Rackspace Green Hosting

In my day job I've just signed a deal to have a web server to be hosted by rackspace here in the UK. The decision to go with this hosting company was purely a technical & commercial one but upon signing the contract I asked my account manager over at rackspace just where our server was physically located.

To my pleasant surprise he informed me that my new server is situated in a brand new data centre on the Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire that had been open for just 4 days. The new data centre is actually a refurbished warehouse (good use of recycling to start with) and its energy is supplied by a paper waste and wood-chip burning plant. The bio-mass power station will provide not only electricity for the new energy-efficient data centre but also hot water too.

Rackspace have also used natural cooling as part of their setup by using outside air when the temperatures drop below 13°C which isn't so much genius as common sense really. Other energy-efficient savings have been made by using the latest low-voltage AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon servers and small form factor hard drives.

By default I'd also been signed up to their carbon neutral hosting scheme where a tree will be planted to offset the carbon emissions of our server. Delving further into the issue rackspace have been planting 200-300 trees a month since they started their carbon neutral scheme with the International Tree Foundation back in 2006.

Beyond carbon offsets, energy-efficiency and green energy rackspace use only paper from sustainable sources and they recycle all their aluminium cans, paper, cardboard and plastic with their local council and a company called PaperRound. In 2006 they recycled 2,130 kg paper and 185 kg cans and plastic bottles; that's the equivalent of saving 25 trees and 10,900 kWh of energy. Rackspace also use only environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Doug Loewe, the MD of rackspace EMEA, is quoted as saying:

"Rackspace is committed to being energy efficient and making a real and positive difference to the environment. We also recognise that customers are increasingly looking for suppliers who can help them meet their own environment-related goals."

And that isn't bullshit from what we've seen, so how good a company are rackspace aye?