Facebook Aims For Greater Water Efficiency At Data Center

By Justin Lafferty 

About one week after releasing energy usage figures, Facebook showed how efficiently water is used at its data center in Prineville, Ore. The verdict? Good, not great.

One year after Facebook started tracking water usage in Prineville (based on WUE, or water usage efficiency), the meter reads 0.22 L/kWh (liters per kilowatt-hour). That might seem low, but as tech blog GigaOM notes, the ideal figure is zero.

Facebook’s Daniel Lee outlined on the Open Compute Project blog how the company uses water in Prineville:

WUE measures water used for cooling a data center only; it doesn’t measure water used for plumbing or offices, although Facebook minimizes water usage in these areas, as well, by using reclaimed water and waterless urinals in the bathrooms. We think that 0.22 L/kWh is a great result, but it should be noted that the WUE concept is fairly new and, to our knowledge, no one else has publicly reported WUE yet. We hope that other companies will soon start measuring and reporting WUE so we can begin setting benchmarks for the metric and working together to find new ways to improve.

Lee also noted that Facebook is also working on the WUE figures for the Forest City, N.C., data center, and it will release those numbers once there’s enough information.

Readers: What do you think of Facebook’s eco-friendly efforts?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.