Facebook has announced that its data center in Prineville, OR, has received LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Several pioneering technologies have made it one of the most energy efficient data centers in the in the world, according to the company. These systems include:

One-hundred percent outside air evaporative cooling that requires no cooling towers or chillers. While typical buildings require energy-intensive cooling towers or chillers to keep their interiors at the right temperatures for servers, the Prineville data center has no cooling tower and no chiller. Instead, it uses a highly sophisticated, low-energy design that draws cool outside air from the atmosphere into the building that it then cooled further through evaporation.

• Custom servers that use less 38 percent less energy and can operate at higher temperatures to reduce mechanical cooling needs.

• Novel electrical distribution from an on-site substation that eliminates unnecessary losses from transformations and conversions. The process for delivering power from the on-site substation has been simplified, resulting in fewer conversions of power between the substation and the data center, which in turn reduces the amount of energy lost. Typical energy loss during conversion runs at 21 to 27 percent; at Prineville data center the loss is only 7.5 percent. The idea for this new design came from Jay Park, Facebook’s director of data center design engineering. He thought of the new approach in the middle of the night and, with no paper available, sketched it out on a napkin. A photo of the napkin is now framed and hanging in the Prineville facility.