In a move toward greater transparency and following in Apple and Google’s footsteps, Facebook has revealed for first time its carbon footprint during 2011.
Facebook’s Carbon & Energy Impact Report provides details about the company’s carbon footprint, energy mix, and energy use for all of its offices and data centers. The apparently non-stop growth of the company will have an impact on its carbon footprint, so the company has also outlined its clean energy commitments, setting a goal to acquire at least 25% of its energy from clean and renewable sources by 2015, in order to maximise efﬁciency and align the business decisions with the environment. As reported, the company will include renewable energy component to every new data center it builds, mentioning its solar pv installation at Prineville data center as an example of next projects.
The total energy use in all Facebook’s facilities was 532 million kilowatt hours of energy in 2011, where the vast majority came from data centers – 509 millions -. This equals to 285,000 metric tons of CO2 emitted annually that, despite its great activity with more than 900mil users liking, sharing and uploading pictures everyday, are only one fifth of Google’s carbon emissions in 2010 – around 1.5m tons -. The company also estimates that the annual footprint for each active user is 269 grams, the equivalent footprint of a cup of coffee.
Coal-fired power accounts for the biggest share of the energy consumed by its data centers (27%), followed by clean & renewable energy sources (23%), natural gas (17%) and nuclear power (13%). The report also shows an “Uncategorized” 20% from utilities that “don’t report the source of the energy“.