How Ocient Eliminates Its Carbon Footprint

Ocient is at the forefront of computing. Our software runs analytics on massive datasets in just seconds. This means data center energy use is high. In fact, a typical Ocient database today consumes approximately the same amount of power as two American households!

As we use more energy in our data centers, we add CO2 to the atmosphere, contributing to dramatic changes in the environment. There’s no way around it. (As we write this post, California’s skies are red with ash, Denver has had nearly 100 days above 90 degrees, and the Great Lakes’ rising waters are eating away at centuries-old shoreline.)

And at Ocient, tackling this challenge is personal.

But what is the solution? Carbon capture and carbon sequestration.

Any move to negate an energy footprint starts with understanding just how much CO2 you are creating. As computer scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, our goal was an accurate number based on science and facts.

Here’s how we did it: First, we got a handle on our annual CO2e (Carbon Dioxide equivalent emissions, which takes into account other greenhouse gases). We modeled this based on Ocient's 2019 consumption, with additional factors reported by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (UK), and hardware manufacturers such as Dell and Apple.

We looked not only at our data centers, but all of the other things that go into running the business, including electricity (47% of our CO2), flights (23%), commutes (11%), and hardware (19%).

Emissions estimate in hand, we then sought out the right partner for carbon sequestration. There was no shortage of organizations to evaluate, but very quickly Cool Effect rose above the rest. In their words:

“Combining science, expertise, and transparency, (Cool Effect is) creating a community built around one simple vision: give people the power and confidence to band together and reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”

Cool Effect calls its approach to protecting the environment “100% Additional.” This means they independently verify that their actions drive the results, that they (and partners like Ocient), are not just taking credit what would have probably occurred on its own.

Again, facts and science win at Ocient.

The next step was to determine which Cool Effect carbon sequestration project to support. We reviewed many of the programs available, and eventually picked Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. It’s a beautiful spot of immense environmental value, and it’s exciting to know we’re playing a role in its protection.

This entire process was so simple – and inexpensive – there’s no reason for technology companies not to do this, and we encourage them to get in touch to learn more about how we did this, or to visit the links below:

Environmental changes come in many forms, among them invasive species and overdevelopment. That’s why Ocient also held a recent team-building event where we cleared out non-native plants on public lands alongside The Forge: Lemont Quarries. Co-founded by Ocient CEO Chris Gladwin, the Forge is an innovative public/private partnership to both bring new fresh-air adventure resources to Chicago and to clean the land of plants that crowd out native species. Eliminating invasive species and restoring the native ecosystem significantly increases the rate of natural carbon capture – which also makes a positive contribution to reducing climate change.