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Blog Post 6 May 2021

Choosing a green website hosting service

On 23 October 2020, after roughly a year in the making, Energy Saving Trust’s new website was revealed to the public. Six months later, we’ve been looking back at some of the early successes of our new platform.

The new site is a resource that users can trust to give them the knowledge to make better energy decisions. We worked closely with two agencies – Human After All and Clear Honest Design – to build a clear, accessible platform around our audience and their needs.

Importantly, we chose a website hosting provider that uses 100% green-sourced power – showing that we are leading by example in our mission to address the climate emergency.

Green web hosting

The new Energy Saving Trust website is hosted by London-based Kualo. We chose Kualo for several reasons – but first and foremost because, like us, the company is concerned about the climate emergency.

Commenting on the decision to choose a green hosting provider, our head of IT, Bob Buckley, said: “Hosting our website with Kualo helps meet our sustainability goals and shows the internet can be powered with innovative green technologies.”

Recognising that the internet has a significant environmental impact, web hosting providers are increasingly determined to make their operations as green as possible. Kualo’s operations, for example, are powered entirely by renewable energy, while its data centre and server architecture use energy efficiency design principles.

Not-for-profit organisation The Green Web Foundation allows you to check whether a website is hosted by provider using green energy. It also has a directory of green hosts around the world, which currently lists 321 hosting providers in 26 countries.

The internet’s carbon impact

With around 4.1 billion web users around the world – over 53% of the global population – the internet has a considerable impact on the environment. Every second that someone browses a simple website, approximately 20 milligrams of carbon dioxide (CO2) are generated. With over 4 billion users, these figures quickly add up.

The carbon footprint of our devices, the internet and the systems supporting them account for around 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to some estimates. This is around the same volume of emissions produced by the airline industry globally.

There are more than 70 million servers on the planet, many of which are powered by non-renewable energy sources. The data centres and servers needed to support the internet and host the content that we access are energy intensive. Data centres in the US, for example, are responsible for 2% of the country’s electricity use.

A green energy opportunity

It’s easy to see how our use of the internet is having an impact on the environment. To address this problem, several companies are working on new innovations to help reduce the energy consumption of their servers and data centres.

Google has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system to predict temperature and pressure in data centres an hour ahead of time, to help manage the energy needed to cool its servers. And it seems to be working: the AI system has resulted in a 40% cut in energy consumption.

Data centres offer a huge opportunity for the integration of renewable energy – and the data giants have already seen the benefits. Google and Apple both already claim to run their data centres and offices from 100% renewable energy. And Microsoft claims its Azure cloud has been carbon-neutral since 2012, while its data centres currently run on 60% renewable electricity.

Tips to reduce your carbon impact

At Energy Saving Trust, we empower millions of householders every year to make better energy choices. We have tips and advice to help you reduce how much energy you use and cut your carbon emissions at home, in the office and on the move.

To help reduce the impact of your internet use and browsing habits on the environment, check out these top tips:

  1. Turn off your computer when you leave your desk for longer periods of time. This could also save you money on your bills – the average UK household spends £35 every year powering appliances that are left on standby.
  2. Unplug your laptop from its power source when you’re not using it or considering setting a sleep mode after a certain number of inactive minutes.
  3. Use a smartphone or tablet for quick internet searches, as these use much less energy than larger devices like desktop computers.
  4. Change your email habits by limiting ‘reply all’ messages and unsubscribing from newsletters you no longer want to receive. All emails contain small amounts of data, which needs to be stored on servers. More data means more servers, so the fewer emails sent the better.

Last updated: 4 May 2021