Evaporative Cooling: Low Tech Method Good for Facebook’s High Tech Facility

Michael Giberson

Earlier in the week I discovered this Household Hacker video “Flower Pot Fridge” courtesy of a Energy Circle blog post with the appealing title, “How to cool your beer without electricity!

Simple! All you need is a pair of flower pots (one slightly smaller than the other), some sand, a damp towel, and relatively low ambient humidity. The secret to this low tech marvel is evaporative cooling.

Evaporative cooling has been used for air conditioning in dry climates for years, and now Facebook has turned to the low tech method to help protect one of its new and very high tech data centers. As The Economist explains it, the location was selected in part to help the high tech facility get the most value from relatively low tech, low cost evaporative cooling systems.