Facebook is moving forward with the second phase of its data
center in Altoona, Iowa. The company said in a post on its blog that it would present plans Tuesday for the second building in its nearly $1 billion, three-building complex to Altoona's Planning and Zoning Commission.
Approval by the commission would move the plans for the remaining two buildings to the City Council for a review early next week. One facility is under construction, and the buildings are being built in three phases at a cost of about $300 million each. The project has received $18 million in state tax credits, and the city of Altoona has said it will not charge property taxes for 20 years.
The first data center's construction is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, and the construction is expected to begin on the second facility as soon as City Council approval is granted.
The Facebook Page
This being Facebook, of course the Altoona Data Center has its own Facebook page, with 2,217 likes as of Tuesday mid-afternoon.
On the page, the company posted that "a little more than a year ago, we announced that Altoona would be the home of our newest data center." Since then, it said, more than 460 people have worked "every day" on the 476,000-square-foot building. That first facility is designed to house computer servers and provide office space.
It noted that Altoona 2 "is expected to be roughly the same size and layout" as Altoona 1. Facebook has been touting resource-efficiency in its construction and management of its data centers, using a "modular and lean construction" approach. Among other things, Facebook has open-sourced its water-usage dashboard software.
Next to electricity, water is one of the biggest resources required by a major data center. A year ago, Altoona approved a special discounted water rate for those business facilities that use over 9 million gallons of water monthly. This would result in a $3 rebate for every thousand gallons over 9 million.
Facebook also has data centers in Prineville, Oregon, and Forest City, North Carolina. Its efficient data center approach is embodied in its Open Compute Project, which was started in 2011 with the intention of creating and sharing methods for building servers and data centers using the most energy-efficient techniques.
For the North Carolina facility alone, the Open Compute techniques have reportedly saved the social network giant about $1.2 billion in infrastructure expenses, reduced the energy equivalent by the amount needed to power 40,000 homes for one year, and conserved a carbon footprint equal to removing 50,000 cars from traffic.
Iowa, situated in the center of the U.S., is growing large data centers along with its crops of corn. A $1.1 billion facility was recently announced by Microsoft for West Des Moines, and Google has a data center in Council Bluffs.