 megawatt of energy then they are required to plant around 100,000 trees. This would be done to negate the effect of carbon emitted by their data centers. Then the number of trees planted must be enough to cover the effect of greenhouse gasses emitted.
Legal Basis of Green Web Hosting Certificates
Green hosting certificates (e.g., REC) are legal and considered acceptable instruments for the claim of being sustainable. These eco-friendly certificates are supported by trade associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), electricity transmission authorities, and different levels of government as well.
Certificates are provided by different eco-friendly certification bodies and they all are legitimate. This clarifies that any company that has green hosting certificates is making sure not to damage the environment by emitting greenhouse gasses.
Benefits of Green Hosting Certificates
There are many benefits to having green hosting certificates for both consumers and hosting company owners. Some of the benefits are listed below:
- Helps reduce the negative environmental impact
- Assist in creating a brand reputation for a company
- Increased customer trust in the hosting provider
- Green web hosting certificates help in resource optimization
- Makes hosting cost-effective for both hosting provider and user
Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE Rating)
PUE rating is used to measure how effectively the data center is consuming power. It is the ratio of power supplied and power used by the data center for hardware, cooling, and lighting. This PUE rating helps companies lower the use of electricity to run their operations.
You can ask your hosting provider “what is your PUE rating?” because a lower PUE rating indicates less electricity is being used. This will cost less for both the hosting provider and users as well. Now you might wonder what PUE rating anything has to do with green hosting.
Well, the purpose is also to decrease the use of electricity by using energy-efficient hardware because currently 3% of global electricity is used by data centers. So, the ideal PUE rating would be 1% but perfection cannot be achieved. A PUE rating below 2 should be acceptable. While 3 PUE rating is very high and means that company is not using power effectively.
Other Green Business Certification
Besides RECs and VERs there are many different certifications that a green web hosting company can have in their portfolio. These certificates show how much a hosting provider is committed to saving the environment.
For example, Energy Star certification is a bonus for a green hosting company. Because this certifies that all the appliances and hardware used are energy efficient. Some other green business certifications include:
- Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)
- Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE)
- Measure & improve sustainable energy systems (PEER)
- Green Plus certification depicts involvement in green initiatives
- Energy Star certifies that appliances & hardware are energy efficient
It is need of the hour for us to see if the hosting company has green web hosting certificates or not. Instead of waiting to see the environmental conditions getting worse day by day we can make a difference on our behalf. So, only opt for those web hosting companies that have green hosting certificates.