Facebook reveals carbon footprint

| by Teena Hammond
Facebook reveals carbon footprint

Facebook shared data today on its carbon footprint, energy mix and energy use for its data centers and global offices. Appropriately enough, it shared the info through its Facebook pages.

The breakdown shows that each monthly active Facebook user creates an annual carbon footprint of 269 grams. This is the same carbon footprint as one medium latte.

The total energy use from office space, data centers and other facilities was approximately 532 million kilowatt hours (kWh). Greenhouse gas emissions, also known as the carbon footprint, from data centers, office space, employee commuting, employee air travel, data center construction and server transportation totaled approximately 285,000 metric tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent, which includes greenhouse gases CO2, CH4, N2O, and HFCs.)

The energy mix was 23 percent clean and renewable, 27 percent coal, 17 percent natural gas, 13 percent nuclear and 20 percent uncategorized. That includes energy that's purchased by utilities on the spot market and can include any or all of the other categories.

As part of the release, Facebook said, "reducing our impact and significantly altering our energy mix will be challenging. The reality is that as a fast-growing company our carbon footprint and energy mix may get worse before they get better. When we bring our Lulea, Sweden, data center online in 2014, we expect to see a steady increase in the clean and renewable sources powering our data center operations. And we've set a company goal to derive at least 25 percent of our energy mix from clean and renewable sources by 2015. We know this is going to be a stretch for us, and we're still figuring out exactly what it will take to get there."

Facebook said it will work on this by indicating a preference for data center locations with access to clean and renewable energy sources, as well as working with environmental organizations, industry peers and utility companies to advocate for more clean and renewable energy sources. It also said it will include a renewable energy component to every new data center it builds in order to learn more about what such investments mean for Facebook. The company cited a small solar installation at its Prineville data center as an example of the kinds of projects it will undertake in the future.

It also recently partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Opower to help Facebook users track their home energy use, compare it with their friends' and share tips on how to save energy.

Read more about corporate sustainability.

Topics: Sustainability Trends & Statistics

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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