Web Hosting Search: How was Green Geeks founded? What motivated the geeks to go “green?”
Trey Gardner: I have been working in the web hosting industry since 1999 and I have worked with some of the largest and fastest growing web hosting companies on the internet. Over the last 10 plus years and I have seen many areas where a company succeeds and where they fail. I developed strong relationships with many of the brightest minds in web hosting and I decided that I wanted to work for myself because I knew I could put together a fantastic team to build a web hosting company the right way.
In addition during those 10 years in web hosting I was blessed with two of the most wonderful children anyone could ever ask for. I have always been an outdoor person favoring to be on the beach or in the surf or on a mountain than being indoors. I grew up in Los Angeles where we have an abundance of outdoor activities but where we also have terrible smog which badly affect my allergies.
I decided in building my company I would do so with the motivation that it would be environmentally friendly but also because of the relationships that I had made over the years in this industry that I would try to help other web hosting companies to go green. The thought about working with my competitors and helping them become more environmentally responsible was that if we could all pull in the same direction and all of us to go green then the web sites we serve could use green tags saying that their site was green and those sites could serve as beacons for the site visitors to remind them to do more to be environmentally responsible in their lives as well.
I wanted to see more green messages on the internet from more web site owners. I know I could not do it alone and that I had to embrace my competition so that they would go green. I developed a strong company with a strong green brand and showed my competition the benefits of going green and in pushing the green message to their clients and those clients’ web site visitors.
WHS: A couple weeks ago GG joined into a partnership with the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Can you tell us more about it?
Mr. Gardner: Yes we are very excited about joining the EPA’s Green Power Partner Program and we are honored that they contacted us to ask that we join the program. The EPA, US. Environmental Protection Agency, has created a program whereby they invite environmentally responsible companies. The EPA works closely with our non profit group the Bonneville Environmental Foundation whom we purchase the Renewable Energy Credits from.
WHS: What are renewable energy certificates?
Mr. Gardner: Renewable Energy Certificates are tradable energy commodities which show proof of a certain value of energy having been created through environmentally friendly means. Buying the RECs as they are also known allows us to support the growth and development of companies who create energy through environmentally friendly means. It is impossible for us to put a wind turbine or several wind turbines on the co-location facility to send power directly to the data center. Therefore we work with a non profit group which works with wind energy producers to allow us to buy from the wind producers, wind created energy to put back into the grid.
WHS: Why do you believe in sustainable/renewable energies?
Mr. Gardner: Our industry, the web hosting industry, is poised to become as large of a polluter by the year 2020 and it is estimated that our energy consumption as of 2005 was equivalent to 14 power plants, many existing power plants in the US and around the world are environmental polluters, whether they are coal or oil production units.
In recent years we have seen a shift in our focus on energy production due to advances in our ability to create energy through environmentally friendly means as well as in the lower costs for producing energy through our natural resources like wind, solar and thermal.
In addition to this we recognize that not only is our coal and oil energy consumption dramatically altering the environment and causing almost irreversible problems to our environment but that those sources of energy are finite. Even if they were not as large of polluters we would need to find alternatives within the next 30 to 50 years anyway.
It is time to embrace sustainable environmentally sources of energy and to shed ourselves of the fossil fuel pollutants we have been using almost exclusively for over a century. It is time to make fossil fuels that which they already are, a thing of the past.
WHS: How can the web hosting industry follow Green Geeks example?
Mr. Gardner: Thankfully many companies already are following our example and we are deeply thankful for their commitment and their choice to go green. There are however some companies who we feel could do more or who are not doing enough and who are using the green moniker as a marketing engine, this is called green washing. We hope that those companies actually become green, become certified for their environmental efforts and help to further the movement.
WHS: Thank you Mr. Gardner for this informative interview about going green.