Facebook goes Green, takes on Google
Power usage is a great hint to determine the economy of a unit (unit here means a company, office, country etc.) Power is what gets the resources to work, generates the output and also the waste. As a regular corporate social responsibility, many companies around the world make sure that they leave a minimum footprint on global power usage. Now, Facebook has also joined the revered league. Facebook is quite efficient with energy usage and believes in the motto to ‘GO GREEN.’
As gigaom.com mentions, “Using Facebook actively for an entire year releases about the same amount of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere as drinking just one latte (mostly through the electricity consumed by Facebook’s servers)” Recently Facebook revealed its energy-usage statistics. Facebook mentioned that in 2011 its data centres used 532 million kilowatts of energy and released 285,000 metric tons of Carbon dioxide equivalents. For better understanding just know that it is an enormous amount of power usage and waste emission but wait this is relative. Reportedly Google consumed 2 billion kilowatt hours of energy in 2010.
Now releasing these statistics is risky in terms of competition because once someone knows your waste emission they will probably know how many servers you have. Google’s secrecy over this issue was justified by this prevalent reason until Facebook came around and made privacy a joke. So where Google’s data centres comes with iris scanners and armed guards, Facebook lets you roam around its centres and even take snaps if you want to. Facebook pays a lot of attention to power usage and waste generation. Most data centres use cooling systems for their servers which in turn use more power. Facebook uses filters outside air and sprays the air with water so as to control humidity and thus makes for a more efficient system. Facebook designs its own motherboards rather than using available in the market so as to do away with the power-hungry parts and they don’t even care to keep it a secret. The company that makes those motherboards is Quanta. At present 23 % of the power used by Facebook comes from renewable energy sources and they aim to take it up to 25% by 2015.
Greenpeace has mentioned regarding the energy usage statistics that “Facebook has today set an important benchmark for the company to fulfil its goal to be fully powered by clean and renewable energy.” Other companies should learn a lesson from Facebook and aim at even the smallest thing that could save on the power usage and minimize the emissions. One should also note that Google and Facebook pioneered for the share of this kind of data and I guess other giant internet companies should follow suit.