Google has made waves in the greentech world with its multi-million dollar geothermal and solar power investments, its plans to build a wave-powered data center, and its proclamation that it wants to make clean energy cheaper than coal. Unbeknownst to some, the Internet behemoth's green plans extend inward as well. Below, we take a look at six sustainable initiatives at Google's main campus in Mountain View, California.
The Googleplex features 9,212 photovoltaic solar panels that generate 1.6 MW of electricity, or enough to power 1,000 homes. The panels produce 30% of all power for the complex during peak electricity demand.
Many buildings at the campus use cradle-to-cradle certified products, PV and formaldehyde-free materials, and fresh air ventilation. Building 43 has recycled carpets, sustainable wood, and blue jeans used as soundproofing material.
Those wacky Googlers rent goats from California Grazing to cut their grass. A group of 200 goats is periodically herded onto campus to graze on grass and fertilize the ground with poop. The herd costs the same as traditional lawnmowing, but emits much less carbon.
Google offers a fleet of eight plug-in vehicles for staffers to use during the day. These vehicles will presumably one day be integrated with the company's plug-in charging software.
The Google Shuttle
San Francisco residents often see Google shuttles tooling around town in the morning and afternoon, but the Bayer buses aren't just a plush, wi-fi ready way for staffers to get to work. They're also powered by B20 biodiesel. And Googlers who choose to walk or bike instead get to donate cash to the charities of their choice.
Many of Google's on-campus cafes use local and organic foods. Cafe 150 goes one step further, sourcing everything from within a 150-mile radius. Disposable cutlery, plates, and organic waste are also composted.