Tag Archives: Sustainability

Bay View is open — the first campus built by Google

After breaking ground in 2017, our Bay View campus officially opened to Googlers and our Charleston East project is in the final phase of construction. This marks the first time we developed one of our own major campuses, and the process gave us the chance to rethink the very idea of an office.

As we celebrate the opening of Bay View — an all-electric, net water positive campus with the largest geothermal installation in North America — here’s a look at how we applied human-centered and sustainable design to the workplace.

Designing an adaptable and healthy workplace

The design of both projects began with a deep dive into what powers Google: our people. We then designed out from there, prioritizing the experience of the people in the building over the exterior form.

After talking to Googlers about what they need from a workplace, we found that they’re happy, productive and creative when they come together in teams, but need spaces that are buffered from sound and movement to get deep-focus work done. So we designed team spaces on the upper level and gathering spaces below to separate focus and collaboration areas — with easy access between both. The upper floor is broken down into smaller neighborhoods separated by courtyards and connected via ramps that gradually rise as you move to the center of the building. This variation in the floor plate gives teams a designated area that changes with their needs, while keeping them close to their larger work community. The result is a building where you can feel connected to people — whether they’re in your larger organization of 2,000 people, your team of 50 people or your immediate working group of 10 people.

The focus on people carried into the careful attention we paid to elements you can see and feel — like materials, daylight, air quality, thermal comfort and acoustics. Here’s how this shows up throughout the campus:

  • The campus incorporates biophilic design principles — like greenery, natural daylight and outdoor views from every desk — to improve the health and wellbeing of those inside. Clerestory windows modulate direct light onto desks with automated window shades that open and close throughout the day.
  • The ventilation system uses 100% outside air — a remarkable achievement when you consider that a typical system only uses around 20-30% of outside air.
  • To create the healthiest environment possible, we vetted thousands of building products and materials to remove toxins. Everything from carpet tiles, paints, piping, plywood and furniture were evaluated using the Living Building Challenge Red List as a framework.
  • Artwork from local artists through Google's Artist In Residence program are a part of the courtyards. The artwork relates to Bay Area ecology and helps with wayfinding in the building.

Finally, we designed a building that can evolve as the way we work changes. With a distributed workforce, an office needs to create harmony between those who are in the office and those who are elsewhere. The flexible nature of the focus and collaboration spaces at Bay View is just one way to accommodate these changes. I truly believe these buildings will keep up as we introduce new spaces to improve hybrid work.

Taking green building to a new scale

To deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.

The campus is also on track to be the largest project certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) under any of their programs, at any certification level. As part of ILFI’s Living Building Challenge, we’re targeting a Water Petal certification, meaning the site is net-positive with all non-potable water demands being met using the recycled water generated on site. Above-ground ponds that gather rainwater year round and a building wastewater treatment system serve as water sources for cooling towers, flushing toilets and irrigating the landscape. This is a big step toward delivering on our commitment to replenish 120% of the water we consume by 2030.

It doesn’t stop there. Bay View is an example of an all-electric campus and shows what’s possible in regenerative building. Here’s how:

  • The two kitchens that serve seven cafes are equipped with electric equipment rather than gas — a template for fully carbon-free cafes and kitchens.
  • There are 17.3 acres of high-value natural areas — including wet meadows, woodlands and a marsh — that are designed to reestablish native landscapes and rehabilitate Bay Area wetlands. Something that’s especially important as Bay View sits close to the San Francisco Bay.
  • The water retention ponds not only collect water for reuse, but also provide nature restoration, sea level rise protection, and access to the beauty of natural wetlands. New willow groves along the stormwater ponds provide resources for wildlife.
  • The integrated geothermal pile system will help heat and cool the campus. The massive geoexchange field is integrated into the structural system, reducing the amount of water typically used for cooling by 90% — that’s equal to five million gallons of water annually.

Sharing what we’ve learned

Our goal was to push the limits on what an office building could be — not just for the benefit of Googlers, but for the wider community and industry. The Bay View campus can adapt to changing workplace needs so our offices remain vibrant for decades to come. We even wrote a book about these projects that we hope inspires others to build more sustainable places that can benefit people and the planet. You can learn more about our journey at g.co/realestate/bayview.

Take a bite out of these scrappy recipes from Google chefs

There’s been an uptick in home-cooked meals in my life over the past couple of years. (Quarantine cooking, anyone?) As my cooking increased, so did the food scraps. And while using my trusty compost bin has kept most of my unused food from heading to the landfill, I’ve made it a goal to get more scrappy with my cooking to cut back on food waste.

Finding creative ways to reduce food waste is something that teams at Google have been thinking about for years — especially with its recent pledges to cut food waste in half for each Googler and send zero food waste to the landfill by 2025. If they can figure out how to work with suppliers, chefs and Googlers to reduce food waste across offices in 170 cities — surely they could help me do the same in my kitchen. So for Stop Food Waste Day, I chatted with the chef behind Google’s food program, Michael Kann, to hear what Google is doing to cut back on food waste and learn tricks the rest of us can adopt at home — including scrappy recipes straight from Google’s kitchens!

Before you joined Google as the Global Culinary Strategy & Development Lead, your career spanned everything from working as a chef and training chefs to feeding entire student bodies at universities and airline passengers at cruising altitude. How have you thought about food waste in all these roles?

Food waste is a top focus for chefs — whether it’s because of the cost of goods or the environmental impact — and it’s something we take personally. There are techniques that culinary professionals use to reduce food waste no matter how many people they’re cooking for — everything from using as much of the product as possible during prep to coming up with inventive recipes that make the most of ingredients.

At Google, my focus is on infusing these strategies across our cafes and suppliers. My team and I also look at how technology — like Leanpath which helps chefs track what food is going to waste — can help our cafes reduce food waste.

For the home chefs, what tricks and tips can minimize our personal food waste?

Careful planning, prep and organization are the most important steps in reducing waste at home.

Plan out what you are making for the week so you buy only the ingredients you need, and leave days open for leftovers. When it comes to prepping the food, consider how you can do so in a way that maximizes how much of the piece of produce you use. For example, people often cut the entire top off a tomato instead of coring it. If you core it first, you can use the slices for dishes like sandwiches, and the rounded ends can be diced and made into something like salsa.

Get organized with how you store leftovers and new groceries. The first-in, first-out (FIFO) organization system used in most professional kitchens works great at home. First, label or mentally keep track of leftovers and find the expiration date on groceries. Then keep the items that expire first in front, so you’re more likely to grab them and use them.

Now for the tasty part, what are your favorite recipes that feature commonly scrapped foods as ingredients?

Stocks, stocks, and more stocks. Making vegetable stock is a great use of what might otherwise be wasted — like carrots nubs or celery ends. But never use the skins of carrots or onions — it will make your stock bitter.

Broccoli florets are a highly desired vegetable — when I worked at a university it was the most eaten vegetable. But it’s important to plan the menu for the rest of the plant that’s often forgotten: the broccoli stalk. A broccoli soup is a go-to standard, but I also enjoy a great broccoli slaw. This Broccoli Stalk Salad recipe — from Dana Gunders, a national expert and strategic advisor for food waste reduction and author of Waste Free Kitchen Handbook — makes a tasty slaw simply from shredding broccoli stems and carrots. You can also check out her [email protected] for a kitchen demo and more tips.

On the more creative side, you can pickle things you'd typically toss — like cantaloupe rinds. Just cut them into strips, pickle them, and add them as a fun accouterment to any meal.

Vegetable Stock


Makes 1 gallon

Uses up: Leek tops, celery ends, herb stems, onion bits, ends of zucchini or summer squash

Using vegetable trims in stock is a great way to capture every last bit of goodness from the food you’ve brought into your home. With that said, some things make a stock bitter, sulfuric or just down right bad. So while I recommend using the trim of vegetables, it’s not the same as just throwing everything in the pot.


Key things to think about

  • You can freeze your trimmings to build up enough for a batch of stock. Freezing makes the texture mushy, but traps the nutrients which is what you really want.
  • Avoid peels, especially onions and carrots. The peel is a protective barrier for the plant and is often bitter. Adding these to your stock will intensify the bitterness.
  • Be careful with cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, etc.). Adding some may give a flavor you desire, but too many can be overwhelming. Note that the longer these items cook, the more sulfur taste and smell. This is why boiled cabbage smells so bad the longer you cook it, so brief is key here.
  • If an item is not viable to be eaten, don’t add it to your stock. For example, if an onion has a rotten side, cut out the rot and use the good parts. Watch your refrigerator and use the items before they turn.
  • Wash the dirt off of everything before adding to the pot. We want flavor, not grit.
  • The broth will last 5-7 days refrigerated or can be frozen.

Ingredients

3-4 pounds of mixed vegetables using the guidelines above

1 medium onion

2 carrots (peeled)

2 ribs of celery

3 bay leaves

5 peppercorn (more or less depending on your preference)

Herb stems

1 gallon cold water


Preparation

  • Put everything in a pot
  • Start from cold, then bring to a simmer (to remain at or just below the boiling point, usually forming tiny bubbles with a low, murmuring sound)
  • Simmer for 45 minutes
  • Strain through a sieve
  • Chill strained broth

Broccoli Stalk Salad

Makes 5 servings

Uses up: Broccoli stalks, avocados, carrots

For many of us, the stalks are the evil half of broccoli. We toss them away in favor of their soft-headed florets. But this salad depends on the stalks for extra crunch, so save them! Adding in creamy avocados and carrots makes the dish creamy and sweet. Make a chopped salad or grate all but the avocado for more of a slaw effect.


Ingredients

For the dressing

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Pepper to taste

For the salad

3 or 4 large broccoli stalks (not the florets!), peeled and cut into thin medallions

½ to 1 avocado, cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 carrot, peeled into long, thin strips

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced 

1 tablespoon fresh basil or cilantro as garnish (optional)


Preparation

  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper
  • In a medium bowl, combine salad ingredients
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables
  • Let sit for 30 minutes before eating, allowing the broccoli to soften
  • Serve at room temperature with a few extra leaves of basil or cilantro scattered on top

Quick Pickled Cantaloupe Rinds

Makes 3 quarts

Uses up: Cantaloupe rinds

Pickling is an age-old process that helps make harder to eat items more consumable. Melon rinds offer a terrific texture when pickled and help make something alluring out of what would otherwise be tossed into the compost.


Key things to think about

  • Wash the melon before trimming.
  • Do not use any part of the rind that has soft spots.
  • Add dried peppers to spice it up, and play with the spices to find the balance you prefer.
  • Use quart mason jars, while this will not be truly “canned” there will be temperature states that need robust strength.
  • Use the wide mouth jars for ease of filling and emptying.
  • The rinds will last for 2-3 weeks.

Ingredients

The rind from 1 small cantaloupe, thinly sliced into 1-inch strips that fit vertically into a mason jar

For the pickling liquid

2 cups white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 thumb ginger, sliced thin

5 each black peppercorns

1 pinch red pepper flakes (more or less based on preference)

5-6 each allspice (whole)


Preparation

  • Tightly pack cantaloupe strips into mason jars
  • Bring pickling liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer until sugar has dissolved
  • Pour directly into jars with cantaloupe rinds, be sure that the mason jars are at room temperature or even slightly warm (if they are cold they may crack)
  • Tightly cover with lids and allow to cool on the counter for 1 hour
  • Place in refrigerator

Meet 11 startups working to combat climate change

We believe that technology and entrepreneurship can help avert the world’s climate crisis. Startup founders are using tools — from machine learning to mobile platforms to large scale data processing — to accelerate the change to a low-carbon economy. As part ofGoogle’s commitment to address climate change, we’ll continue to invest in the technologists and entrepreneurs who are working to build climate solutions.

So this Earth Day, we’re announcing the second Google for Startups Accelerator: Climate Change cohort. This ten-week program consists of intensive workshops and expert mentorship designed to help growth-stage, sustainability-focused startups learn technical, product and leadership best practices. Meet the 11 selected startups using technology to better our planet:

  • AmpUpin Cupertino, California: AmpUp is an electric vehicle (EV) software company and network provider that helps drivers, hosts, and fleets to charge stress-free.
  • Carbon Limitin Boca Raton, Florida: Carbon Limit transforms concrete into a CO2 sponge with green cement nanotechnology, turning roads and buildings into permanent CO2 solutions.
  • ChargeNet Stationsin Los Angeles, California: ChargeNet Stations aims to make charging accessible and convenient in all communities, preventing greenhouse gas emissions through use of PV + storage.
  • ChargerHelp!In Los Angeles, California: ChargerHelp! provides on-demand repair of electric vehicle charging stations, while also building out local workforces, removing barriers and creating economic mobility within all communities.
  • CO-Zin Boulder, Colorado: CO-Z accelerates electricity decarbonization and empowers renters, homeowners and businesses with advanced control, automated savings and power failure protection.
  • Community Energy Labsin Portland, Oregon: Community Energy Labs uses artificial intelligence to make smart energy management and decarbonization both accessible and affordable for community building owners.
  • Moment Energyin Vancouver, British Columbia: Moment Energy repurposes retired electric vehicle (EV) batteries to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy storage.
  • Mi Terroin City of Industry, California: Mi Terro is a synthetic biology and advanced material company that creates home compostable, plastic-alternative biomaterials made from plant-based agricultural waste.
  • Nithioin Washington, DC: Nithio is an AI-driven platform for clean energy investment that standardizes credit risk to catalyze capital to address climate change and achieve universal energy access.
  • Re Companyin New York City, New York: Re Company is a reusable packaging subscription service that supplies reuse systems with optimally designed containers and cycles them back into the supply chain at end of life.
  • Understoryin Pacific Grove, California: Understory rapidly monitors and quantifies discrete landscape changes to mitigate the effects of environmental change and deliver actionable information for land management, habitat conservation and climate risk assessment.

When the program kicks off this summer, startups will receive mentoring and technical support tailored to their business through a mix of one-to-one and one-to-many learning sessions, both remotely and in-person, from Google engineers and external experts. Stay tuned on Google for Startups social channels to see their experience unfold over the next three months.

Learn more about Google for Startups Accelerator here, and the latest on Google’s commitment to sustainability here.

Data Commons: Making sustainability data accessible

At Google, we believe that giving everyone easy access to data can be revolutionary — especially when it comes to solving the world’s most pressing problems like climate change.

Take Google Maps for example. Before Google Maps, information — like satellite imagery, maps of roads and information about businesses — was found in different places. Google Maps brings all this helpful information together, so people can use it not only to navigate and explore the world with ease, but also to find solutions to problems facing their communities. We’ve seen people use Google Maps to help do everything from giving communities access to emergency food services to fighting the opioid crisis by highlighting drug drop-off centers.

Despite the critical urgency to combat the effects of climate change, finding data around sustainability is where mapping data was 15 years ago. It’s fragmented across thousands of silos, in a cacophony of schemas, and across a multitude of databases. In 2017, we started the Data Commons project to organize all this data to create standardized, universal access for consumers, journalists, policymakers and researchers. Today, Data Commons is one of the world's largest Knowledge Graphs on sustainability, spanning more than 100 new sources of data about climate, health, food, crops, shelter, emissions and more.

The graph contains nearly 3 billion time series across over 100,000 variables about 2.9 million places. Anyone can access, explore and understand this data using Google Search or our free dashboards and visualization tools. Or they can use our open and free APIs to build new tools based on this data. For enterprise customers, this data is available via Data Commons on the BigQuery Analytics Hub.

Illustration showing connecting dots and arrows that represent the data sources — including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Census Bureau, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, World Bank and India Water Resources Information System.

The Data Commons Knowledge Graph is a single knowledge graph that includes more than 100 sources of sustainability data and more.

Connecting the dots on climate data

The effects of climate change are going to worsen food insecurity, health outcomes, economic inequities and other social issues. There is a dire need to create data-driven solutions that can mitigate these effects so we can take collective action. We’re working closely with the broader community — including universities, nonprofits and researchers — to use Data Commons to uncover insights and create solutions. Take a look at some of the work being done:

  • Temperature and health: Professor Arun Majumdar of Stanford University, who was also the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), is using Data Commons to look at the intersection of temperature and human health. When humidity and temperature reach a critical threshold, the human body can no longer regulate its temperature. Arun and his team are identifying which places will reach this critical threshold first. With this information, local governments can take proactive steps to mitigate these effects, like building infrastructure that provides cooling to communities.
  • Water for everyone: Professor Balaraman Ravindran of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras is working with Data Commons to add India-based data on water quality. With this data, communities can get a better understanding of water use, quality, availability and more.
  • Understanding food scarcity challenges: Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 member food banks serving tens of millions of people in need in the United States. Data from their annual Map the Meal Gap studyis accessible in Feeding America Data Commons so anyone can explore food security and how it intersects with variables like health, climate and education. For Feeding America, this data allows them to quickly identify U.S. locations where food insecurity is most exacerbated by other root causes of disparities and hardship.

Our quest to organize the world’s sustainability information

Climate change is a defining crisis of our time, but together we have the potential to curb its effects. At Google one of the ways we can continue to contribute to solving it is through our mission to organize information and make it easily accessible. Data Commons’ data and code is open source so anyone can use it, and it’s built collaboratively with the global community. Join us in using Data Commons to tackle climate change, and see other progress we’ve made toward the sustainability commitments we made as part of our third decade of climate action.

For Earth Day, an update on our commitments

In 2020, as part of our third decade of climate action, we established a bold set of goals to help build a carbon-free future for everyone. Today on Earth Day, we’re sharing recent progress we’ve made including new investments to help partners address climate change, product updates that allow everyone to make sustainable choices and highlights from our journey to net zero.

Helping our partners address climate change

To provide deeper insights into climate change data — like increased food insecurity, the nexus of health and climate and extreme weather events — we need to enable everyone to create solutions. We’ve continued to provide organizations, policymakers, researchers and more with the data, technology and resources they need to address climate change. Today we announced that Data Commons — our open-source platform built to organize public data and enable standardized, universal access to anyone — is now one of the world's largest knowledge graphs on sustainability. Data Commons has grown to include more than 100 data sources about the climate, health, food, crops, shelter, emissions and more.

Other initiatives we’ve recently announced to help partners include:

  • A Google.org Sustainability Seed Fund in Asia Pacific: This new $6 million fund provides organizations in areas experiencing the brunt of climate change with additional resources to address issues like air quality, water preservation and renewable energy access.
  • Our research shows, 75% of companies think technology will play a key role in their ability to reach sustainability goals: Our recent Google Cloud survey of nearly 1,500 executives across 16 countries found that sustainability tops business priorities, but few business leaders know how to begin or measure impact.
  • Helping build a free carbon calculator for businesses: For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) finding the resources to measure and manage emissions is challenging. We partnered with the Sweden-based company Normative to provide funding and support to develop a free Business Carbon Calculator that is now available through the UN Race to Zero backed SME Climate Hub.

Helping everyone make more sustainable choices

Individuals are also looking for ways to take care of the planet. We’ve been looking at building more ways for our products to give people access to the information and tools needed to make more sustainable choices.

Today, when you go to Google.com, you’ll see timelapse imagery from Google Earth Timelapse and other environmental organizations that illustrates the effects of climate change. This is part of our ongoing efforts to spotlight the impact of climate disasters and help people learn what actions they can take to minimize the effects. Last October, we partnered with the United Nations to make it easier for people to find climate change information. When you search for ‘climate change’ in certain languages, you’ll see information panels and visuals on the causes and effects of climate change and individual actions they can take to live more sustainably. This was already available in English, French and Spanish, and today we expanded to include Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Thai and Vietnamese.

Here are more ways our products are helping people make sustainable choices:

  • Saving energy with Nest: Since Nest launched its first smart thermostat over ten years ago, it has helped people save nearly 100 billion kilowatt-hours of energy — that’s enough energy to light up the entire planet for ten days! Now compatible Nest thermostats can do even more with Nest Renew, a thermostat service announced last year in the U.S. When Nest Renew customers take actions at home that save energy, they earn ‘Leafs’. Once customers reach Leaf milestones, they can vote to direct funds to one of our Energy Impact Program partners, Elevate and GRID Alternatives. These funds have gone toward energy-efficient upgrades to affordable housing in Chicago and the expansion of solar installation programs in California. Nest Renew is currently available in early preview, sign up to join the waitlist.
  • More sustainable transportation options: Over ten years ago, cycling directions came to Google Maps. Today, it’s available in over 30 countries. In 2021 alone we added over 170,000 kilometers of bike lanes and bikeable roads, bringing more options to people looking for sustainable transportation alternatives.

Building a carbon-free future at Google

Lastly, we’ve always believed that to enable others we need to be leaders in the way we address our impact on the planet. In October, we set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions across all of our operations and value chain, including our consumer hardware products, by 2030. We aim to reduce the majority of our emissions (versus our 2019 baseline) before 2030, and plan to invest in nature-based and technology-based carbon removal solutions to neutralize our remaining emissions.

We’ve recently shared more on how we’re driving toward net zero:

  • 24/7 carbon-free energy priorities: For emissions associated with powering our data centers and offices, we have an ambitious goal to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. This will require new technology to help with grid decarbonization, like our first-ever battery-based system for backup power at a hyperscale data center that is now operational in Belgium. Additionally, governments will need policies that speed up the transition to clean energy. Last week, we published a roadmap outlining policy priorities ​​that accelerate the decarbonization of electricity grids across the world and our commitment to advancing them.
  • Investing in carbon removals and carbon markets innovation: Beyond our value chain, we’ll build on our leadership in high-impact methane reduction and destruction projects. We’ll also invest in emerging companies developing technology-based and nature-based carbon removal solutions, like our recent $200 million limited partnership in Frontier. And we will help strengthen carbon markets through our Google.org contribution to Gold Standard’s digitization efforts and our $2 million contribution to the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Markets.

We all have to act now and act together if we’re going to avert the worst effects of climate change. At Google, one of the most powerful things we can do is build technology that allows us, partners and individuals to take meaningful action. We plan to continue this critical work and do what we can to protect the planet.

The city using Google tools for environmental education

Since launching Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) in 2018, my team and I have seen how data can help local governments develop relevant climate plans.

EIE is a free tool designed to help measure emission sources and identify strategies to reduce emissions. In Pune City, India, the local government has used data from EIE to better analyze trip emissions. In Australia, Ironbark Sustainability and Beyond Zero Emissions have developed Snapshot Climate, a community climate tool that incorporates EIE transportation and emissions data — and shares it with local councils and other organizations across the country.

So far, over 320 cities worldwide have made their data available for the public to view through the platform — including West Nusa Tenggara, in Indonesia, the first place in Southeast Asia to adopt EIE.

While we have seen how EIE has helped cities shape their efforts to reduce emissions using data, that’s not the only benefit that the tool offers. Cities like Yokohama in Japan are also using it to educate their citizens.

I wanted to learn more about this initiative — so in the lead-up to Earth Day this week, I sat down with Hiroki Miyajima, the Executive Director of the General Affairs Department in the International Affairs Bureau of the City of Yokohama.

Hiroki-san, it’s wonderful to know that Yokohama City uses Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE). What motivated the city to use this tool?

I was introduced to EIE back in 2020 and found it to be an excellent tool with visual capabilities and accessible simulation features for us to understand our city better. As we already had data on greenhouse gas emissions, I saw the tool as a great way to build awareness around sustainability among our citizens.

Households in Yokohama generate about 25% of our current CO2 emissions. With our mayor having announced a goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030, we need to encourage our citizens to change their behavior as we work towards decarbonization. That starts with education, in particular for children and young people: our next generation. We’ve begun incorporating EIE into education programs from junior high school to universities. By exploring EIE, these students can visualize and better understand the impacts of CO2 emissions.

A male student with a mask on, looking at the Environmental Insights Explorer on his computer.

A student using the Environmental Insights Explorer in class.

What impact have you seen since the education programs have rolled out?

I’ve heard several anecdotal stories from teachers. After attending one class, a junior high school student commented that he would make sure to turn off unnecessary electricity if he saw no one using the classroom. Another student said he plans to incorporate energy-saving ideas at home and share what he learns with his parents.

At universities, we see student teams incorporating EIE data into their projects. For instance, one group created a report on promoting the use of electric vehicles and shared their presentation at an international conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I’m incredibly encouraged knowing that our younger generation cares about their city and this planet. We can motivate them to take practical action through education, no matter how big or small they are. We look forward to bringing EIE to more institutions.

Why should other cities consider getting on board in using EIE with city planning?

We’ve been collaborating and supporting urban development projects with emerging cities in Southeast Asia. We’ve noticed that many of these cities have not had the chance to calculate the amount of GHG emissions they generate. One reason for this is that calculating emissions can be time-consuming and requires significant funding. However, using EIE, it’s possible to get insightful data efficiently and effectively.

If you’re part of a local government and interested in what EIE can do for your community, fill out this formto get in touch with our team, or visit our website.

A space for connection in King’s Cross

Once at the heart of the industrial revolution, today London's King’s Cross is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. We’re proud to be part of this community, where thousands of Googlers work on products like Android and Google Business Profile that people around the world use.

We believe in the area’s future growth and potential, which is why it’s so exciting to see our newest development take shape. We’re partnering on our first ground-up development in EMEA with British designer Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels Group. When finished, our new location will include more than one million square feet of office and ground-floor retail space, and it will be a resource not just for Googlers but Londoners, too. We want the spaces and experiences we offer to create opportunity for local people and businesses, and contribute to the culture of entrepreneurship and vibrancy of the area.

A space curated by — and for — the local community

One of the ways our ambition will come to life is via our office’s ground floor, which runs along King’s Boulevard. To ensure it meets the needs of our local area, we’re listening to residents’ and small businesses’ views and ideas through partnerships with organisations like Camden Giving, which works to end poverty and inequality in Camden, and local media startup Camdenist. We’ll continue this work to ensure the place we create is relevant and meaningful, and has a positive local impact, complementing our wider community outreach in the area.

A computer generated image showing the ground floor of Google’s new building on King’s Boulevard, with a mix of retail and office spaces, several people are pictured in the foreground.

A visualisation of King’s Boulevard featuring a mix of different shops and spaces

A mix of local makers and established and growing brands

We recently submitted plans for a redesigned ground-floor space that will include more than 250 metres of shop fronts and a flexible space for events and community use. Our ambition is to create a lively, welcoming boulevard that connects communities to an ecosystem of local makers, purpose-driven retailers, and public activities.

We plan to offer the shop units to a mix of established and growing brands, and provide support to help great ideas grow. Alongside the individual retail units, a market hall will offer a launchpad for small businesses, while a community, education and event space will host a changing programme of events all year round.

The new ground floor designs will create a more inviting, creative public space, with a series of playful tilting timber portals and varied shop fronts that each tenant can customise. The designs also incorporate more places for the public to come together — something we’ve heard is important to local residents.

A computer generated image showing the roof of Google’s new building on King’s Boulevard, workers are pictured on the terrace and the roof itself is lined with trees and plants.

Visualisation of the roof of our newest building in King’s Cross.

A sustainable and flexible workplace

We believe in the value of coming together in person to collaborate, which is why we’re continuing to invest in our offices around the world. As we transition to flexible, hybrid work, we’re introducing new workplace technologies and collaboration spaces to keep our teams connected wherever they’re working.

We’re also emphasising sustainability in all aspects of the building’s design as we work towards a carbon-free future. The kitchens and onsite equipment will be fully electric, which will allow us to track hourly energy usage and match this with local renewable energy. A system of 13,500 interconnected devices around the office will improve energy efficiency in real time, while solar shading will help regulate the building’s temperature by reducing glare from the sun. We’ve prioritised low-carbon, local materials in the construction and interior design to reduce the carbon impact of our building by 20%.

We’ll share the lessons we learn to help other businesses reduce their carbon impact too, building on our partnerships with Camden Clean Air, the Knowledge Quarter and other local groups.

As well as offering a quiet green space for breaks during the work day, a densely planted outdoor roof garden, with a rainwater irrigation system, will provide a habitat for protected species of bats and birds. We’re collaborating with the London Wildlife Trust and the borough of Camden as part of a wider initiative to protect our native species and improve local biodiversity.

How Google supports the local community today

We’re proud to partner with more than 60 grassroots charities across Camden, providing mentoring, skills training and funding to support their work. In the past two years we’ve provided virtual work experience for more than 200 students in Camden schools, and supported over a thousand local residents impacted by COVID with our Community Help Kit. We’ve built strong connections and gained incredible insights from these programmes which, together, bring the voice of local residents and businesses into our long-term plans.

Google’s community-led mentoring really had a profound effect on me and totally changed my approach to building the brand of Comic Mania. I honestly don't think I could have got better support even if I paid for it. Simone Haynes
Founder of ComicMania, a small NGO based in Camden

Our commitment to the U.K.

Our ongoing work on our King's Cross campus along with our $1 billion investment in our London Central Saint Giles office demonstrates our long-term commitment to the U.K. We‘ll keep working hard to ensure we play a meaningful role in the cities we call home.

Coming soon: More ways to repair your Pixel phone

We want you to have a great experience with your Pixel phone, and that includes easy access to high-quality and safe device repair if your phone is ever damaged. That’s why we’re working with iFixit to make it easier for independent repair professionals and skilled consumers with the relevant technical experience to access the genuine Google parts they need to repair Pixel phones.

Starting later this year, genuine Pixel spare parts will be available for purchase at ifixit.com for Pixel 2 through Pixel 6 Pro, as well as future Pixel models, in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and EU countries where Pixel is available. The full range of spare parts for common Pixel phone repairs — things like batteries, replacement displays, cameras and more — will be available either individually or in iFixit Fix Kits, which include tools like screwdriver bits and spudgers.

Easier, more accessible repairs

If you don’t want to make repairs yourself and would prefer professional help, you can always take your phone somewhere local to have it quickly and affordably repaired by an authorized technical expert. We already partner with independent repair providers like uBreakiFix, which has more than 750 locations across the U.S. and Canada supporting in-warranty and out-of-warranty Pixel repairs. We have similar partnerships with walk-in support providers in Canada, Germany, Japan and the U.K., with more to come. Pixel repair options are available in all countries where we sell Pixel phones.

We evaluate each new Pixel model on how easy it is to repair so we can reduce the effort, tools, parts and materials involved in the repair process. We also make training, documentation, tools and spare parts available to our authorized repair partners, and we plan on expanding this availability in the future.

We’re taking steps to expand repair options for other devices, too. We recently partnered with companies like Acer and Lenovo to launch the Chromebook repair program, helping schools find information about repairable Chromebooks and develop in-house repair programs. We also introduced Chrome OS Flex, which lets education and enterprise users repurpose old Mac or PC devices to run a version of Chrome OS alongside their Chromebook fleet. This helps users save on hardware costs, effectively recycle unused devices and manage their fleet sustainably and efficiently.

Helping you make sustainable choices

Improving repairability is an important way to help extend the life and usefulness of your phone. And it’s just one of several steps we’re taking to help you make more sustainable choices. One way we’re working toward our hardware sustainability commitments is by making sure our products can be sustainable from the start — and we incorporate that across our operations.

For example, starting in 2022, 100% of Google hardware products will include recycled materials with a drive to maximize recycled content wherever possible. Additionally, we’re enabling 100% carbon-neutral shipments of Google hardware products to and from our direct customers, as well as working to achieve Zero Waste to landfill certification in 2022 and plastic-free packaging by 2025.

To help older devices work like new and last longer, we’re committed to at least five years of security updates for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and at least five years of automatic security updates for Nest-connected home devices from the date we start selling them on the U.S. Google Store. We’re also providing quarterly software Feature Drops for Pixel phones, updates for Nest products and extended software updates for Chromebooks.

You also have options if you’re not sure what to do with your phone when you don’t want it anymore. In select countries, our trade-in program accepts phones from a variety of major consumer electronics brands, so you can earn credit rewards for a new Pixel and rest assured that your old phone is responsibly recycled or reused. And with our recycling program, you can mail us your old or unused devices and we’ll responsibly recycle them for you. We make efforts to reclaim or recycle parts from used or returned devices, so that they don’t end up in landfills. We’re also always researching other safe and responsible ways to help you dispose of your old and outdated electronics.

When we built the first Pixel phone just five years ago, we made a commitment to design our hardware products in a way that’s sustainable and puts our customers first. There’s more to do, including expanding our repair network and improving repairability across our products. We look forward to sharing more as we make progress on this promise.

The power of recycling: Turning searches into store visits

Recycling plays a crucial role in preserving the future of our planet — something people using Google recognize. “Recycling” has become one of the most popular Search topics, and supporting eco-conscious brands is top of mind for the 82% of consumers who have deemed sustainability a top priority.

Recycling made simpler

Businesses across the world are stepping up when it comes to making recycling more accessible for their community, but until now people looking to recycle locally have faced difficulties when identifying which stores recycle what and where.

To solve that problem, we’ve introduced the new recycling attribute that merchants can add to their Business Profiles — making it easier than ever for people to find nearby recycling points on Search and Maps.

By adding the new recycling attribute to Business Profiles, local storefronts and shops can show the recycling services they offer in just a few clicks — whether it’s for plastic bottles, electronics or glass bottles. As a result, people looking for something like “battery recycling near me” can more easily pinpoint local businesses on Search with the in-store recycling they need. Adding this information to the Business Profile, ultimately, can help these businesses to stand out.

A phone shows someone typing 'clothing recycling near me' and a listing of R:evolve comes up

Altering hems and habits: R:evolve Recycle

One business that is already using the attribute is R:Evolve Recycle, a clothing swap shop in Glasgow, Scotland. Back in 2015, a group of volunteers from South Lanarkshire, Scotland were inspired to open their first charity shop after hearing the sobering statistic that an estimated 350,000 tonnes of used clothes go to landfills in the UK each year3 . Today, customers at R:Evolve Recycle can exchange their old clothes for previously donated items, making it easier for them to make more sustainable choices.

The R:evolve Recycle team has since opened two more stores in and around Glasgow. “People are responding positively to what we're doing,” says Anne-Marie Clements, R:evolve’s volunteer development officer.

Recently, Anne-Marie updated R:evolve Recycle’s Business Profile on Google with the new recycling attribute, highlighting their business to more people actively looking for local fashion recycling services. Since opening their doors, R:evolve Recycle has prevented over 41,000 kilograms of clothes from going into landfills and saved an estimated 869.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide. ‘’Shoppers are starting to realize that you can’t just consume and then dump it somewhere else. They find us online, come into the shop and say ‘Okay, I get what you’re trying to do’, and for us that’s fantastic,” says Anne-Marie. “It really feels like we’re turning a corner and getting the next generation to think differently about the environmental impact their shopping habits can have.”

Want to help your business get discovered on Search and Maps? Learn more about Business Profile on Google, and follow these steps to add new attributes to your listing.

Taking the Living Building Challenge to the next level

When we design and build Google offices around the world, we strive to deliver on our commitment to sustainability. This means thinking about everything from reducing and diverting waste to cultivating healthy spaces and places to accelerating carbon-free energy strategies. It also means working with industry leaders to pave a path for others and push the boundary of what’s possible. The Living Building Challenge (LBC) by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is one of the most ambitious green building certifications in the world. Of the largest projects ever to pursue certification through ILFI, five are Google’s workplaces — including our newest office in Sunnyvale, California.

Our collaboration with ILFI started nearly 20 years ago when we set out to combat the “new office” smell from fresh carpet and paint. As a sustainability partner for Google, this was one of my first projects: to use better materials to create the healthiest possible indoor environment. We used LBC’s Red List as a guide for what chemicals to avoid in our building products. Beyond improving the health of our indoor spaces, we also paved the way for others to purchase healthier materials. Through our purchasing power we encouraged more manufacturers to create third-party healthy material labels for their products.

Since that first project, we’ve hit more milestones with buildings across the U.S.

In 2015, we took our focus on materials to the next level with our Chicago office renovation. The 1000 West Fulton Market office renovation included 237,000 square feet of office space to build out. We expanded the reach of our Red List scope and pursued the ILFI’s LBC Materials Petal Certification. To do so, our project team reviewed every building product that was installed, procured responsibly sourced lumber, and prioritized local trade partners.

Next up was our first ground-up developments: Charleston East and Bay View in Silicon Valley. At 1.1 million square feet, Bay View is set to open this year while Charleston East, at 600,000 square feet, is nearing completion. These two buildings allowed us to work with the LBC on a scale never done before.

And finally, our newest addition to Google’s Sunnyvale campus — 237 Moffett Park Drive (237 MPD) — aspires toward a different kind of moonshot: to be the largest renovation project and the third-largest project ever certified by ILFI in the world. With this 250,000-square-foot project we are pursuing the ILFI’s LBC Materials Petal Certification, and we’ve designed the project to achieve four of the seven Petals and an LEED v4 Platinum Certification.

The entrance to a long, window-filled building. The entryway says ‘237 MPD’.

The exterior of Google new Sunnyvale office, 237 MPD.

The building was originally developed in the 1960’s as a research and development facility for one of the world’s first mainframe and supercomputer firms. We honored that legacy of innovation by transforming the existing building into a workplace that embodies regenerative design.

There are many subtle and intentional design features that make 237 MPD an exceptional space. The integrated design team created Oculus, a huge penetration cut through the roof and structure of the building that floods the interior with natural light and views. Materials are given a second chance throughout the building — from still-functioning components of the original mechanical systems to roughly 300 interior doors made with veneer from oak trees salvaged from the Mendocino complex fires of 2018. In total, 3,400 tons of waste (or 91 percent of total waste generated) was diverted from the landfill. Beyond the building, the grounds were designed with wet meadows in low-lying areas and native oak trees on higher ground to echo the region’s historical ecology, offer habitat for wildlife and reduce the demand for water.

237 MPD also looks to the future with innovative sustainability systems. A total of 5,000 on-site solar panels cover 91 percent of annual estimated energy demand. Helios, an interactive light sculpture, illuminates the building's Net Zero Energy goals by showing the building’s live energy data. Furthermore, captured and stored rainwater reduces potable demand for toilet flushing by 30 percent and 100 percent of irrigation demand is met by municipally-supplied recycled water. All of these design features create a workplace that is regenerative and promotes well-being, underpinned by the industry's most rigorous sustainability certification.

Our work here isn't just about pursuing certification on bigger and bigger projects, it’s also about showcasing what is possible in regenerative building today as an inspiration to drive progress. In 2020, our 6 Pancras Square office in London became the first building in the world to be awarded a Zero Carbon certification, paving the way for a partnership between Google and ILFI to plan a volume approach to certification. In alignment to our aim to run our data centers and campuses on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, we're exploring how we can use the ILFI Zero Carbon certification efficiently and effectively across our real estate portfolio.

As we move forward, we’ll continue to approach our built environment as not simply a space for renovation, but also as an opportunity for regeneration.