We first heard about Google's plans for a new Bay View campus back in 2013, and now the project is finally finished nearly 10 years later.
As Google explains on The Keyword blog(Opens in a new window), this is the first time the company has designed its own campus from scratch, and it incorporates a number of innovative features to produce a building that's both water positive and all-electric. The site also currently holds the title of the largest geothermal installation in North America.
The roof of the main building is covered in a "dragonscale solar skin(Opens in a new window)," and combined with local wind farms, allows the campus to run on carbon-free energy 90% of the time. An integrated geothermal pile system is used to both heat and cool the campus, while also reducing the amount of water required for cooling by 90% (roughly five million gallons of water saved every year).
Google says the campus is the largest project certified by the International Living Future Institute(Opens in a new window) and aims to attain Water Petal certification, which requires the campus operate within the water balance of its location. The geothermal system should go a long way towards achieving that, along with nearby water retention ponds. Surrounding the building are 17.3 acres of natural areas, including wet meadows, a woodland, and a marsh.
As an office environment, Google decided to incorporate "biophilic design principles," which promotes a connection with nature. With that in mind, the building has a ventilation system using 100% outside air, every material used in the construction and decoration was evaluated using the Living Building Challenge Red List, and the design focused on natural daylight, being able to see the outdoors from every desk, and using greenery. Even the artwork used is from local artists and relates to Bay Area ecology.