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Many of my clients have become more concerned with environmental and green issues in recent years and we want to do what we can to help address these without compromising the quality of service. At the same time we wanted to do this in a genuine and honest way as there are also many critics surrounding these types of issues. Our green hosting initiatives consist of both carbon offsetting as well as improvements in technology and business processes.

Carbon Offsetting

We has partnered with Green Mountain Energy, the leading provider of cleaner energy and carbon offsetting solutions, to purchase carbon credits to offset the emissions of our hosting operations. On our behalf Green Mountain will invest in renewable energy sources like wind and solar power as well as biomass facilities – many of which have been setup as a result of their initiatives. Our funding will also provide support for reforestation projects through Green Mountain’s relationship with the Pacific Forest Trust. Our emissions levels are reviewed annually and carbon credits adjusted accordingly.

Reduced Energy Consumption

While overall emissions may rise as our business grows, our long-term game plan is to actually reduce our emissions on a per client basis across our operations. This means that the carbon emissions generated by delivering service to a client today are less than they were a year ago and going into the future we hope to reduce them further. Many steps have already been taken on the technology front to achieve this such as investing in more expensive but far more power efficient computer processors, like Intel’s latest Nehalem line of CPUs. Likewise, where in the past we would install sixteen 1GB RAM sticks in a server we will now install four 4GB RAM sticks instead, giving the same computing power but reducing power usage by around 30 watts per server. This adds up to a lot of savings across an entire data center. With the rising cost of electricity, reducing our energy consumption makes both business and environmental sense for us.

Data Center Cooling Improvements

It is a little known fact in hosting that for every amp of power used to run a server in a data center it takes on average another amp of power to run the climate control systems that cool it. We has been working to reduce the amount of power consumed in our cooling operations in several different ways. Firstly, we have installed filler panels in all of our cabinet slots that are not actually filled by servers. This means all of the cold air is forced through the servers instead of passing through gaps above or below. It takes lot of energy to cool the air in a data center, especially in the summer months, so not passing all of the cool air through the servers is wasteful which is what the filler panels help to prevent. Secondly, our exclusive server hardware vendor, Supermicro, design the best rackmount system chassis available in terms of air flow design. By deploying servers with the best possible air flow it actually allows us to raise the ambient air temperature of data center floor by around two degrees Fahrenheit without compromising service in any way at all. By raising the floor temperature slightly we can reduce the load on the climate control systems. Lastly, we also invest heavily in other technologies to improve airflow and cooling like raised flooring with perforated tiles throughout the facility and efficient hot / cold isle cabinet layouts on the data center floor.

Recycling and Reducing Wastefulness

Where possible all of the packaging we receives with new servers, switches and other items in is fully recycled. Vendors like Supermicro are also working to reduce the amount of packaging their servers require as well. We work to reduce wastefulness by keeping printing to a minimum and requesting all invoices electronically from our vendors as well as issuing invoices electronically to our own clients as well.

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