This year’s Earth Day theme was ‘invest in our planet’, so when it comes to our field of work – web hosting – how can individuals make a difference?
The obvious answer is investing in green hosting. Here’s why.
The internet is power hungry
When it comes to surfing the net, one person’s power usage may seem tiny. But it all adds up, especially when 63% of the world use the internet.
Most people don’t consider the massive infrastructure behind the networks that serve the modern web. Vast arrays of servers need to be powered and cooled so we’re able to watch kitten gifs or upload pictures of our dinner…
Here’s some facts and figures about the internet’s contribution to global warming. Note that these are estimates, so sources sometimes differ.
- The internet is responsible for around 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions
- This is more than that produced by the airline industry: 2.4%
- This amounts to 400 g of CO2 emitted by every person on the planet
- Internet usage rises every year is expected to double by 2025
- Video streaming – NetFlix, YouTube, Twitch etc. – accounts for 75% of global data traffic
How much energy is required for…?
Most of these figures are provided by this excellent article by Energuide.be.
A data centre
A single router uses 10 kW, and a large data centre could use 100 MW. That’s 10% of the output of a thermal power station!
Obviously, they’re all averages. The 20i data centres that have an ultra-efficient power usage efficiency of 1.12 will consume less power.
A 1 MB email emits 20 g of CO2 throughout its lifecycle. If you create and send 20 emails a day over a year, that’s the same emissions as a car travelling 1000 km.
A web search
That’s 3.4 Wh or 0.8 g of CO2. It’s been estimated that if you make an average of 2.6 searches a day you’d emit 9.9 kg of equivalent CO2 each year.
Watching an hour of streaming TV
It may be a nature documentary, but it doesn’t help nature: around 55g of CO2 equivalent.
One year’s web browsing
Annually, each person needs about 365 kWh electricity and 2,900 litres of water for cooling. This does the same to the environment as would driving a car 1400 km.
Other internet-related industries
Shopping from home is great. But the manufacturing and shipping of all those bargains and impulse buys put a strain on the environment.
Then there’s the manufacturing of all the infrastructure: data centres, cables, even sending up satellites.
Plus there’s the production of the devices that everyone uses to access the web. COVID-19 didn’t help with this as everyone went out to buy new laptops and office equipment to work from home (me included: I don’t want to preach!).
20i green hosting
Climate change is a certainty. Even if we reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, we’ll still see a rise of global temperatures of 1.5°C.
So what can we do to reduce our internet carbon footprint as individuals?
One small step would be to consider using a hosting provider who runs efficient data centres on renewable energy. If you want to check this for your hosting, look up your site at the Green Web Foundation.
20i’s green web hosting is powered 100% renewable power: solar, wind and biofuel.
By investing in our hosting, you’re investing in our planet. You’ll get better website performance without contributing to carbon use.