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Kevin Grandia

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OMG Facebook! Luv Yr Green DataCenter in Sweden! B Gr8 if U Went Global, Wut?

Posted: 10/27/11 05:38 PM ET

Everyone's favorite social network is building a new datacenter in Luleå, Sweden that's going to be powered by renewable energy.

That earns a big like from us, but naturally we want more.

First, some backstory. What inspired Zuckerberg and Company to drop coal as a power source in Luelå, and embrace the environmentally kind electricity generation? Just some new-fashioned social media. Greenpeace took its message straight to Facebook using . . . Facebook.

More than 700,000 FB friends from 14 countries joined our 20-month-long Unfriend Coal campaign. It spelled out the serious amount of energy datacenters demand. It even set a Guinness World Record for most comments on a FB post in 24 hours.

Unfriend Coal definitely did some generating of its own, and we applaud Facebook for it's decision to use renewable energy for this new facility, but the effort isn't over. Facebook is obviously a figurehead in the IT community, and its datacenters could be models of renewable energy usage worldwide. We need to know how much power from those clean sources will keep the lights on in Luelå.

We've already determined that most of the world's data is downright filthy. Our April 2011 report "How Dirty is Your Data" revealed that each Facebook datacenter uses as much electricity as 30,000 US homes. Prior to Luelå, more than half of that power (cough, cough) came from coal.

Again, what's happening in Sweden is a good start, but Facebook can go a lot further. We're hoping each one of its 800 million users will help us get FB to go even greener by:

  • Declaring a public preference for siting its new datacenter infrastructure in locations where they can be significantly powered by clean renewable energy.
  • Sharing energy efficient datacenter designs through the Open Compute Project and demonstrating true transparency with regard to its total energy footprint -- a praiseworthy step recently taken by Google.
  • Using its profound economic leverage to advocate shifts in investment among the utilities with which FB already has contracts, such as Duke Energy in North Carolina and Pacific Power in Oregon, which rely heavily on coal.


Mark, imagine 800 million thumbs up. Think about billions of people breathing easier worldwide.

You already have the world's biggest social network. Now you have the power to be the world's biggest clean-energy powered datacenter role model. If you did that, we'd definitely be your best friend.

 

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