Thursday, 15 December 2011

Offset your websites CO2 – or not

Athens-based company CO2 Neutral Seal, part of environmental services firm Greenevolution SA, has announced the launch of CO2NS Website, ‘an innovative new product that makes a website carbon neutral through its visitor statistics’. It’s basically a means to offset the emissions created by your web site.

imageThe service uses Google Analytics API to carry out a daily analysis of a company’s website, including its visitor statistics. The website’s CO2 footprint is then estimated based on server usage and visitors statistics. Based on these calculations, carbon credits are allocated to the website.

All users have to do is set up a Google Analytics account to link to the application via co2ns.com. They get a an online summary of their website’s status together with a detailed report from the CO2 Neutral Seal system - an online summary of CO2 Website status is also available to the public. Prices start from €99/year and ‘several leading global companies’ are already signed up.

 

Well, firstly I would like to know more about what’s being offset here. Are the analytics simply being used to estimate the server usage, or are the number of people connecting to the web site also being used to calculate the internet emissions? If it’s the latter, then it’s at least a novel approach to cover emissions that are outside the control of whoever is running the website servers.

But either way, as regular readers will know, I’m not a fan of carbon offsetting. There is very little information on the web site about how the emissions are offset, but in any case, it should be a last resort. Offsetting doesn’t always help reduce emissions and is not a viable, long-term solution.

It’s much better to reduce your own emissions than pay someone else to do it. In any case, you can probably do a lot better in-house, with some green ICT initiatives that can have rapid payback. Do you have PC power management, do you share printers, can you increases server virtualisation? There are many ways you can reduce your ICT emissions with very little effort.

It’s something I’ve been going on about for years. If you really want to know more, sign up for a training session/workshop and The Green IT Report can tell you how.

© The Green IT Review

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