The city is located near the Arctic Circle and will be home to Facebook's first European data center. Lulea's sub-arctic climate will enable the company to take advantage of natural cooling resources with a climate that has short, mild summers and long, cold winters.
The data center will have a floor space of more than 900,000 square feet, which exceeds the size of 15 football fields. According to the town of Lulea, the facility will be built in three phases and eventually consist of three separate server rooms that are designed to handle a substantial portion of Facebook's data traffic. The completion date is targeted for 2014.
Facebook has been frequently criticized, especially by Greenpeace, that it does not make enough effort to achieve an efficient use of energy in its data centers and draw most of its power from coal power plants. The Lulea data center will consume power that is exclusively produced by water power plants and the natural climate should help bring down the power consumption quite a bit. Competitors, such as Google, use similar concepts: Google recently opened a data center in Hamina, Finland, which uses sea water for cooling its servers.