A seemingly odd question, but here it goes. Say that a potential client asks that a certain level of ecology and sustainability is to be respected before they will consider your company for a web site project. How would you go about meeting this requirement?
closed as off topic by thorsten müller, Thomas Owens♦ Mar 21 '12 at 11:31
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Aren't you, maybe, overthinking this concern a little?
Anyway: in the past I saw people advocating black, dark, and grey web designs, with the rationale that it consumes less energy. This could have had made a very little sense with CRT monitors, (though the save was pretty negligible and all) with LCD displays it is now complete nonsense. (backlight: always on)
Promoting the usage of less videos on the web, in general, might make sense. Adobe flash kinda hogs GPUs, (not to the point of warming the planet, but it certainly roasted my thigh) and server infrastructures for serving videos are pretty hefty and power consuming.
The only serious, meaningful discussion I ever saw on environmental consciousness / energy saving in web computing, to date, came from Facebook: the Open Compute Project, with whom they really tried to distance themselves from those loud-screaming turbines most vendors roll out and sell as rack servers.
Here's the video they used to introduce the OCP.
And some of the ideas they implemented (in Prineville, Oregon) and shared:
They are also saying they chose Sweden for their next data center, deliberately because of the cold weather, and they intend to exploit it for cooling.
Anyway Dell, HP, Rackspace, Skype, and Zynga are now known to have joined the OCP. And yes many of them seem more part of the problem than of the solution, but at least now they are asking themselves some good questions. And yes, Greenpeace approves of all of this.
A really, really, really, environmentally conscious client, then, could choose to look for an OCP data center to host his apps on, but given the not-so-established state of the art, and the price increase such a choice would imply right now, I suppose most of those would just postpone their "getting green" to a future, unestablished, date.
You probably want some equivalent of the Portland, OR based Sustainability at Work program to help you understand the parameters. You may have a more locally suitable program, but the general framework will be similar enough to answer your general question.
I work for a helicopter company we do lots of work for major utility companies in the UK. They require us to have an envionmental protection system very similar to a health and safety system.
ISO 14000 may be rather overblown for your company, but it may well point you in the right direction http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_14000_essentials
From my experience, they are looking for companies that take a systematic aproach to environmental protection rather than specific requirements.