Our Footprint

People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them. As more people share on our platform, we continue to engineer hyper-efficient data centers and increase our use of clean and renewable energy to power them. The sustainability advances we’ve realized extend beyond our own four walls, as we share what we’ve learned and work with others to keep innovating. Every year, we share data on our energy use, our carbon footprint, and our water use. Let’s look at how we did in 2017. 

How big is your footprint?

In 2004, one million people were using Facebook. In December 2017, there were 2.1 billion people using Facebook every month. Despite this growth and the expansion of services, Facebook’s carbon impact per person has remained about the same. Divided across the people we serve, here’s how Facebook’s annual carbon emissions compare with other common daily activities.

We’re engineering a smaller carbon footprint across our family of apps and services by making our infrastructure more efficient and by sourcing clean and renewable energy.

In 2017, Facebook’s total carbon footprint was 979,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO2e)

Offices and other business activity account for 38% of our carbon footprint. The other 62% is from our data centers. Managing our data center carbon intensity is a key priority.

Carbon footprint detail—data center operations

NOTE: We’ve rounded the numbers in this report. The 2017 data in this report is based on the apps and services running wholly on our infrastructure—including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram—as of December 31, 2017.

Carbon footprint detail—other business activity 

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol perspective

Another way to break down our carbon footprint is through World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This framework includes three scopes for reporting greenhouse gases (or CO2e*).

*CO2e includes carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions plus equivalent CO2 resulting from other greenhouse gas emissions. See WRI’s case study on how Facebook calculates the carbon impact of its energy use.

Our electricity mix

We’re working to increase our use of clean and renewable electricity sources to 100% by the end of 2020.

On the road to 100% clean and renewable energy

In 2017, we exceeded our goal of sourcing 50% clean and renewable energy a year earlier than we targeted. We’re now working to achieve 100% renewable across all of our operations by the end of 2020.

When Facebook started out, we rented space in shared data centers called co-location facilities where we had little control over design, operational efficiency, or energy sourcing. In 2009, we started designing and building our own data centers. In 2011, we opened the first of our own data centers in Prineville, Oregon, designed for world-class efficiency.

Access to clean and renewable energy is a key criterion for where we locate our data centers. We work with energy developers and utilities to help add more renewable sources of electricity to regional grids. Clean and renewable energy already supplies 100% of the energy required by our data centers in Los Lunas, New Mexico, Papillion, Nebraska, Luleå, Sweden, Altoona, Iowa, and Fort Worth, Texas, and by the end of 2020 renewable energy will support 100% of the annual energy used by all of our data centers. All of our data centers will be powered by renewable energy once operational.

Tracking our energy and water impact

We’re proud that at our owned data centers our fleet-wide Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is 1.10, which is far more efficient than the industry standard of 1.50. This, coupled with our efficient servers, means our infrastructure is approximately 40% more efficient than what’s typical in the industry. We also design our data centers to be water efficient and use 80% less water than a typical data center. In fact, Facebook was the first to report on data center Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE) in 2012 because we feel tracking water usage is just as important as tracking energy use.

Tracking efficiency is key to improving it

To more effectively share our energy and water efficiency, we created our PUE and WUE dashboards, which show real-time PUE and WUE at the data centers we own. We shared the code for our dashboards to help others track their data center efficiencies too.
View our live dashboards:
Prineville, OR
Forest City, NC
Luleå, Sweden
Altoona, IA

Building some of the most energy efficient data centers in the world and helping others do the same

In 2017, Facebook’s total electricity use was 2,460,000 megawatt hours (MWh)

Data centers account for 96% of our total electricity consumption. Our world-class energy efficiency is made possible by ongoing innovations in the design and operation of our data centers, and our focus on efficient code. We openly share the technology we’ve built and the processes we use with the world.

Electricity use detail—data center operations


We design our data centers to use about 80% less water than a typical data center uses

A single person’s use of our services for an entire year requires less than one liter of water.

In 2017, Facebook used 1,609,000 cubic meters (424,994,000 gallons) of water

Offices account for 29% of our water usage. The other 71% is from our data center operations. Most data centers use a significant amount of water as part of their cooling systems. For the server halls of the data centers we own, we found a better way: using fresh air pulled in from outside and, when needed, efficient water evaporation technology. Any excess warm air gets recycled or sent back outside.

Water use detail—data center operations 

1% finished

Here at Facebook, we live by this mantra: 1% finished. In other words, we’re just getting started. We know that if the planet isn’t healthy in the years to come, we won’t be either. We’re committed to designing efficient infrastructure and moving to 100% clean and renewable energy sources by 2020. We’ll continue to share what we’ve learned so others can leverage it for their own operations, and help build market demand.

Want to know more?

Download a PDF of our 2017 carbon, energy and water data.

Download our 2017 energy and GHG verification statement.

Download our 2017 water verification statement.

Check out Open Compute Project, the world’s first open hardware movement, launched in 2011.

See the efficiency dashboards that provide real-time data for each of our data centers.

Check out the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, a set of guidelines published by a coalition of NGOs and companies working to grow the renewable energy market.

Check out the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, a coalition of non-profits and businesses working together to make it easier for any company to buy renewable energy.

View our commitments to the American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge, and We Are Still In declaration.

Through the facebook.com/green page, we share regular updates about our sustainability work.

Visit the Facebook Newsroom.

Visit Facebook’s investor relations page.