Facebook publishes environmental management data
03 August 2012
Posted by Satvir Bhullar
Figures regarding its energy use and carbon emissions have been published by social media giant Facebook.
The company has released the information as part of its commitment to good environmental management standards, claiming it is "in the spirit of Facebook's openness and transparency".
According to the firm, its expanding operations are increasing the need for data centres, offices and energy, with efforts being taken to maximize efficiency and improve its sustainability.
Total energy use by Facebook in 2011 was 532 million kilowatt hours (kWh), with 23 per cent of its energy mix currently categorized as clean and renewable, compared with 27 per cent of power from coal, 20 per cent uncategorized, 17 per cent from natural gas and 13 per cent from nuclear.
The carbon footprint of the company last year is estimated at 285,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared with a total of 1.5 million produced by search specialist Google in 2010.
Per user, the annual footprint generated by Facebook is similar to that of a medium latte, or around 269 grams. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of total emissions were produced by Facebook's US data centres.
Commenting on the Facebook data, Gary Cook, Senior IT Analyst for Greenpeace, said: "Today's detailed disclosure and announcement of a clean energy target shows that the company means business and wants the world to follow its progress."
As part of its environmental management programme, Google is now aiming to reach 25 per cent renewable energy use in the short term.
Across the US, carbon emissions have fallen to their lowest rate in two decades, according to official data.
Figures from the national Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed there were 1.34 billion metric tonnes of energy-related carbon released in the first quarter of 2012, eight per cent lower year on year and the smallest quarterly total since 1992.
The EIA reported coal emissions declined by 18 per cent to rates last seen in 1986 and natural gas levels dropped by 2.8 per cent over the year in question.