Facebook touts water efficiency at Prineville data center

A sophisticated cooling system at its Prineville data center allows Facebook to be more stingy with water.
Courtesy Facebook

A sophisticated cooling system at its Prineville data center allows Facebook to be more stingy with water. 

As part of its ongoing Open Compute Project, Facebook on Thursday released data about the water usage at its data center in Prineville.

The cornerstone statistic โ€” water usage effectiveness, or WUE โ€” came in at .22 liters per kilowatt hour for the second quarter of 2012.

Water usage effectiveness is a fairly new measure for data center efficiency โ€” The Green Grid consortium of green data center experts published a paper on it last Spring. Facebook, which is committing to publishing its WUE on a quarterly basis, may be the first company to release the stat to the public.

The WUE doesn't measure water used by people, say in the data center bathrooms, but instead focuses on water used for cooling equipment.

"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," Facebook officials wrote in a blog post detailing the water usage effectiveness report.

Facebook can be stingy with water for cooling in part because of its effective use of outside air for cooling purposes.

The social networking giant has been collecting kudos for its green operations in central Oregon including LEED Gold certification and a green building award from Engineering News and Record. Earlier this month, Facebook released data about its carbon footprint.

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