This week at TreeHugger: Blackle, a "dark" version of Google, is saving energy with each page load, and has kept almost 5,000 watts from being used. We take a look at the plethora of green Web hosting packages available, from AISO to Acorn to WebCtel, powered by wind, solar, biogas, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. Bill Gross of IdeaLab is at it again, and will soon be selling the Desktop Factory, about which he said “We are Easy-Bake-Ovening a 3-D model.” Whoa. Lastly, Spinal Tap will be reuniting Al Gore's Live Earth concert in London on July 7; before you start headbanging with abandon, however, check out director Rob Reiner's 15-minute sequel to that mother of all mockumentaries.
A few months ago, we learned that a "dark" Google could reduce global energy use by a whopping 750 megawatt-hours a year, with a black background instead of white. How did we figure? An all white Web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts; with 200 million queries a day, that adds up quick. In response to this idea, a black version of Google emerged called Blackle.com, and so far, almost 5,000 watt-hours have been saved, and each search saves more.
There are a plethora of green Web hosting options these days, and they seem to be getting more numerous by the day. So, which one should you choose? Well, right now it appears that the primary discriminator is the method by which they power their operation. One group buys Renewable Energy Certificates; these insure that the power they use is generated in an ecofriendly manner. This is typically wind or solar, but it could also be biogas or geothermal as well. A few offer other deal sweeteners such as carbon offsetting, discounts to nonprofits, letting their employees telecommute, etc. So, which one? It's a simple answer: any one. Because any of these guys are better than any Web hoster that hasn't announced a program. Select a price point and options, and make the switch.
Bill Gross of IdeaLab is at it again, and will soon be selling the Desktop Factory, about which he said “We are Easy-Bake-Ovening a 3-D model.” Some of the uses envisioned are useful: "IdeaLab hopes companies will sell three-dimensional designs over the Internet. This would allow people to print out replacements for a dishwasher rack at home." Others are frivolous: “You could go to Mattel.com, download Barbie, scan your mom’'s head, slap the head on Barbie and print it out,” suggests Joe Shenberger, the director of sales for Desktop Factory. Now, the technology can only do simple, solid plastic forms, but Cornell University has made a machine that can print out in silicone, plaster, Cheez Whiz and Play-Doh.
Lastly, Spinal Tap is reuniting for Al Gore's Live Earth concert in London on July 7. Before you start headbanging with abandon, however, check out director Rob Reiner's 15-minute sequel to that mother of all mockumentaries, This is Spinal Tap. The short was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival last month in NYC, but it's also available online at MSN's Live Earth mini site. Think of the film as an episode of "Where Are They Now?"— Nigel is breeding miniature racing horses, but has problems finding jockeys small enough to ride them; David is now a hip-hop producer who runs a colonic clinic on the side; and Derek is in rehab for Internet addiction.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.