My ISP is Green

The ISP hosting this blog is now proudly green.

I don't know how meaningful that is, but it takes a lot of power to run a huge server farm, so it's at least interesting that they're spending the money to purchase the compensating credits.

When we learned that running DreamHost generated as much carbon dioxide as 545 average-size homes we realized we had to do something.

Renewable Energy Credits

Putting a price on carbon output is just one way to help make the world a better place. It's a first step towards true energy sustainability. Organizations large and small are constantly working on reducing their environmental emissions. When they do so a neutral third party then steps in to verify the reduction and issues what are known as “Renewable Energy Credits”.

We've purchased enough of these credits – which are retired after purchase and not resellable – to account for our energy usage. The proceeds of these credit purchases are then put toward funding further emission reduction and renewable energy projects. We are not currently able to actually power our servers with the wind or the sun, but this is the next best thing! Our Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) have been certified by Green-e.

So how many credits would it take to offset a house? In Florida? With air conditioners?

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10 Responses to My ISP is Green

  1. tde says:

    The whole concept of “Carbon Credits” is bogus. Purely imaginary.

    I hope you don’t believe that nonsense.

  2. Michael says:

    Evidence for this being…? (citations welcome)

  3. hipparchia says:

    i keep my a/c set at 84 degrees. i’d do without entirely, but the dog would die.

  4. tde says:

    There are several articles out there on the net that you could google. But here are some key points that I recall:

    There are 3 or 4 different companies offering offsets for cars, for example. But they all four use different methods to calculate the carbon footprint and the cost for buying the offset varies by 150 percent. If there were a real “carbon offset”market, the price wouldn’t be so variable.

    Sometimes the “offsets” are used to plant trees or other fairly benign activities. But some of the offsets end up, in effect, subsidizing projects by firms like Waste Managment which is responsible for multiple superfund sites and one of America’s largest polluters.

    Finally there is virtually no regulation or accountability so you never know how much of that $230 a year (or whatever) you pay to offset your Camry goes to actual pollution control instead of profits for the “offset provider”, waste, etc. Some more re that here: http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2007/04/carbon-offset-we-think-it-is-mostly-con.html

    And this doesn’t even get into the issue of whether the concept (even if it worked) would be a good approach towards reducing carbon emissions. More on that here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2007/03/a_tale_of_two_markets.cfm

  5. tde says:

    And here’s a good overview: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_13/b4027057.htm

    Finally – in the interests of disclosure, I am an “environmentalist” – my main beef about offsets is that they are a feel-good measure that don’t really protect the environment or offer any significant tangible benefits other than a warm and fuzzy feeling for those who buy them.

  6. What about buying power from non-carbon sources like this?

    http://www.newwindenergy.com/

  7. hibiscus says:

    offsets are the last link in the chain, and the least effective, because they’re so susceptible to accounting oddities as listed above. even in the case of planting trees, there’s no guarantee that the tree that’s planted will live, and yet the carbon that your a/c or car produced, that doesn’t go away just because the tree didn’t make it to adulthood.

    to make a very stark picture,

    offsets : global warming policy :: handing out change at the corner : comprehensive anti-poverty campaign

    is it effective? maybe! not a long term solution, though, and not nearly deep enough to grow roots.

    if you’d like to make a dent in your household footprint though, this is the idea me and a couple people came up with, /co2, which is a program to make a plan to reduce your carbon emissions in real terms, not offsets, and then post both your plan and your progress on your website, in the directory /co2, right at top level.

    we just got started with this last week. we also put together an advice page for making your plan and maybe how to present it.

    hope this helps,
    (hibiscus)

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