Office buildings in Silicon Valley tend to make other office buildings look surprisingly small and shabby. Now, while there are few people that will say that got FOMO over an office, there is no doubt that Google’s newest campus in Mountain View, California is mighty nice and neat, even as office work itself remains up in the air.

The company officially opened its massive Bay View campus, which has been under construction since 2017, on Tuesday. The Silicon Valley stronghold is the first major campus that Google has developed on its own, and it definitely pulled out all the stops. In a blog post, David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president real estate and workplace services, said the campus was built with the goal of prioritising “the experience of the people in the building over the exterior form.”

Besides being people-centric, the building also takes the concept of an eco-friendly building to the next level, which is exactly what we need if we’re going to reign in the climate crisis.

A(nother) Gigantic Office for Googlers

Google is known for making a big splash with its offices and office culture, and its new Bay View campus is no different. The campus covers 42 acres and includes 20 acres of open space. According to Google, the Bay View complex spans 1.1 million square feet and consists of two office buildings, a 1,000-person event centre, and 240 “short-term employee accommodation units.” Accommodation units, in case you were wondering, are Google’s version of hotel rooms.

A Campus Powered by Dragonscale Solar Panels

Some of Bay View’s most remarkable features are its “Dragonscale” solar panels, which Google says are the first of their kind. The panels are textured, prismatic glass shingles with a unique coating. These shingles are unique because they trap light that escapes from the mainstream flat solar panels and reduce reflective glare, which can cause problems for drivers and pilots. The panels’ overlapping pattern led to the name Dragonscale.

Escaping California’s ‘Duck Curve’

Asim Tahir, Google’s district and renewable energy lead, has explained that Bay View’s Dragonscale solar panels will keep the building from contributing to California’s so-called “duck curve,” the increase in energy demand in the state that occurs in the evening after the amount of solar energy drops significantly because the sun goes down.

Tahir said that the panels, along with pavilion-style roof lines, are able to capture solar energy from multiple angles and will be able to generate power over an extended amount of time throughout the day.

The Water Is Eco-Friendly, Too

While Bay View’s solar panels are an obvious point of awe, Google has also implemented an impressive water system at the campus, too. Bay View is what the company calls “net water-positive,” which means that all of the non-potable water needed on-site is provided using recycled water generated and gathered by the campus.

Google explained that it managed this with above-ground ponds on the campus to gather rainwater. In addition, Bay View itself has a wastewater treatment system. Together, the ponds and wastewater treatment system provide water to cooling towers, toilets, and landscape irrigation.


Article originally published by Gizmodo

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