In effort to become more transparent and promote a strong renewable energy goal, Facebook this week published exact figures about its carbon footprint and the mix of energy sources it uses to power its social media network.
Facebook now boasts over 900 million users and has become an integral part of many people’s professional and personal lives. Even with the enormous growth the company has experienced, it reports carbon emissions of 285,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2011–way less than rival Google, who posted 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2010.
Not surprisingly, most of Facebook’s carbon footprint is due to its U.S. data centers’ operations. That accounts for 72% of its CO2 emissions. A little piece of trivia thanks to The Guardian: “The annual footprint for each user that’s active monthly is 269 grams, or around the equivalent footprint of a cup of coffee…”
In the last few years, Facebook has made a huge effort to up its renewable energy dependence, a practice that has not yet edged out coal as its primary energy source, but came pretty close. Twenty-seven percent of Facebook’s power is goal-generated with renewable energy contributing 23 percent. Gas was at 17 percent and nuclear was at 13%. The last 20 percent is “uncategorized” since it accounts for “spot energy” purchased by utilities from a variety of sources.
The company, according to a statement accompanying the recently-released data, has set a 2015 target date to “derive at least 25 percent of our energy mix from clean and renewable sources.”
“We know this is going to be a stretch for us, and we’re still figuring out exactly what it will take to get there,” Facebook added.