Manchester-based hosting company UKFast has announced that it’s operations are carbon neutral. The company says that:
• UKFast is 100% carbon neutral both at its offices and data centres
• All client solutions are also 100% carbon neutral
• All new clients will automatically gain carbon neutral hosting
• UKFast is the first hosting provider to achieve PAS 2060 certification
• UKFast Energy has started work on a series of Hydro electric power plants
• The company’s new data centre is designed with energy saving in mind, including reducing the power requirement and using free cooling systems that use the external air.
PAS 2060 is the Publicly Available Specification 2060 for the demonstration of carbon neutrality, published in June 2010 by The British Standards Institution (BSI.) PAS 2060 helps businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, meet their environmental objectives and validate their carbon neutrality statements. In this case, UKFast’s certification demonstrates that the company has offset all CO2 emissions from head office, data centre operations and the energy used by commuters. UKFast says it is the first certified 100% carbon neutral hosting company in the UK.
But the offsetting is only an interim measure, according to the company. UKFast is looking to generate its own clean energy through the production of hydro electric power plants in Wales and Scotland. It has set up a separate company, UKFast Energy Limited, to provide the hydro energy services to both UKFast and other businesses. The company has already identified eleven locations with the potential to create up to 1MVA per plant. A selection of sites are already in phase three of development, with energy production a potential eighteen months away.
In the meantime, to achieve carbon neutrality straight away, UKFast has invested in a series of existing hydro electric plants in South America and Europe, offsetting more than 2000 tonnes of CO2e.
I’m seriously impressed with this because it seems to be a well thought through strategy to achieve carbon neutrality. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I have reservations about carbon offsets, and just buying in renewable energy could be seen as jumping the queue, because there isn’t enough to go round (although it does promote the renewables industry). But UKFast seems to answer all the questions. The offsetting is certified and is only until they build their own renewable sources, meanwhile they are reducing power use in a new data centre (with help in financing from the Co-operative Bank, which also claims ethical credentials). All it needs is some retro-fitting of power saving in other data centres (although apparently averaging a PUE of 1.6 they’re not doing badly now) and it would look like the perfect strategy – they may be doing that already for all I know.