Sharing Our Footprint

Today we’re sharing our 2011 carbon footprint, energy mix and energy use for our data centers and global offices. We’re releasing this data because we believe in the power of openness, and because we hope that adding another data point to our collective understanding of our industry’s environmental impact will help us all keep improving.

We recognize that this data is just one slice of our overall environmental footprint, but we think it’s an important starting point. We’ll continue to track and share this data, and we’ll also work to understand and share other aspects of our footprint where we can. Our goal is to understand where we have the most opportunity—and responsibility—to minimize our long-term environmental impact.

Here are the numbers for 2011:

• The total annual carbon footprint per monthly active Facebook user is 269 grams. To put this number into context, one person’s Facebook use for all of 2011 had roughly the same carbon footprint as one medium latte. Or three large bananas. Or a couple of glasses of wine.

Our Energy Mix

• Facebook’s total energy use from office space, data centers and other facilities was approximately 532 million kWh.

Our Energy Mix

• Facebook’s greenhouse gas emissions—also known as our 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).

• Facebook’s energy mix was 23% clean and renewable, 27% coal, 17% natural gas, 13% nuclear and 20% uncategorized (energy that’s purchased by utilities on the spot market and can include any or all of the above categories).

Our Energy Mix

In the short-term, 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% 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.

In the interim, we will maintain our focus on maximizing efficiency in our operations and sharing our strategies for doing so via the Open Compute Project. We will also continue trying to introduce more clean and renewable energy into the mix that powers our data centers by:

• Including a preference for locations that have access to clean and renewable energy sources in our data center siting policy;

• Engaging with environmental organizations, our industry peers and our utility providers to advocate for more clean and renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix available to all consumers;

• Including a renewable energy component to every new data center we build so we can learn more about what such investments mean for Facebook. The small solar installation at our Prineville data center is a good example of the kinds of projects we’ll undertake.

We also know that there is great opportunity in the power of our platform and the more than 950 million people who use Facebook. Through our page and investment in partnerships, we are aiming to drive environmental awareness, education and action. For example, we recently partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Opower to help people track their home energy use, compare it with their friends’ and share tips on how to save energy. Check out the app. As Facebook seeks to track and manage our own energy use, we want to make it easy for the people who use Facebook to do the same.

If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook’s approach to efficiency, energy, and sustainability, check out these resources:

Green on Facebook
Our Sustainability Story
Open Compute Project
Social Energy Efficiency app (Track your own energy use and minimize your carbon impact)
Facebook Prineville Data Center
Facebook Forest City Data Center
Facebook Lulea Data Center
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol
The Green Grid
Sharing Our Footprint

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