The "Green" hosting gimmick


#1

Dreamhost,

I noticed recently that you are promoting Green hosting; however your Green hosting is via the purchase of carbon credits. Carbon credits are the environmental equivalent of getting a super-size Big Mac meal, but with a diet coke. You are still outputting the same amount of CO2, and no amount of trees is going to stop that. Why not reduce your output, and reduce certain usage instead of this misleading conscience clearing? Carbon credits are a waste of time if one is not actually trying to reduce their own footprint. Edit: If things are being done, then employees please feel free to inform/correct me.


#2

Actually, they’ve done a LOT: They registered on a forum just to complain about what others do. No, wait, that was you.


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#3

I’m a paying customer and it’s rather childish of you to troll me, especially by trying to bring my personal habits into it. I am bringing attention to this as I understand Dreamhost wants to do good, but as mentioned, it only does good if their own usage is reduced too.


#4

Yeah. One post on a customer forum, asking Dreamhost about carbon credits, and I’m a troll.

Wouldn’t a better post have been you listing all the wonderful things you’ve done? That’ll show them.

Who said they haven’t done anything else? I haven’t heard them say it.

Are you going to list everything you’ve done, or not?


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#5

Perhaps you would like to read through this entry in The Official DreamHost Weblog. We can’t deny the fact that even individuals like us are encouraging carbon emission by using electricity. It will be difficult to further reduce pollution on the environment since they have been using power-efficient AMD processors unless you expect them to close down (or power off their machines for 12 hours a day so you get 50% uptime). Although carbon credits do not reduce the amount of carbon emitted, it attempts to balance the other side of the equation through methods such as afforestation.

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#6

In the same sense, they also never mentioned that they have done anything else, so your point is moot. I’m not out to “show them” anything, and I don’t see why you’re acting so childish. It is not of your concern as to what I have done, but I do know I am doing my part.

infinitaus, Thank you for the good post. Not including the actual server machines, there are most likely things Dreamhost could do on the office/administrative side of things to be more efficient. Making an effort to find office workstations that are more efficient, reducing brightness on LCDs to the lower readable levels, compact fluorescent bulbs to replace whatever incandescents may exist there, recycled paper or going paperless if possible, special inks, and other methods. You can’t really do things with the servers themselves, as the quality of service potentially suffers, but on the office side there are things that can be done more realistically.


#7

[quote]
In the same sense, they also never mentioned that they have done anything else, so your point is moot. I’m not out to “show them” anything, and I don’t see why you’re acting so childish. It is not of your concern as to what I have done, but I do know I am doing my part.[/quote]
Okay maybe it’s because it’s fairly early in the morning still and I haven’t had my cup of coffee yet, but this sounds like the most oxymoron statement I’ve read in quite some time.
I’m not so sure I should even continue posting further, as there’s so many things wrong with your original post and this one.

Basically you don’t want to tell US what YOU have done to help the environment but you demand that DreamHost explains their side in more explicit detail than what they’ve already mentioned on their blog? Or are you coming from the Digg thread on this (or elsewhere)? Sorry, but I’m just having trouble with following your one-sided logic on this.
I’ll give you that it would be great to know every little bit of what DreamHost is doing to otherwise reduce their emissions, as well as perhaps things they are continuing to do or will be doing in the future, but I think Josh’s mentioned most of it in his blog post:

To me it would seem like Josh has already informed you about everything you wanted to already know and more. So what else do you want them to give you? I’m personally satisfied with Josh’s explanation, as he’s already made it clear DreamHost is pro-active in attempting to reduce its negative impact on the environment as much as possible.
What else he could have supplied in the blog, other than to give explicit, individual accounts of each and everything tiny thing they’ve done (which would be pretty inane), I’m not sure. Perhaps you could explain yourself further?


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#8

Take it easy man.

When I first saw green hosting, the first thing came to my mind was what the hell this is for. I had a similiar feeling.

But I did not “complain” anything because I respect what others have done. I don’t think DH is misleading. Sometimes I feel they are trying to bring some new concepts.

Since we are still happy in DH, we will be here to support DH.

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#9

FYI, BTW, Most participants here are customers, according to the ads. Speaking of ads, that is what “Green” hosting is really all about:

http://blog.dreamhost.com/2007/06/01/a-long-history-of-advertising/

They mean well, and it’s good to see concern for “pollution”, especially in LA. I applaud them for charity programs, free hosting for “non-profits” and being profitable in the low price end of the hosting market.

However, when CO2 is defined to be pollution, and nukes, solar and wind are off the table, then buying carbon credits to be “carbon neutral” is simply a feel-good advertising “gimmick” as you accurately titled.

This sums it up for me:

BTW,

Actually, it was Brett, the sales/marketing nut/guy.

Yeah, yesterday I drove a 13 mpg vehicle. Today I drive a 38 mpg vehicle. Ignoring the fact I’ll actually end up using more gas due to this higher efficiency, I could sell my reductions as carbon credits and claim to be using carbon-neutral transportation… but it would only be a gimmick.

Oh, and what you’re experiencing here is the usual “put them on defensive” tactic the Greens use when they don’t want to (or can’t) discuss the details.


#10

I’m sorry, but come again how it’s a “gimmick”? Because it’s not immediately removing carbon from the atmosphere that means it must be a gimmick? That’s the same kind of childish the logic the digg posters are using - “If it’s not removing it immediately, then it’s not doing anything at all!”.
While I will agree there are several carbon credit sellers out there that don’t actually do anything to help save the environment (by working to reduce emissions or otherwise) and really just piss away your money, the company DreamHost is purchasing through is reputable in their pro-active solutions to reduce carbon emissions. They may not be able to directly remove the carbon that DreamHost has produced, but they are certainly able to help put research into future ways to reduce emissions from such companies as DreamHost and individuals such as ourselves. I don’t see how that’s a “gimmick” at all.

The way I see it - DreamHost isn’t capable of further reducing their impact on the environment, as the servers they currently employ simply don’t use any less power than that which they operate from now. Unless DreamHost seriously reduced its hosting, meaning a limitation on how many customers could use their services at one time, I don’t see how they could further reduce their emissions. So by purchasing these Carbon Credits, they’re giving others the chance to put the necessary research into things that will, in the future, reduce such emissions as those produced by DreamHost’s servers (in-directly produced that is).

You claim DreamHost’s “Green Hosting” is a gimmick - but you provide no information or reasoning behind how it’s a “gimmick”. So until you can provide some detailed evidence or at least reasoning behind this, similar to that I provided above, then I’ll continue to consider you a “typical, uninformed digg poster”. I’ll be happy to re-consider once you provide some substantial proof to your claim though :slight_smile:

And good call on the blog post - I didn’t go back to check who the author was, I only remember that it “sounded” like it was written by Josh, heh.


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#11

The whole carbon credit thing is a teeny bit bogus, to be honest. It’s almost like a legal version of money laundering; however, it is most certainly a step in the right direction. If it does nothing else, it raises awareness of environmental issues and contributes to the great green debate.

On NBC’s Nightly News the other evening, they had the mayor of Chicago talking about the “greening” of his city. They’re planting a couple of hundred thousand trees and adding hundreds of rooftop gardens, and patting themselves on the back for their green credentials. Wonderful stuff, but total bollocks. The trees are needed in the giant forests of the north and the jungles in the tropics, or they don’t make much of a difference at all. It’s like all the deluded Toyota Prius drivers who think they are saving the planet, blissfully ignorant that the overall environmental cost of their vehicles (including construction, etc.) is virtually identical to any equivalent normal car. But at least these measures are raising awareness.

What is needed is a significant change in western culture, and this isn’t going to happen over night. Green measures, like the one DreamHost has taken, will become more common place. Eventually, individuals, organizations and governments will begin to adopt greener measures out of habit, rather than any sense of obligation.

Perhaps DreamHost will start a trend whereby we see a whole gaggle of web hosting companies adopting the same strategy. Won’t that be a good thing? As I understand it, DreamHost already allows some staff members to work from home - telecommuting is an excellent way of improving your green credentials.


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#12

Would someone please explain carbon credits to me? From your statement, you make it sound as if they are planting extra trees. From my junior high school biology class, I thought I remembered that trees suck in CO2 and convert it to plan matter and oxygen. This seems like a good thing and would be directly equivalent to producing less CO2 (since you’re paying from all of that CO2 to be converted back to its component carbon and oxygen.

OTOH, I see that DreamHost uses actually uses the money in two ways. First, since it seems that they can’t actually buy renewable energy, they buy renewable energy credits - which I take to mean that they pay for someone else to have renewable energy. Second, they buy credits where they money is used to fund projects to reduce CO2 emissions. I’d guess that it operates on the economic principle of comparative advantage in that they reduce carbon emissions where it’s the cheapest to do so. Interestingly, many of the projects seem to be in developing nations. I think it’s ironic that it’s comparatively cheaper to use renewable energy in a third world country. Though on reflection, this seems to make sense in that a developing nation has neither the access to capital nor the transportation or power transmission infrastructure to support giant, “cost-efficient” nuclear, natural gas, or coal power plants.

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#13

I consider carbon credits a farce, as it is what many people are using as a method of clearing their conscience without actually trying to do anything themselves (no, I am not accusing Dreamhost of this). People are using the fact that they are purchasing carbon credits as an excuse for them to continue driving their Hummer, it’s just ridiculous. Along with the fact that your purchase of a carbon credit is going towards research to lower emissions, not actual things right now to lower them, the same amount of CO2 is being dumped into the atmosphere and nothing is done in the present to reduce it.

If people must know what I do,
-All of our electricity comes from 2 sources: Nuclear, hydroelectric
-Replacing bulbs with Compact fluorescent bulbs
-More fuel efficient cars (ie 27mpg+ average)
-Low brightness on monitors
-All appliances energy efficient
-High quality insulation and insulated windows


#14

It was my understanding that DreamHost had done some research and chose not to go with the “iffy” carbon credit sources that you mention, but rather ones that were legitimately providing offset credits from real CO2 reductions?

BTW, I agree completely with your sentiment about carbon neutrality being different from being energy-efficient and otherwise “green”.

The thing that got me the most excited about the DH carbon credits is the implication that carbon trading could fund the creation of infrastructure in developing countries!

I went on a safari to Kenya in the mid-90’s and was amazed at the pristine savanna and natural ecosystems there, but aghast at the air pollution caused by lack of emission controls. It was way worse than LA in the early 70’s.

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#15

The renewable energy credits are going here: http://b-e-f.org/ The electricity pumped into the grid by their projects is green. Usually that electricity would be sold onto the grid as green, but instead we buy the rights to the green power at the source and it gets sold onto the grid as non-green power instead. This is the equivalent of buying green power. It is a ‘Renewable Energy Credit’ not a ‘Carbon Credit.’

The next step beyond this is to run our own power plant, but as you can imagine it takes a lot of planning and time to set that up, so we are basically just outsourcing the green power generation in the meantime!


#16

The idea is this: Since companies can’t possibly close down or further reduce their pollution to the environment, carbon credits is a effective way to “outsource” the responsibility that they hold to clean up the carbon that they have released (unless you expect DreamHost to start planting trees themselves). Although some environmentalist feel that buying carbon credits doesn’t reduce the company’s impact on the environment, at least it’s better than doing nothing! Don’t you agree?

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#17

I believe Dallas has stated that he rides a bike to work.

But I think Josh cancels him out by rolling to work in an H2 Limo

You do realize that a lot of your “here’s what I do” list also applies to people that couldn’t care less about any of this crap, right? It doesn’t seem like you personally do enough to be calling others out on what they do.

  • Many people simply prefer florescent lighting. I sure do.

  • Efficient cars? It’s not like polluters like to spend more on gas. And car choice alone means nothing. How many miles are you driving? A 40 mile trip in a Prius does more damage than a 5 mile trip in a Hummer.

  • Monitor brightness? Not everyone enjoys being blinded by their monitor, regardless of how they feel about the environment.

  • Insulation & windows? Again, a lot of people do it just to save money, or the house is fairly new and it’s not even an issue.

So, it doesn’t seem to me like you’ve gone too far out of your way or sacrificed a lot to save the planet. Am I wrong?

Wait a second… is your name John Travolta?!


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#18

You seem to be forgetting that you’re the one who asked what I do in the first place. Not everyone lives in an urban or suburban area, and therefore we all cannot ride a bike to work.

"A 40 mile trip in a Prius does more damage than a 5 mile trip in a Hummer. " If you’re going to make comparisons, then compare 5 mile or 40 mile trips in each. Your comparison is useless.

Your childish attitude is still falling on someone who really doesn’t care, so keep up the bickering.


#19

papajohn, computers take power. power is our primary source of pollution, the best we can do is to generate clean power. We have never run a power plant ourselves, so we contract green power out from a green power organization. If you think you can do better, you should! If you manage to create a greener organization then we have, more power to you!


#20

That’s because I had the feeling you were doing something between very little and nothing at all–which you are. That’s why I explained each point.

And excuses help the environment, how? My point was that he seems to be doing more than you are, yet you’re the one here calling people out.

It was crystal clear and made perfect sense. I’ll slowly walk you through it:

First, I said, “And car choice alone means nothing.”

Still with me? Next, I asked you a question (note the “?” at the end): “How many miles are you driving?”

See where this is going? Then, I said, “A 40 mile trip in a Prius does more damage than a 5 mile trip in a Hummer.”

You were quick to mention your MPG, but failed to mention how many miles you’re driving it.

I guess I’d be helping the cause if I bought a 50 mpg car and let it idle in the driveway around the clock? No? Why not? Gee… could it be because vehicle usage is directly tied in with MPG, like in my example that you don’t seem to understand?

I can see that you don’t care. It explains why you are doing next to nothing for a cause you’re claiming to care about.

I’ll ask again: Is your name John Travolta?

You signed up here to be all preachy about something you seem to care very little about. It has about the same impact as a priest telling you you’re going to hell… hours before he’s arrested for child molesting.

But keep telling me that I’m the troll and how you don’t care. If that doesn’t save the planet, I don’t know what will! :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s funny that you come here and call what they do a gimmick, but have a problem being called out yourself. Since the gimmick company is doing more than you, what does that make you?


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