Facebook Shares 2011 Energy + Carbon Footprint Data

Facebook Shares 2011 Energy + Carbon Footprint Data

Now that Facebook's a properly official public company, it'll be doing things it never had to do before. Things like "being transparent." With the world watching, the company is a much different place, but even before the IPO, it looks as if Facebook was tracking something that'll be highly important in the years ahead. Following in the footsteps of countless other technology mainstays, Facebook has just announced its 2011 carbon footprint, energy mix and energy use. Why? According to the company, it's making the move because it "believes in the power of openness, and because it hopes that adding another data point to our collective understanding of our industry’s environmental impact will help us all keep improving." Wise words.

Looking back at the banner year that was 2011, Facebook found that 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. Facebook’s total energy use from office space, data centers and other facilities was approximately 532 million kWh. 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).


When talking about the harsh realities of using energy, Facebook admits that its eco-friendly nature may not shine immediately. Still, the company has long term goals to become more green, with a company goal to derive at least 25% of our energy mix from clean and renewable sources by 2015. It's pretty fascinating that what appears to be a simple social network takes tons and tons of energy to run 24/7. And a little perspective never hurt anyone.
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Its always surprising to hear how much coal we still use in the world today, with so many cleaner alternatives I wish there was a major push to stop the mining and burning of such a horrible resource. Not pointing the finger just at Facebook, its unfortunately a world wide problem.

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Karanm coal isnt as bad as it put out to be, the two big problems with coal are inefficiency, (large amounts have to be burned to produce relatively little electricity) and old power plants still in use.

New power plants are said to produce up to 40% less carbon emissions while squeazing another 20 percent of efficiency out of the coal effectively adding a total of 50 percent its previous emissions for a equal amount of energy production.

The general opinion is that coal hasn't progressed as an energy in the three hundred years its beem around but the truth is that coal has become more and more viable as an energy source with the leaps and bounds being made in the energy sector to cut emissions caused by fuel burning plants, plants that are said to make as much as 41% of the worlds energy.

Also coal power is 5 or ten times cheaper than solar and 3x as cheap as wind and hydro electric. it evens has nuclear and oil built. the short answer, we use it because it keeps our costs down while back tracking to make it safe for the environment.

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Burning coal might have gotten safer for the environment, but mining for it certainly is not better than wind or solar. The mountaintop removal method generally pollutes the surrounding water and creates an extremely toxic slurry which if released has devastating effects to the surrounding ecosystem for 100s of years. The economical cost of solar or wind may be higher but the environmental cost of coal is astronomical, of course governments care more about the bottom line than anything else so yea coal and other fossil fuels still run the majority of the world instead of cleaner renewable sources of energy.

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