Rackspace Debuts Carbon Calculator

Rackspace Debuts Carbon Calculator

When it comes to determining a company's carbon footprint, there are plenty of online calculators for businesses to choose from.

Another online tool hit the market last week with a calculator from Rackspace geared toward small- to medium-sized businesses.  It's free and available to any business regardless of whether or not they are a Rackspace customer.

The web hosting company partnered with Native Energy to create the calculator, which takes users through several screens that collect data on corporate travel, employee commuting, shipping and waste, IT servers and facility energy use. Along the way, customers receive tips on how to reduce their environmental impacts (Tip: Make sure the last person to leave the office turns off the copy machine and the lights!).

At the end of the calculation, companies can offset part of their greenhouse gas emissions with offsets from Native Energy or save the information and track progress.

"Another outcome is to use it as a tool to drive awareness within your organizations around what they can do to reduce it and be better citizens of the environment," said Rackspace Chief Technology Officer John Engates.

Its the second carbon footprint calculator to be released in as many weeks; Microsoft unveiled its Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX, aimed at medium-sized businesses. Other technology companies have also been delved into the carbon management business, including IBM, which recently began targeting greenhouse gas emissions as part of its green consulting services.

The IT industry is responsible for about 2 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions but is touted for its potential to reduce emissions by greater amounts across other industries. A recent study, however, found that IT pros are aware of the ability of green computing to reduce corporate carbon footprints but they aren't harnessing IT's full potential.

Engates hopes the new Rackspace carbon calculator will help bring attention to the role IT can play in a company's carbon footprint.

"Our message is at least think about IT and how much that is a part of your carbon emissions,"  Engates said.