How to Have a Green Website
Right about now all the comedians are saying, to look here, but that is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about having a website which is carbon neutral, environmentally friendly and the kind that neutralises all carbon emissions. What you are looking for is a website that doesn't cost the environment anything, and may in fact even be of benefit to the environment.
Two years ago I went through this exercise for my hosting company because I wanted to be able to advertise as a "green webhost" and have something extra and different that other web hosts didn't have. So I did my research on this which I'll get to in a minute.
In terms of whether the world is actually going through a cycle of warming up, and whether this is in fact caused by humans is still a matter of great debate. It depends on who you talk to. There are scientists and experts on both sides of the debate, and many nations in the world, including Australia, are still not convinced that it can be proven.
Without having to prove anything however, there still remains the fact that many people do believe the world is undergoing environmental change caused by humans, and they do want to do something. In addition, there are people who don't know, but still want to reduce emissions, and it is to these people that you can promote yourself as having a green website.
First Calculate Your Emissions
Before you know how much carbon you must offset, you need to know how much your are producing. Fortunately this is fairly easy to do. During my research I found out that 1 dedicated server produces about 650kg of carbon during the course of 12 months. If your website is in a shared hosting environment, then it is sharing a dedicated server with maybe another 100 or more clients, which means you only have to offset about 6.5kg of carbon, which is rather insignificant.
If your website or online business however is larger and growing, you may find that you are using a dedicated server or VPS on your own, in which case you may be generating up to 650kg of carbon per year. If you are operating multiple servers as I do with my hosting business, then you can do the mathematics.
Now Offset those Emissions
Many nations, (not Australia though) have carbon trading schemes, and there are also carbon credit retailers on the internet where you can offset carbon emissions by buying carbon credits. So after you know how much to offset, you purchase that equivalent in carbon credits. However carbon credits can only be purchase by the tonne, which is 1000kg. So for a regular dedicated server user, all that is needed is 1 (one) carbon credit and the server is offset, which a positive contribution of 350kg back to the environment. That person can safely say that their server is "carbon positive."
For a person with a shared hosting environment, there are a few ways to offset credits. One is to purchase hosting with a green hosting provider like myself, and you have nothing further to worry about. Alternately you can purchase a carbon credit and offset your own emissions. Or you can take direct action and do environmental initiatives such as planting of trees to offset your own emissions. This requires it own calculations.
Two more things... where do you buy these carbon credits? Well, do a google search and you'll find a bunch of places, however I noticed that one retailer was also selling on ebay, and they were instant and came with a certificate. What could be easier.
Finally, when you are green, it would be great to advertise and show it off, and be proud of your accomplishment. So use the Green Website Logo which you can get from here and add to your website.