Despite the water needed for evaporative cooling, the building consumes a third the amount of water used by a typical data center, Furlong says. A mist-eliminator screen captures and recycles any minute water droplets that haven't been fully absorbed into the air, saving about 18% of water usage. Rainwater is harvested for gray-water usage in the facility. Facebook also added a 100-Kw photovoltaic array to supply all the power for the 5,000 sq ft of office space.

Located on a mesa above Prineville, the rocky site required blasting and excavating 60,000 cu yd of material, which was reground and used for fill, taking some 1,500 truckloads off the road, says David Aaroe, executive vice president at Fortis Construction.

The project consumed 620 miles of electrical wire and 48 miles of conduit. The team used building information modeling to design foundations, the steel structure, mechanical and fire protection systems, and underslab conduit. Using BIM, design-assist subcontractors and careful project management, DPR/Fortis brought the project in ahead of schedule and under budget. In phase two, the team expects to cut an additional month out of the project schedule. The as-built BIM will connect with facility management software to assist Facebook with downstream operations and maintenance, Lamb says.

The project benefited one of Oregon's most economically depressed communities. A report prepared by Portland-based ECONorthwest at the behest of Facebook estimates the data center's capital costs at $210.4 million, with $142 million staying in state. Aaroe says that of the more than 2,000 workers that went through safety orientation, more than 70% were from central Oregon.

The decision to open up the data center's design specs to the industry aligns with Facebook's culture, which encourages participation in the open-source community. The company was built around open-source software, says Furlong. has attracted industry giants such as Intel to join forces. "We feel our competitive advantage is in our software and the service we deliver," not in the data center, Furlong says. "We'll get a lot more out of it by sharing than we will by being insular about it."