Are the ISPs Green Enough for You?

January 28, 2013 / No Comments

Just about every company in the country is looking for ways to save energy.  In the past few years some are making great strides in reducing their energy consumption.  From light fixture replacement, air conditioning changes to more efficient blade server installations, getting the most performance per kilowatt of electricity.

Alternative energy is also being evaluated and even used.  Fuel cells and even methane from manure decomposition ponds are slowly replacing conventional energy sources.  Even large arrays of solar cells covering parking areas are assisting in reducing electricity use.

environment friendly computing Are the ISPs Green Enough for You?

Vehicle fleets are being replaced with hybrids and natural gas engines.  Add to this all the employees that are working from home to eliminate vehicles on the road and less pollution pushed into the atmosphere.

Reuse and recycling programs are being expanded.  Some are even taking recycling to an expanded level by composting plates, cups and kitchen scraps along with compostable knives and forks; then using the compost for trees and other plants on their property.

ISPs are no exception

In fact, ISPs seem to be leading the charge in reducing their carbon footprint.  They are also finding it can be profitable.  Some are even selling their recycled metals to add to their bottom line.  Others are encouraging their customers to receive their bills online and save tons of paper each month.

With a little help from internet provider comparison site BroadbandExpert.com we look into a few ISPs and see what they were doing.

Time Warner Cable

Searching Time Warner Cable’s web site, the only thing I could find was the following statement:

Environment recognizes that TWC has a responsibility to operate our business with as minimal an impact on the environment as possible, and the company’s Go Green Framework serves as our roadmap to assess the environmental footprint of our operations and reduce our impacts.

In late 2012, TWC we will provide a deeper look at the company’s progress in these areas in our inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility report.

Starting an on-line chat, I was transferred to someone in my area and the only thing the representative could find was a 2010 press release announcing a $50,000 contest for PayXpress, a paperless payment option.  The Chief Marketing Officer for Time Warner Cable, Sam Howe said “Paperless Billing is a simple way for customers to be part of a greater effort to help the environment while having the ability to win great prizes.”

Even searching TWC’s untangled blog produced no 2012 green reports.  I find it hard to believe that TWC is not making its green initiatives more visible to the public, unless they don’t have any.

Comcast

Tellabs published a report detailing Comcast’s push for the green.  No it’s not more money, but being green will save lots of money and result in the consumption of less energy.

Comcast’s 58-story high building inPhiladelphiais the largest LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building in theUnited States.  They have reworked or are in the process of modifying their data centers’ air conditioning and will save around $2 million in electricity bills.

They are helping equipment vendors to develop access equipment that can handle more subscribers at lower power consumption.  Comcast has figured out that replacing coaxial cable with fiber in their network results in a huge savings in electricity utilization.

Some customer service reps are now working from home to reduce pollution from travel and have hanged all their automobiles with hybrids.  A good percentage of their service trucks are flex-fuel capable.

AT&T

AT&T has committed over half a billion dollars to replace it’s vehicles with alternative fuel models.  So far 5,114 vehicles have been replaced.

Eventually 15,000 vehicles will be replaced, so they are one third of the way there.  Additionally, AT&T expects to save 2.5 million gallons of gasoline in 2012 and a like amount in future years with their fleet of natural gas-powered vehicles.

Over 50 million pounds of network scrap has been reused, sold or recycled.  This has saved a lot of landfill space and possible leaching into the water supply.

As of 2011, the last year figures are available, over 17 million customers are using paperless billing.  This literally saves tons of paper each year.

In 2010 and 2011, $86 million was saved by completing 8,700 energy-saving projects.

AT&T recently earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for recycling wireless devices.  They recycled 50,942 devices in just one week.

The Senior Vice President of Devices for AT&T Mobility, Jeff Bradley, issued a statement: “We know we have the greatest customers in the world and now we have a world record certified by Guinness World Records to prove it. At the same time, we also know that there are millions of wireless devices in people’s homes that are not being recycled, so it is our goal that one day all wireless customers will trade in or recycle their wireless devices when they buy new ones.”

Cox Communications

Cox Communications is one of the leaders in green practices.  In theirSouthern Californiaoperations, they are providing over half of their electricity needs by using an 800 KW fuel cell.  This fuel cell provides enough electricity to provide the power needs for 603 residential homes.  The only “waste” from the fuel cell is plain old water.

The VP of Operations for Cox Communications in California, Duffy Leone said in a statement “At Cox Communications, we’re always looking for innovative ways to do business more sustainably to reduce our carbon footprint.”  It looks like they are doing just that with the adoption of fuel cell technology.

Cox vehicles have been retrofitted with special air filters will save 200,000 gallons of gasoline each year.  They have also changed out the lighting in their buildings and reduced that energy consumption by one third.

Around 83 tons of trash are recycled which saves having all that waste from the landfill.

InNew England, one of their facilities has a cafeteria that offers over 625 meals a day.  All the cups, plates and trays are turned into compost which is used at the facility.

Everyone at Cox Communications received a reusable cup to eliminate 140,000 paper cups a year.

A goal of reducing energy consumption by 20% is expected to be achieved by 2017.  Cox has even set up a web site explaining all of their green practices.

So What Is Next?

Just about every ISP has some sort of green and eco-friendly policy in place.  As you can see, some companies have made their efforts more visible than others have.

There are a few that have apparently just paid lip service to the green movement.  If they were wise, they would have a section of their web site reporting on the energy-saving projects that are in place.  This would help ecology-minded consumers make a well-informed choice when choosing their next ISP.

Some ISPs should also train their customer service people where to find references to environmentally-friendly projects they can provide to customers who ask.  I had one ISP in particular that even gave me a link to a green blog at another company that went out of business!

How green is your ISP?  Are you satisfied with what they are doing for the environment?  If not, how will you deal with them?