Exclusive Q&A: 1&1 Internet CEO Oliver Mauss on Hosting Green

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Green initiatives play an integral part in just how efficient any web hosting company operates today. Ping! Zine recently had the chance to interview 1&1 Internet CEO Oliver Mauss regarding some of his company’s initiatives, the benefits of going green, how he believes energy efficient technology has evolved and where it’s headed.

What direct benefits can using green IT provide to the host, the environment and the end user?

People do not often think about electricity when they think about the internet as a whole but the fact is that the internet requires a significant amount of energy. For example, consider that in order for one website to be online; a server is running 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Such extensive electrical energy is necessary to successfully run and maintain data centers and the servers housed inside. Concerned about this effect on the environment, 1&1 has taken steps to ensure we are operating with green energy and providing eco-friendly technology to our users.

Knowing that 1&1 is counterbalancing the inherent need for significant energy resources as a Web host encourages us to continue protecting the environment as much as possible. Global warming is upon us and by taking the necessary steps now to protect the planet; we will help maintain the environment for future generations.

Customers of 1&1 do also benefit from our green hosting initiatives. Not only are they supporting a more sustainable environment, but choosing a green host can also be a great marketing technique. The idea of conducting business with an environmentally conscious company is one that many consumers look for. 1&1 has actually created a special Green Logo for its customers to incorporate on their websites to clearly communicate that they are “Powered by 1&1 Green Hosting.” Creating such a positive reputation will potentially help draw more profits and gain credibility as a business.

How do you think the industry’s evolved in the area of more energy efficient technology within the past decade?

Many technology providers are now starting to fully understand the importance of maintaining a healthy environment. What was once an industry uninformed about its energy consumption is now  one that has started to adopt different resourceful methods for minimizing their impact. A popular strategy seems to be the implementation of RECs to offset the amount of energy consumed with reusable energy powered by wind, sun, water or biogas. Every year, additional developments and innovations are emerging to offer alternative solutions for energy usage. Especially with the rise of cloud technology and for example, things like our Dual Hosting services, Web hosts are more conscience of what may be their mark on their surroundings. Technologies like these require more resources to sustain a strong, reliable service and implementing special means for counteracting the impact of this increase is taken seriously within our industry.

Where do you see it heading in the future?

There are more than 100,000 new websites created each day and this number is continuously growing. As the demand for needs on the internet like websites, data back-up systems, and security grow, I believe that the industry will begin to investigate deeper into their current technology processes. Though the large initial investment may deter businesses from taking that leap, they will soon realize the significant impact that going green can have over time on the environment, business costs and customer base.

In the next few years, I see customers beginning to require such initiatives on their technology providers. As such a hot topic, eco-friendly alternatives to everyday items and services, like Web hosting, will be considered a priority to most consumers. They want to be reassured that they are taking the necessary steps to help the environment.

Can you briefly discuss some of 1&1’s data center technology used to reduce carbon emissions?

Globally, 1&1’s green initiatives save over 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Highly efficient power supplies within the US data center gives off less than 20% heat loss while also omitting any unnecessary components within the servers. Through 1&1’s partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), we are actually able to offset 100% of our energy usage in our Lenexa, Kansas data center. We do this by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), the majority of which are sourced from the Bowersock Mills and Power Company’s hydroelectric facility in Lawrence, Kansas. Overall, the total amount of renewable energy purchased for the data center is enough clean energy to power at least 300 US homes for one year.

Additionally, the structure of our data center was built to ensure energy efficiency. For example, the floors of the building are raised by 4 feet. Though this may seem unusual, the extra space provides ample, unobstructed space to cool the servers. Therefore, no energy is wasted on space within the data center that does not require cooling. Also, recycled water is used for the cooling system for the entire facility in order to prevent any waste.

You currently have a partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation. What has working with them been like? –How has it changed how you operate?

We have been working with the BEF for four years now and it has been very beneficial. At the time, we decided to choose BEF as our Green Partner because they are a non-profit organization and reinvest their profits into green energy production and other environmental projects. For 1&1, we find this to be a very valuable program in building a better environment for the future. Especially as our industry continues to grow in response to the changing demands of the Internet, maintaining a perspective on how Web hosting impacts our environment is an important step.

Are there any additional green solutions 1&1 plans to implement in the future?

As 1&1 continues to grow, we are aware that new opportunities for Green technology energy preservation are increasing as well. We appreciate the significance our actions have on the world around us so we do our best to minimize lasting effects. This includes strategies surrounding the infrastructure for our services as well as simple everyday actions our employees take. For example, many prefer to use natural lighting during the day. All of our offices supply reusable kitchen utensils like plates and cups to staff, and recycling programs are also implemented. These are little things we do now in hopes of bettering the environment for the future.