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Fall 2006
by Nathan

Is your network provider making conscious energy choices to power your web site?

There are eighteen new coal-fired power plants proposed to be built in the State of Texas alone, while at the same time we know coal-derived power production to cause air quality and other environmental concerns which seriously impact our quality of life on this planet.

If we do not insist on conscious providers of the services we depend upon, there is little opportunity to introduce change and inspire solutions which ensure life for ourselves and future generations.

introducing: burly house networks

As a life-long technologist with a particular inclination towards hosting network services, there was really no other choice.

Our primary mission at Burly House is to discover how a technology provider can operate more sustainably than the bulk of those in the market today. We are independently owned and operated, located in Austin, TX.

Burly House first launched our Green Network in August of 2004, with all devices and servers powered using Austin Energy's GreenChoice renewable energy program.

Electricity is generated primarily from wind, solar, and biogas sources, with the GreenChoice program itself one of the most-successful green energy initiatives nationally.

So far our Green Network has been blessed with 99.9% uptime, with no major network outages to date. The protective forces have enabled survival of wind and ice storms, heat waves, and rolling blackouts. The devices blink and whir, and for the most part everything has worked as it should.

We are quite excited to announce that in late 2006, we will launch our new Green Network Operation Center (the Green-NOC) which is constructed using green building techniques and materials. Look to our web site for the story of its construction, where we will share what insight we have gained so far and which products and materials we sourced for the project.

The Impact of Coal:

For example, a typical server might require anywhere from 150-500W of electricity to provide power to the computer itself, alongside hard drives and other devices. Network devices like routers and switches consume perhaps 50-100W.

Using coal-derived power, each month a single 250W network server emits approximately:

  • 7.5 pounds Sulphur Dioxide- associated with visible pollution (haze) and acid rain.
  • 12.5 pounds Oxides of Nitrogen- created when nitrogen is burned as part of the combustion process, one of the main causes of ozone (smog), also associated with acid rain.
  • 2/5 pound Particulate matter smaller then 10 microns- associated with lung ailments.
  • 4,320 pounds Carbon Dioxide- normal atmospheric component. increased levels are likely to cause future climate changes.
  • 1/4 pound Volatile Organic Compounds- One of the primary causes of ozone (smog), also some of the individual compounds are toxic.
  • 1,620 gallons Water Consumption- Dissipation due to power plant cooling requirements.

data points: coal vs. green power

practical results

Unlike home and office workstations, servers and network devices are operated 24/7, so their power requirements can make quite an impact on electrical consumption.

Since launch, by operating our small Green Network using 100% renewable electricity we have prevented thousands of pounds in environmental pollutants released, and thousands of gallons of water consumed, which otherwise would have been due to electricity production.

a roadmap to sustainability

Over time and as our community grows, we will continue to expand upon our Green Network philosophy.

We challenge ourselves to discover a more creative solution to each task we consider in our daily operation. In addition to environmental aspects, we include the health and happiness of those who serve in the various roles which enable Burly House Networks.

Some other ideas we are considering for the future include on-site generation of solar and biodiesel-derived power.

serving up solutions together

My belief is there are those who wish to seek out those providers who commit to act and operate in ways which match our hopes and aspirations for tomorrow. We hope to reach people like you so we can grow together.

In the Burly House mission statement we humbly pose the question, "How might a more-conscious technology company serve differently?"

Please share with us your thoughts and ideas, so we may collaborate in this act of discovery together.

Nathan Nunn
Burly House Networks

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