Facebook Status Update: We're Opening a Green Data Center

Facebook Status Update: We're Opening a Green Data Center

If "Facebook's Green Data Center" were a group, I'd become a fan of it.*

The social networking giant and cause of huge losses of productivity around the globe announced last week that it had made plans to open its first company-owned data center, and would take steps to make it among the greenest in the industry.

In a post on Facebook (where else?), Jonathan Heiliger, the company's director of technical operations, laid out the 147,000-square-foot facility's claims to green, saying in part, "Along with making sure Facebook operates quickly for you, we wanted to minimize the environmental impact of our new facility and its energy costs. To best achieve those goals, we will use several energy-efficiency technologies, including:

  • Evaporative cooling system: This system evaporates water to cool the incoming air, as opposed to traditional chiller systems that require more energy intensive equipment. This process is highly energy efficient and minimizes water consumption by using outside air.
  • Airside economizer: The facility will be cooled by simply bringing in colder air from the outside. This feature will operate for between 60 percent and 70 percent of the year. The remainder of the year requires the use of the evaporative cooling system to meet temperature and humidity requirements.
  • Re-use of server heat: A portion of the excess heat created by the computer servers will be captured and used to heat office space in the facility during the colder months.
  • Proprietary Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) technology: All data centers must have an uninterruptible power supply to continuously provide power to servers. The Prineville data center will use a new, patent-pending UPS system that reduces electricity usage by as much as 12 percent."

 

 

When all is said and done, the data center is shooting for a PUE of 1.15, compared to what Facebook calls an average industry PUE of 1.8. (Learn more about PUEs here: "It's Time To Know Green IT's Best Metric: PUE".)

If Facebook does manage a PUE of 1.15, it would certainly be among the most energy efficient facilities that we're aware of; Microsoft last year opened its testing lab to the media for a tour, showing off its 1.22 PUE in the process. The company expects its next generation of data centers to hit 1.12.

Google, no slouch in the green computing realm itself, has set a goal of 1.11 PUE for its data centers, while a veteran data center designer last year pushed the boundaries of what was possible when said he had built three data centers with PUEs below 1.10.

 



Facebook also said it's aiming for LEED Gold certification for its Prineville data center, part of an increasing trend of green buildings for tech facilities.
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*(Maybe it is a group, I haven't looked because I just don't spend much time on Facebook...)**

** Update: of course it's a group. See Facebook.com/prinevilledatacenter for details. And yeah, I became a fan...