Canvas Dreams a Portland-area web hosting company has lured naïve Portland bloggers and small-business owners in for years now with false advertising where they claim repeatedly throughout their website that their web hosting is 100% wind powered.
In reality it is impossible for any web hosting to be 100% wind powered or totally green because power grids are not dynamic enough to allow certain power from certain sources to be router to certain businesses and homes.
In fact here is what Canvas Dream’s power provider Portland General Electric has to say:
Unfortunately there is no way to deliver power to a customer that is strictly renewable. There will be some mix of renewable power and power that is generated from other sources. – Kevin, Portland General Electric
So why would Canvas Dreams be making false claims? Because they know Portland which is alternative energy friendly and an environmentally happy place has people who will always seek out the greener option and they feel they can dupe visitors into believing it.
Is Canvas Dreams just telling a partial lie?
Yes, because although they are not 100% Wind Powered and do in fact get energy from a mixed source (including coal and nuclear) they have a history of purchasing “Renewable Energy Certificates” which offset their carbon foot print to some degree.
In closing many homes actually buy renewable energy certificates through their utility provider and the way Canvas Dreams has marketed itself leaves no doubt that they are trying to purposely mislead consumers so despite the good act of buying Renewable Energy Certificates maybe you could choose an honest company that will tell you the truth and give you great web hosting?
Do you use Canvas Dreams? Do you think their false advertising is an acceptable practice? Notably Canvas Dreams is not by far the only web hosting company to claim to be 100% powered by green energy there are many and only a few are really powered by green energy.
Canvas Dreams has responded on Twitter attempting to fact check my post:
— Canvas Dreams, LLC (@CanvasDreams) September 18, 2012
Canvas Dreams still fails to back up their claim that their hosting is 100% Wind Powered what they fail to realize is that buying “Renewable Energy Certificates” is not the same as ‘Powered by Wind Energy” to be fair all they do is offset their carbon footprint and their advertising is still false.
Here is article on TechSoup on questions you should ask your webhosting company if they claim 100% green energy source and Data Center Knowledge lists some of the real green web hosting datacenters in the U.S. of which there are only a few.
Bonneville Energy Foundation’s Statement on REC’s:
Traditional green power and green pricing programs often leave customers with the impression that the electrons being generated by a renewable energyfacility are being delivered directly to their homes or businesses. This is not the case unless the renewable energy facility is directly attached to the customer’s building.
From Greenwashing Article on Wikipedia:
Greenwashing (a compound word modelled on “whitewash”), or “green sheen”, is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Whether it is to increase profits or gain political support, greenwashing may be used to manipulate popular opinion to support otherwise questionable aims.