Rendering courtesy of Facebook
The Lulea, Sweden, Facebook data center will be powered by nearby hydropower.

In a joint venture with Fortis Construction, Portland, Ore., and NCC Construction Sweden, Stockholm, among others, DPR Construction recently was awarded a $121-million contract to construct a data-center complex for Facebook in Lulea, Sweden.

This project will be the Redwood City, Calif., general contractor’s first foray outside North America, said Andy Andres, project executive, who is currently in Forest City, N.C., constructing another Facebook data center. This year, DPR and Fortis also completed Facebook’s data-center complex in Prineville, Ore.

“This was the right job and right opportunity for us to expand overseas,” Andres said.

The Lulea project, located 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, is also Facebook’s first overseas data center and will serve 800 million users. The 300,000-sq-ft building, scheduled for completion in December 2012, will be the first of three in the complex, which will be completed by 2014.

Based on the Palo Alto, Calif., social media firm’s clean power and environmental requirements, the complex will be run by hydropower, for which the Lulea area is known. Andres says the cold climate will naturally aid in the building’s cooling demands for the heat-intensive servers.

“Though this project is similar in mechanical design to the other Facebook data centers we’ve worked on, the goal is to take full advantage of the free cooling process,” said Andres. The center will rely on a standard evaporative cooling system, he adds.

Also part of the joint venture is Alfa Tech, San Jose, Calif., an MEP engineering firm, and Sheehan Partners Architects, Chicago.

According to DPR, the data center will be built along LEED-Gold certification standards.

According to the Lulea Business Agency, the city of 74,000 residents is situated off the Lulea River, which is home to a number of hydropower stations that produce twice as much electric power than the Hoover Dam. The region’s stable electricity grid also results in the lowest electricity costs in Sweden, said the agency.