Enviro News - August 2012
Facebook is Greener than Google
Posted by Rebecca Watson - Enviro News Reporter on 02/08/2012 - 06:10:00
Facebook has disclosed its carbon emissions to the approval of green groups. The social networking giant revealed on Wednesday that their carbon footprint is significantly smaller than internet rival Google's, with their 285,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2011 a fraction of Google's 1.5m tons in 2010.
The company's US data centres produce 72% of emissions, by far outweighing office space and business activities such as corporate air travel and employee commuting.
It was calculated that the footprint of a monthly active site user is 269g per year, approximately the same footprint as a cup of coffee.
Facebook Carbon Footprint
The energy sources that power Facebook's data centres were also revealed. Coal fired power took the majority with its 27% just overtaking the 23% renewable sources, and the remaining power coming from 17% natural gas, 13% nuclear and 20% undisclosed.
Green organisations have welcomed the disclosure, with Gary Cook, Greenpeace International's senior IT analyst, reporting: "Facebook has committed to being fully renewably powered, and today's detailed disclosure and announcement of a clean energy target shows that the company means business and wants the world to follow its progress."
To further reduce emissions, Facebook announced in October 2011 that they would be building a green data centre in Lulea, Sweden. The city, just 100km south of the Arctic Circle, was chosen for its abundance in hydroelectric power resources and the cold climate paramount for keeping the servers cool.
Facebook's director of site operations Tom Furlong said: "We concluded that Lulea offered the best package of resources, including a suitable climate for environmental cooling, clean power resources, available land, talented regional workforce and supportive business and corporate environment."
The data centre will be the largest of its kind in Europe, covering 30,000 sq m rammed full of data servers. It will handle all data processing from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and serve millions of the site's 900m users.
A Facebook spokesperson reported: "It is our first data centre to draw its power primarily from renewables, and it features design evolutions like a 70% reduction in our reliance on backup generators."
With more and more internet figures becoming transparent with their emissions, the pressure is on for companies to reveal their footprint and focus on sustainability. The benchmark has been set, and the move towards green will undoubtedly be a welcome one.
Image Copyright Kevin Krejci Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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