Launched by Carbonfund.org, which supports third-party renewable energy and reforestation projects around the world, the free online search engine is powered by Bing and hosts sponsored advertisements through Yahoo!.
The revenue generated by these advertisements is then donated by Carbonfund.org to environmental projects around the world, including the Haiti Reforestation Initiative, and the India Mangrove Project.
The green nature of the search engine does not appear to change results in any way; for instance typing “BP” into www.envirosearch.org produces the energy company’s homepage as the top result rather than information regarding the recent oil spill in which it was involved – the same results that are returned on www.bing.com.
‘Green’ search engines have been in existence for several years and are growing in popularity; perhaps one of the biggest is the Google-powered http://www.carbonneutralsearch.co.uk/ which buys carbon offsets to make searches carbon neutral.
Search engine www.gigablast.com claims to generate 90 percent of its energy usage from wind energy and the Yahoo! powered www.goodsearch.com allows users to choose one of the participating charities – including many dedicated to the environment – to sponsor with their searches; US$0.01 is then donated to the charity of the user’s choice.
Other business models of ‘green’ search engines include www.greenmaven.com which, rather than donating profits, filters results and only returns hits from those from sites that are environmentally friendly or promote a green cause; and www.ecoseek.net which searches for environmentally friendly products.