Turning the internet green… It’s a tough, but necessary, job. These days the internet is responsible for an equal amount of carbon emissions as the aviation industry.
While most people are aware of the environmental impact of racking up the air miles, six in ten are completely in the dark about the eco-implications of browsing the web.
The figures aren’t good. The internet is currently responsible for around 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions. Even the smallest websites generate around 20 milligrams of CO2 every time a user accesses a page – and web giants with image-heavy sites can easily be responsible for generating 300 milligrams of carbon in a single second.
The internet is currently responsible for around 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions.
Think of it like this: with a carbon footprint of around 300m tonnes of CO2 a year, the internet is generating carbon emissions equivalent to all the coal, oil and gas burned in Turkey or Poland. Plus, when you consider that the internet is steadily growing as more and more sites are created, it’s clear that something needs to be done in order to protect the planet.
Green web hosting aims to reduce some of the immense pressure the growing internet is placing on the planet. Green web hosts will often follow sustainable practices like planting trees, contributing to eco-friendly initiatives, or hosting their servers in so-called “green” data centres.
How data centres work
Data centre facilities house and run all the computing infrastructure that enables organisations to get online. They typically contain vast halls of servers, along with all of the systems required to keep them running effectively. That’s all the uninterruptible power supplies, network security access, electricity and cooling.
Those all have an environmental impact. Even back in 2017, studies were showing that the data centre industry was using 3% of all the electricity in the world. It might not sound like a huge number – but that 3% represented nearly 40% more than all of the electricity used by the UK in that same year.
This huge power requirement is unlikely to change, as the networks of fans, contingency power supplies and network access systems are all necessary in order to keep the webpages of the internet online. It’s for this reason that green data centres have emerged as a solution – meeting the energy needs of the servers they house, without negatively impacting the planet.
Eco-friendly hosting your clients will love.Our clients have seen their sites’ carbon footprints drop by up to 92% after switching to us.
The science behind our green data centres
At Nimbus, we’re conscious of the environmental impact of web hosting, and we’re working hard to make sure we work in eco-friendly ways that support the planet.
In fact, we’ve pledged to go carbon-negative – meaning we won’t just mitigate our carbon effect – we’ll actively work to undo any previous carbon emissions we’ve generated since our inception as a business in 2011. One of the most impactful elements of our carbon strategy is our use of green data centres. Here’s how they work:
1 100% renewable energy
Our UK data centre is powered by 100% renewable energy, from wind, hydro and solar sources only. There is no biomass energy involved at all – making the fuel mix 100% green.
It has been estimated that this strategy saves around 45,000,000 tonnes of CO2 every single year. Put into perspective, that’s enough to fill Wembley Stadium five times over. By using solely renewable energy, Nimbus ensures that our daily operations are carbon neutral.
That’s not only in our green data centres, either. We’re committed to becoming one of the UK’s first carbon negative web hosting companies, which is why we’ve installed solar panels at our HQ. These save an additional 3 tons of CO2 per year.
2 Energy efficient processes
Using renewable energy is a crucial step – but without ensuring that the facilities are energy efficient, there is still waste. Our green data centre is an energy efficient building, built to be environmentally conscious from the ground up, and meets both ISO14001:2004 and BREEAM standards.
The BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ places the data centre within the top 10% of commercial buildings in the UK. This rating takes into account energy efficiency, but also considers any practice with an environmental angle – like waste recycling, how employees travel, and where suppliers are sourced.
Inside the building, innovations are rife. Take for example the server halls, which are filled with fans to keep the hardware functioning, and which use a fresh air system (powered by renewable energy) to avoid unnecessary emissions and lower our energy costs.
3 Sustainable tech practices
Perhaps unsurprisingly, data centres have historically generated a lot of tech waste. As hardware is improved, updated and replaced, older tech can easily become a dormant drain on energy. This energy waste caused by so-called “zombie servers”, as well as equipment being sent to landfill, both contribute to a significant level of unnecessary waste.
To tackle this, Nimbus’s green data centre invests in a comprehensive recycling scheme – but also uses a highly efficient UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system, which has the ability to hibernate parts of the system when they’re not being used.
This means that no energy is being wasted on powering servers unnecessarily. And by ensuring that old tech is recycled when possible, we limit the amount of waste going to landfill.
This anti-waste attitude is something which we embrace throughout the entirety of the Nimbus pipeline. From donating old tech where possible, to recycling hardware and powering our HQ hand dryers with solar energy (no paper towels needed), we’re passionate about keeping our waste levels low.
4 What does all this mean for your agency?
The climate crisis is everyone’s concern – and everyone has a part to play in working towards a more eco-friendly future. It’s estimated that by 2025, data centres could be using 20% of the world’s energy. That’s a footprint that is simply incompatible with the growing need to reduce our global carbon output.
By embracing long-term sustainable practices now, businesses are able to future-proof themselves as we move towards long-term planet-friendly practices. And for digital agencies and freelancers, there’s an additional incentive to go green; adopting green partnerships can actually have an immediate positive effect on business, too.
That’s because a huge 80% of consumers have said they prefer to support brands that are actively working to reduce their carbon emissions. By partnering with a green hosting provider, you can highlight your commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly practices, and prove to your customers that you’re a proactive, responsible business.
We’re committed to becoming one of the UK’s first carbon negative web hosting companies, which is why we’ve installed solar panels at our HQ. These save an additional 3 tons of CO2 per year.
Looking for expert advice, tips and hosting know-how?
Green hosting you’ll want to shout about
At Nimbus we’re passionate about hosting, saving the planet, and bringing our customers the first-class support they need to look like superheroes. Designed especially for ambitious agencies and freelancers – we’re ready when you are.
Talk to us about our eco-friendly web hosting. Simply send an email to our sales team or call 0208 146 6797.