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Google Shows Off Futuristic Sustainable Campus Design

Google recently released futuristic, high-tech, sustainable-style design plans for its Mountain View, California, headquarters, which promises to be world class. The high-tech giant announced that designers Thomas Heatherwick from Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingels from BIG will spearhead Google’s radical revision of its campus.


Photo Credit: Charles South Exterior New Proposed Google Campus by Google

Plans will include moveable buildings (or as Google’s Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Services David Radcliffe called them, “lightweight block-like structures”), and move away from the traditional bricks and mortar style of buildings. Bicycle and walking paths will play a prominent role in the campus as part of Google’s “active transportation” strategy in its new sustainability initiative. A new plaza where residents can gather is also planned.

Outside of moving buildings, the idea that really caught my eye was for translucent solar canopies. These canopies will displace normal roofing and windows in building complexes. Radcliffe noted that Google plans on blurring the lines between buildings and nature, as a mixture of trees, bicycle paths, cafes, and landscapes will intertwine in between everything. What is even cooler is that the solar canopies will provide shelter from the elements while creating power at the same time.

“And we’re committed to do everything we can to save energy — our recent agreement to offset our energy consumption in North Bayshore with renewable energy includes the development of this proposal,” Radcliffe noted while discussing Google’s work on reducing energy costs and promoting clean energy.

Founder of Heatherwick Studios Thomas Heatherwick said this new proposal is a wonderful opportunity for creating a new home for Google, but also improving the community and local environment.

Google has been big on sustainable development, including renewable energy, for years. Recently, it teamed with SolarCity in helping to fund solar panel installations across 14 states.

However, for some, not everything is rosy when it comes to this new campus proposal, nor is Google 100% clean of past environmental faux pas. Planetizen noted some concerns written by New York Times columnist Conor Dougherty about how far suburban areas within the Silicon Valley region will assist in sustaining this current tech growth:

According to Dougherty, “[the] project in Mountain View, which Google has not made public but has discussed with members of the City Council, is likely to aggravate an increasingly testy relationship between the company and community leaders who fear the company is overrunning their small city.”

The problem created by Google’s continued expansion, according to city leaders, is too many jobs. The growth of tech companies is a controversial trend in many of the area’s suburban municipalities.

Google helped fund ALEC, an anti-climate change lobby group (among other things evil), until last fall. It was then that Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman, said ALEC’s bad positions on climate change and lies on global warming were enough for the company to leave.

Despite possible issues from local residents, and past environmental gaffes, Google’s proposed designs for developing a sustainable workplace look really neat. This might very well be the benchmark for company campus designs in the future.

Read more Google cleantech news here on CleanTechnica.


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Written By

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business


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