Is netlify powered by renewable energy?

Hi there,

I couldn’t find any info on where is netlify infrastructure hosted and if it’s powered by renewable energy. Did I miss it?

I checked the Green Web Foundation and the status is unknown as well, see:

I’m curious to know more about that as I’m definitely a big fan of netlify :+1:

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Hi Joel,

We do not have any specially configured “green” hosting. Being a multi-cloud service, optimized for efficiency, there are locations we need to have a point of presence where there are no green options available. We do like the planet and have an open feature request to move towards it, but it is quite possible we’ll never get to 100%. Some of our providers are already greener than others (and you get a different provider depending on where you browse from), but most are not specifically green by our decision.

I’ve linked this thread to the open feature request on the topic so we can update it as things develop, but we don’t have any specific timeline for a change, just some hopes and intentions today.

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Considering how environmentally devastating most of those “green” energy sources are, I hope that Netlify never gives in to the popular hysteria and converts over.

Thank you @fool for your answer.

@gregraven makes a point that green energy can be devastating but for me I don’t think powering internet from coal can continue any longer either. Or building a data-center in a hot desert because electricity to cool it down is cheap there.

I understand that it’s complicated and that the whole system is far from 100% green energy and I think beginning with transparency will help, or asking for transparency to your providers in this case maybe?

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This is definitely a discussion we’re interested in participating in - in general, we’re excited to be providing a platform/championing a philosophy that reduces the need for servers in a general sense - JAMstack approaches are inherently more energy efficient by design. The greenest way is still just down to cut down on energy used in the first place! I’d love to hear from more people for whom this is a concern - how do you evaluate what architectural choices you make/providers you work with for various services?

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I shared some of the thinking and conversation that we’ve been having about this when it came up in our Hashnode Ask Me Anything a little while ago. You can find my answer here in the question/answer page:

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The supply chain of hosting is becoming as vital a global issue as supply chain of food and I’d hope to see Netlify publish data on this soon. It’s something we’ll increasingly be asking about and will influence our buying decisions. Not publishing this data will at some point become worse than publishing ‘bad’ data.

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Hi @susan.mcfarlandlyons - you have a very valid point. I will try and see if I can get more information on this.

I will say that our physical infrastructure is on a global scale and changes frequently
depending on demand. Here, for example, is a list of POPs that is accurate as of last year:

Ascertaining where the power comes from for each of these nodes can be quite tricky because of the global nature of things - but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better in trying to have and present that information for our customers. :muscle:

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Yeah, our company is assessing its carbon footprint now and this information would be helpful.

We won’t have much more information to provide - our CDN changes literally by the hour. We can say in general that about half our infra is in google’s cloud and they have a pretty strong commitment to green energy: https://cloud.google.com/sustainability/ …but our other providers are not as consistent (yet)

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Hi I just wanted to know if there was any progress or roadmap on this?

I pass due diligence on digital services to help secure clients, which includes environmetal impact and ideally carbon footprint; so data on this is essential. I can’t find any sustainability or environmental policy on the Netlify website. Many of the more progressive and forward thinking businesses have CSR policies covering this area, and some are signing up to commitments like We Declare a Climate Emergency.

The answers provided above are insightful but I think what could help a business like Netlify is a clear, publicly viewable commitment and roadmap. This can then be used to underline internal decision making, and in turn help to push the services which Netlify uses to take similar measures in order to support your goals. Leadership is really important inside organisations for making this happen, and if this doesn’t come from executuve levels then it’s extra important for staff in senior positions to push for this, espectially if its something they personally believe in.

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There is no change or roadmap work planned on our side to change our hosting at present. Sorry I don’t have better news for you at this time!

Hi, we’re also interested in (certified) renewable infrastructure, and i’m wondering if there’s been any progress over the past quarter.
May i suggest, as a first step, creating some transparency in a recurring report with averaged usage metrics of your infrastructure provider calculated with an infrastructure provider’s report on renewables, or using a public report such as Greenpeace’s cloud report.

so eg. Google Cloud (100% renewable) used 50% (see above @fool ) + AWS (13.5% Renewable according to Greenpeace[1]) used the other 50% = 56.7% Renewables

[1] https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-international-stateless/2012/04/e7c8ff21-howcleanisyourcloud.pdf

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hey @a23ccaf30b7b4bee3f3a - thanks for chiming in about that. I agree that having a report is definitely something that would be of interest to some of our customers, such as you. :+1:

It’ll be an ongoing conversation, but the best way to keep the conversation moving is to keep asking. I do believe more information is better for everyone.

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I’m happy to see that many people are interested about the subject!

I just found out that Vercel that is in the same situation than Netlify has at least the beginning of an answer (better than nothing) see https://vercel.com/docs/v2/platform/frequently-asked-questions

I highly encourage Netlify to do the same :slight_smile:

Thanks! We passed your suggestion on to our marketing team.

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I’d just like to add my support to this issue. At the moment I’m seriously considering moving away from Netlify to a provider who uses 100% renewable energy. At the moment I cannot in good faith run a sustainable web development company and put all my client sites on Netlify when there’s nothing on the website and no public roadmap.

Whilst I appreciate the good intentions on this, it’s not quite enough to say well our cloud providers don’t offer it yet. Just like we’re lobbying you, and letting you know we’re prepared to withdraw our custom, you need to lobby the cloud providers and make it as clear how serious you are. (Also, when every push to every branch generates a build preview, the argument that it’s more efficient than traditional setups arguably goes out the window!)

They say principles are only principles when they cost you something. Looks like I’ll be paying in developer experience, as the green web hosts out there mostly offer FTP with cPanel from 10 years ago. But until Netlify shows real leadership on this issue, to the point where your HQ is powered by renewable energy and you’re publicly lobbying the cloud providers (aside from Google who already have) to move to 100% renewable energy, I cannot continue as a customer.

I really love your work and everything you’ve done, and I look forward to returning as a customer when you’ve got a proper handle on this issue.

All the best,
Ali

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Hey Ali, thank you for taking the time to write in, and I totally hear that this is important to you and for others as well. I know I sound like a broken record but I promise that this is an ongoing conversation, I am passing my comments back to the wider org, and we are talking about what we can do.

Part of the reason it is taking a while is that as a company, we value both transparency AND a thoughtful process, and we want to make sure we have have something clearly defined we can commit to. I know it feels urgent, but at the same time we don’t want to slap together something somewhat arbitrary we can’t actually back up further down the line.

we hope to have a more defined something to share with you soon, and I we really do hope to welcome you back on board to Netlify at that point. I’ll update here, for sure, when we have more information to share.

@perry Doesn’t seem fair that people can lobby for Netlify to switch to “renewable energy” but those on the opposite side cannot point out the follies of that position without having their posts removed. It’s your company, and you get to run it the way you want, but I urge you to get input from people who are knowledgeable about this rather than just virtue signaling based on flawed ideology.

@fool We are also fully in support of a switch to renewable energy. The magnitude of natural disasters increasing drastically by just 1°C of warming is already clear, so it is imperative that the world stops burning fossil fuels as soon as possible. @philhawksworth mentioned that Netlify uses 7 cloud providers, and I would assume that they would track the carbon intensity of their data centers. Has Netlify contacted each provider and requested an energy usage/carbon intensity report? The Wikimedia Foundation contacted their data center providers (Equinix, CyrusOne, UnitedLayer and EvoSwitch) in 2018, and although not all responded, it at least gave them a better idea of the energy use and began allowing them to advocate for change. Happy to hear about the use of Google Cloud, since they have some of the strongest commitments to date, as you mentioned above.