The energy already embodied in the built environment is a precious unnatural resource. It’s time to start treating it like one.
At its Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, Google has what is arguably one of the most sustainable corporate campuses in America. It has a new million-square-foot complex on a 42-acre landscape, featuring monumental futuristic buildings from Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and British designer Thomas Heatherwick. But these places are not the same place. Although the new campus has no doubt been developed with a sense of environmental duty, the radically sustainable campus is the one next door, which Google has been using since 2003. Foreseeably—and fortunately—they’ll go on using it. Built in 1994, it was once the corporate home of an earlier Palo Alto technology firm, Silicon Graphics.