A green new data center in the New Mexico desert

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There’s something green happening in the New Mexico desert. Our newest data center in Los Lunas just started serving traffic. The facility is supported by 100 percent renewable energy from new wind and solar projects in New Mexico.

While construction will continue through 2023, we have two data halls now up and running. So far, we’ve poured more than 128,000 cubic yards of concrete, used 14,600 tons of steel, and laid 4,572 miles of cable. We are also happy to say that the construction team has diverted over 90 percent of construction waste to recycling centers, keeping 7,400 tons of material out of landfills.

In 2017 alone, due to our efficient data center cooling systems, Facebook avoided 1.5 billion gallons of water use – the equivalent of filling 18.5 million bathtubs — compared with what we would have needed if we had used traditional cooling infrastructure. Our data centers are 80 percent more water-efficient than the industry average, and we share many of our data center designs with the industry, so others can build on our work.

Our data centers help us accommodate the growing number of photos and videos that people share on our family of apps and services, and also help us scale as we create more immersive experiences through live video, 360 photos and videos, and VR/AR. Once completed, the full Los Lunas campus will have six buildings with a total of 2.8 million square feet, and it will be home to hundreds of thousands of servers in 22 data halls like this one.

Building the technology to connect the world is a huge challenge. To meet it, we built an efficient, flexible, and sustainable global infrastructure. We took apart the traditional networking and computing components and rebuilt them into modular disaggregated systems. This allows us to replace hardware and software as soon as more advanced technology becomes available.

Our data centers are cooled using outside air that passes through filters and fans and into our data halls. We aim to maintain the temperature of the data center between 65 degrees and 85 degrees, but our servers are actually designed to operate at 95 degrees. (Yes, that is New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in the room where outside air gets filtered into the data center.)

More than 1,000 workers have been on-site every day to build the facility. Today, there are 150 people working on-site, and we anticipate that it will support more than 300 jobs when completed. The finished project will represent an investment of more than $1 billion.

By 2020, all of Facebook’s operations will be supported by 100 percent renewable energy. In New Mexico, we signed contracts with energy developers to build 180 megawatts of solar and 216 megawatts of wind power to support our data center. These solar panels are part of a project that sits right next to our Los Lunas facility and represents 10 megawatts of solar power.

When creating this mural at the entrance of the data center, artist Justin Queal wanted to honor the heritage of New Mexico and the Village of Los Lunas with references to the historic pueblo, local landscape, and patterns inspired by basket weaving and pottery. He chose to show the sun powering a technological New Mexico, with a giant Zia symbol that morphs into circuitry, surrounded by gears.