Meta plans to reduce the amount of water its data centers use by implementing a system where sites operate at higher temperatures but lower humidity.
Facebook’s parent company said it has tested some sites at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, about 5 degrees above their usual temperatures, as part of wider plans to become “water positive” by 2030.
Meta also told the audience at the recent 7×24 Exchange Fall Conference in San Antonio, Texas, that it also plans to reduce the frequency of backwash used to clean filtration systems, in addition to modifying the water softening systems used. are used in many of its data centers.
How will this work?
Meta’s pilot programs involved adjusting the temperature environment in just one half of a data center, while keeping the other side at the existing level for comparison.
Meta has not clearly stated how much water it plans to save annually through the measures, saying only “millions of gallons,” according to reports.
By location, Meta estimates that the savings will range from 10% to 65%, depending on the area.
Why the move?
Data centers are a huge drain on the world’s finite water supply, as they consumed a combined 174 billion gallons of water in 2020 in the US alone, according to a report by the US Department of Energy.
Meta itself is a decent consumer of water, the major tech company used 2.57 million cubic meters of water during 2021, mainly due to its cloud hosting which is responsible for massive amounts of consumer data, according to statistics from GlobalData. (opens in new tab)
Even a small drop in water output per data center could cause huge positive ripples worldwide. Meta currently operates approximately 40 million square feet of data centers worldwide according to its website. (opens in new tab)
Meta is not the only large technology company that wants to make its data centers more sustainable.
Microsoft says it has created zero-carbon alternatives to the diesel generators used for backups in its data centers in the event of power outages and other service interruptions.
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