Open Compute Project

Energy Efficiency


The Open Compute Project is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of infrastructure technology and energy consumption through continued evolution in energy and material efficiency. While traditional data center design often occurs in siloed components — a building, servers, and software — the Open Compute Project evaluates the influence of all components within the data center ecosystem, leading to optimized energy and material use as well as reduced environmental impact. The Open Compute server's vanity-free design eliminates nearly 6 pounds of material per server, reducing the amount of materials that need to be produced, transported, assembled, and eventually, disassembled. "Designing out," or excluding, all non-essential features and non-relevant elements from the Open Compute servers allows for a custom chassis that minimizes the overall part count, accelerates assembly, and removes elements like a front panel, paint, and logos.  Additionally, Open Compute servers can operate in a higher-temperature environment, reducing the overall cooling load required in a data center.


Facebook's Prineville, Oregon, data center integrates data center design and server design into one ecosystem, built in tandem, to leverage the strengths of both the physical structure and the hardware it houses. As a result of the Open Compute Project, the Prineville data center, which opened in April 2011, is one of the most energy efficient in the world. As of the end of Q4 2015, the Prineville data center had a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.09 and the Forest City data center had a PUE of 1.08. These metrics represent data from the previous 12 months and are significantly better than the EPA's best practice PUE of 1.5 for the technology sector.

Facebook is also committed to reporting WUE — Water Usage Effectiveness. WUE, which The Green Grid developed, is a ratio of Annual Site Water Usage to IT Equipment Energy. At the end of Q4 2015, WUE at our Prineville data center was 0.25 L/kWh and WUE at our Forest City data center was .30 L/kWh. Both represent trailing 12 month data. You can learn more about water efficiency at the Prineville data center. 

In 2013 Facebook launched dashboards that show realtime values for PUE, WUE, temperature and humidity at its owned data centers. You can find the Prineville dashboard here and the Forest City dashboard here. The Prineville data center uses outside air evaporative cooling, removing cooling towers and centralized chillers from the design. The traditional inline UPS system was also eliminated. Further energy efficiency savings were realized through the removal of a 480V to 208V transformation, resulting in less power loss during delivery. In a traditional data center, 11-17% of energy is lost just to transformation processes; only 2% is lost during the same process in Prineville. The passive cooling infrastructure and Ethernet-powered LED lighting also reduce the total energy required to run the facility. In November 2011, the Prineville data center achieved the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The data center consumes 52% less energy than a data center built to code requirements, consumes 72% less water for occupant use, and meets 100% of irrigation needs through rainwater capture. 


Learn more about Facebook’s green initiatives.