Google’s new Bay View campus is opening with significant and unique sustainability designs, including what it says is the largest integrated geothermal pile system in North America as well as the company’s distinctive dragonscale solar energy skin.
Those are part of other installations with an eye to sustainability at the 42-arce campus located in Mountain View, California. Some of those include being 100% electric, using carbon-free energy 90% of the time and being net water positive.
The geothermal pile system is integrated into the structural build of the campus and will help heat and cool the site without the use of fossil fuels while lowering emissions by nearly 50%, according to Google. The geo-exchange field reduces the amount of water typically needed for cooling by 90%, which is equal to 5 million gallons a year.
Geothermal energy piles use low-grade heat energy in the ground to provide heating and cooling to supported buildings, according to ScienceDirect. The heat is extracted from or injected into the ground and flows through energy loops.
The dragonscale solar skin, which was named after its textured design, allows the system to capture sunlight from multiple angles and can generate power during an extended amount of daylight hours. It is integrated into the design of the campus and has a capacity of nearly 7 megawatts of renewable energy, which will generate nearly 40% of the site’s overall energy.
Google, which is also part of a group investing $925 million toward carbon removal, has a goal of operating on carbon free energy by 2030.
As part of the net positive water target, the Google campus has installed above-ground ponds to gather rainwater and has a building wastewater treatment system to help provide water for cooling, restrooms and irrigation, among other uses. Google says it is committed to replenishing 120% of the water it consumes by 2030, and all non-potable water demands at the site will be met using recycled water.
The campus totals 1.1 million square feet with two office buildings, an event center, 240 short-term employee accommodation units and 20 acres of open space. Of that there are 17.3 acres of natural areas that Google says are part of its efforts to reestablish essential habitat in the area. Bay View is also using a ventilation system that uses 100% outside air.
The tech company is focused on increasing the sustainability of its buildings and last month revealed plans to invest $9.5 billion in data centers and office buildings across the United States. Google has invested more than $37 billion in facilities over the past five years.
Google expects the Bay View campus to achieve LEED-NC v4 Platinum certification and become the largest facility to attain the International Living Future Institute LBC Water Petal Certification.