Carbon Offsetting Our Domain

We have decided to buy carbon offsets for the express purpose of negating the impact of our domain name hosting.

You can find our exploration of carbon offsetting here.

Carbon Offsetting Our Domain

How much in the way of carbon emissions does domain hosting generate?

In truth, very little. It’s hard to calculate with total accuracy, but we can make some assumptions that will help us get an answer.

The first is that, because a domain name is merely that; a few lines of code on a server that receives a query from a person typing that URL into a browser somewhere and forwards the request onto the server actually hosting the website.

Accordingly, the storage requirements are going to be multitudes less than a website, so – all else being equal – you can fit a lot more domain hosting packages onto a server.

We haven’t been able to get information on exactly how many domains would be hosted on a single server, but we do know the following:

  • On any one single shared hosting web server, there are up to 400 hosted websites.
  • The average web server creates about as much in the way of carbon emissions as a 15mpg SUV.
  • If you account for backups, you could comfortable double your web server load (and therefore, also, emissions).

(source: http://wpdevshed.com/green-web-hosting/)

Therefore, if we assume that a domain name takes up half as much server space as a hosted website (it’s probably less), and that there is a backup server somewhere as a redundancy, we are responsible for 0.5% of the annual emissions of a 2013 Ford F150 5L V8 pickup truck.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you took that big-ass car and drove it around for a day and a half, you’d have caused as much damage as your domain name will this year.

So if we plug this into the carbon emissions calculator, we get the following, for one year:

EMission_Calc

That’s 5.54 tonnes of CO2, multiplied by 0.5%, which equates to 27.7KG of carbon emissions as a result of our domain name. Actually, it could be a bit more for two reasons: one, the car I found has a slightly better MPG rating (16), so it’s about 6% more efficient. Two, I based the calculation on 10000 miles driven per year.

If I go to my trusty friend, Google, she tells us that the average American drives closer to 13000 miles per year, which would actually equate to 7.18 tonnes:

EMission_Calc_2

The proportion for which we are responsible is 35.6KG. At a cost per tonne of $10, our total cost to offset these emissions, therefore, would be only 35.6 cents.

We have a few domains, so to cover off on those, as well as allow for any rounding errors, we’ve donated $2 for the coming year to offset our emissions from our domain name.

Carbon Offset Certificate

It’s a small contribution, but every little helps.