In April 2010, SIDN, the .nl registry, and Cleanbits, the organisation that works to promote a green internet, repeated their survey of the .nl domain to see what proportion of domain names are hosted on a green or CO2-neutral basis. The results show a strong trend towards the ‘greening’ of the .nl internet zone.
One in four .nl domain names is green
SIDN and Cleanbits investigated whether each .nl domain name (of which there are more that 3.8 million) was hosted by a ‘green’ or ‘grey’ service provider. They found that nearly 30% of the names had green hosts. This is more than twice the percentage indicated by last year’s survey, which revealed that 11% of the .nl zone was green-hosted. To be counted as green, a host had to use only green energy, or offset its CO2 emissions by, for example, afforestation.
Towards a green zone
Internet use continues to grow quickly and is a vital part of daily life and the global economy. Every day, 250 billion e-mail messages and 27.3 million tweets flash around the world, and a large proportion of our GDP now involves on-line transactions. ‘But there is a downside,’ observes Roelof Meijer, SIDN’s CEO. ‘As people use the internet more, energy consumption in data centres and homes goes up. Internet and telecom use already accounts for about 10 per cent of all electricity consumption in the Netherlands, and that figure is rising by about 0.5 percentage points a year. We can prevent internet-related carbon emissions going up and up, and we have a responsibility to do so. I’m very pleased that the findings of our survey suggest that things are getting better. Some of our own servers now run on green energy, and we offset our grey energy consumption by funding afforestation through Cleanbits, which is committed to making the internet green. We also support initiatives designed to bring down energy consumption and internet-related CO2 emissions.’
René Post, Cleanbits’ CEO says: ‘The internet is really useful, but having the internet shouldn’t be at the expense of everything else. Reducing internet-related pollution is easy – all you have to do is get your domain hosted by a green service provider, or offset your carbon emissions by planting trees. On our website, we have a ‘Greencheck’ utility, which enables anyone to see whether a website is green-hosted. If it isn’t, you can register your wish to see it go green. Cleanbits will then try and persuade the site’s owner to adopt a carbon offset policy or switch to a green host. Little by little, we are reducing the internet’s ecological footprint.’
Cleanbits and SIDN continue to monitor progress towards a sustainable internet closely and therefore intend to repeat their survey in spring 2011.