Google Bay View


Mountain View, California, United States

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Google’s new Bay View campus, built to the highest design and sustainability standards. 

Of the 42-acre site, there are 20 acres of open space, two office buildings, a 1,000-person event space, and 240 short-term employee accommodation units. Bay View is the largest LEED BD+C v4 NC Platinum-certified project in the world and is expected to be the largest facility to attain the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Living Building Challenge (LBC) Water Petal certification.  

Bay View's immediate adjacency to the San Francisco Bay makes water an important focus for this project. Bay View will meet the LBC's definition of net positive water, and all of the site’s non-potable water demands will be met using the recycled water we generate onsite. We’ve also engineered stormwater management ponds, where the water can be drawn down, treated, and combined with treated wastewater to create a sustainable, onsite source of non-potable water.  

When it comes to electricity, Bay View is a 100% electric building where even the kitchens are electric to decrease carbon emissions. Bay View will be powered in part by a first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin, which has the capacity to generate 40% of its annual electricity.  

Combined with power from nearby wind farms, Bay View will be one of Google’s first campuses to operate on 90% carbon-free energy. Bay View also houses the largest geothermal pile system in North America to heat and cool the buildings, which is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 48% and water used for cooling by 90%.  

Geothermal System  

For years, Google has been experimenting with ways to leverage the Earth’s natural thermal mass to heat their buildings and their water supplies. By leveraging geo-energy feasibility studies for its districts, piloted ground-source heat pumps, and other natural heat recovery and thermal storage systems, Google was enabled to move away from using fossil fuels to heat its buildings.  

At Bay View, research was taken a step further, selecting a versatile, drilled, cast-in-place foundation, which allows us to incorporate an energy recycling system that uses the geothermal properties of the soil to help heat and cool the buildings. The result: the largest geothermal pile system in North America, with pipes totaling nearly 100 miles in length and covering a surface area equal to 12 American football fields.  

Where typical buildings are cooled via evaporation in massive towers filled with water, Bay View’s geothermal system removes heat from the air and transfers it to the ground. Using 90% less water to cool the buildings than a traditional cooling tower system.  

Dragonscale Solar  

Bay View’s buildings feature a first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar roof equipped with a total of 90,000 silver solar panels across all four buildings that use the latest building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology. Combined, the solar roofs give Charleston East and Bay View 7 megawatts of installed renewable power – providing 40% of their annual energy needs.  

Coupled with the canopy’s pavilion-like rooflines, the panels let us capture the power of the sun from multiple angles. Unlike a flat roof, which generates peak power at the same time of the day, its dragonscale solar skin generates power during an extended amount of daylight hours. This will limit Google’s contribution to California’s notorious duck curve, which tracks the difference between energy demand and available solar energy throughout the day.  

Circular Resources  

Many chemicals in these common construction products have been linked to health conditions and can leach into the environment to endanger the long-term health of ecosystems and communities. At Bay View, thousands of materials were vetted against the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List to ensure Bay View would be one of the healthiest spaces possible.  

Circular design aims to keep materials in use as long as possible, decreasing the demand for finite natural resources. With a flexible workspace environment featuring partition walls that can be easily adjusted, Bay View is designed to reduce the need for new materials as workforce needs evolve.  

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