Green to the Core
Simply Voting is the most eco-friendly online voting system in the world. Using our service helps your organization meet its environmental and sustainability objectives by reducing the carbon footprint of voting events as much as possible.
Environmental Impact of Online Voting
The carbon footprint is a measure of the impact an organization or event has on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of harmful greenhouse gases emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services. The carbon footprint is measured in kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent.
According to our research, holding a paper ballot election for 10,000 voters generates greenhouse gas emissions of over 500kg of CO2. That’s equivalent to driving over 1000 miles in an average passenger car. The environmental cost increases if you are mailing the ballot to voters.
Holding an election online is easier on the environment since there is less paper involved. If you can send voting instructions by email instead of the post, the outcome is even better. However an electronic election still has a carbon footprint because electricity is required to power the servers that host your voting website, the computers used by voters, and the global networks that connect them. Much of that electricity is created from the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, all of which emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. While many people may assume that websites have negligible carbon footprints, that is not the case. According to studies, the global carbon emissions due to information and communications technology are greater than those of the entire aviation industry.
Our Servers are Green
The good news is that we’ve lowered our carbon footprint to a small fraction of a typical website by hosting servers in a data center that scores high in these areas:
Emissions from Electrical Power Source
There is a drastic difference in CO2 output by power source. According to publicly available data, burning coal can generate 1075 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour. Oil and gas are better at 650 grams and 440 grams respectively, but hydroelectricity is much better at 10 grams. Our data centers are located in areas powered exclusively by hydroelectricity and are therefore between 10x and 50x greener than identical data centers in most other states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada.
Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)
The next consideration is power usage effectiveness (PUE), a measure of how efficiently the data center uses its power, developed by The Green Grid. PUE is the ratio of total of power used by a facility to the power actually delivered to computing equipment. An ideal PUE is 1.0, but in reality quite a bit of power must be used for supporting infrastructure such as lighting, cooling, etc. Our efficient primary data center is engineered for a PUE of 1.5 or less, but a standard data center will have a PUE of 3.0 or more. This means that the efficiency of our data center makes it 2x greener than most others, even if they were running identical IT equipment.
Over time computers have improved the performance delivered per watt. However, our servers are not individual computers – they are virtualized in an enterprise cloud environment. It is well known that cloud computing has the potential to drastically reduce emissions – and according to our primary data center, their virtualization setup yields 6x the computing power per watt of equivalent traditional physical servers.
Our Company is Green
Even more good news, at Simply Voting we choose clean, pollution-free power for our electricity requirements. Bullfrog’s generators put green electricity onto the grid to match the amount of electricity we use. Bullfrog ensures the energy going onto the grid for our offices is from clean, renewable sources, displacing energy from polluting sources.
As a bullfrogpowered location, we are:
- CLEANING UP our air and water
- TAKING ACTION on climate change
- SUPPORTING community-based green energy projects
- LEADING the way to a renewably powered future
How Bullfrog Power Works