Normally big is the opposite of green. These three tech companies prove that being massive doesn’t mean you can’t be environmentally responsible.
Chances are, you’re reading this on a device made by one of the big three tech companies: Apple, Google, or Samsung. Between them, this trio of corporations are responsible for a vast majority of the mobile technologies on the market today (and as we all know, Google pretty much has a lock down on internet search).
These tech companies aren’t perfect, and they deserve the flack they catch for contributing to the growing e-waste problem, avoiding taxes, and allowing unsuitable working conditions in their overseas factories. But with billions of dollars of revenue comes the ability to make big green changes. They may not be able (or willing) tackle the social injustices that arise from their industry, but they are taking steps to reduce their footprint at home.
1. Samsung – North San Jose Megacampus
Samsung recently broke ground on a 1.1 million square foot research and development headquarters north of downtown San Jose. Designed by NBBJ the 650,00-square-foot office looks like a layer cake, but what hides inside is a lot more exciting than icing. The design “embraces the new urban design guidelines developed by the City of San Jose which call for densification, more active streetscapes, and environmental stewardship,” explains Samsung.
The entire site will be divided into four zones, which move from ‘urban’ to ‘garden’. Various courtyards will feature porous pavement, and lush native trees and plants. The tower itself will be clad in white metal and clear glass, carefully balanced to reduce solar heat gain and provide a sense of lightness. The goal is that no employee will ever be more than one floor away from green space.
2. Apple – Cupertino “Spaceship”
Looking a lot like a UFO Apple’s new 2.8 million square foot facility [PDF] will house up to 14,200 employees, and almost as many trees. Designed by Foster + Partners, nearly 80 percent of the massive campus will be green landscaped, including a company garden.
The parking lot would be house underground, avoiding the runoff that usually results when you pave paradise. According to recent design documents, Apple hopes to make the entire edifice “net zero” by generating a significant amount of the Campus’ energy from on-site renewable sources, and developing partnerships with renewable energy providers for grid-purchased renewable energy.
3. Google – The Googleplex
This spring, it was announced that Google would begin construction on a new 1.1-million-square-foot headquarters in Mountain View, California. Also designed by NBBJ (nobody saw that as a conflict of interest?!), it will be the first time Google has built its own facility from the ground up, and company officials promise it will break new ground in environmental sustainability.
Each of the nine buildings strewn around the campus will face west and east to minimize heat and glare from the morning and afternoon sun. The buildings’ narrow design ensures that no matter where your desk is located, you’ll have plenty of natural sunlight, thus minimizing lighting costs. The Google HQ will make prolific use of solar panels, while a low-energy heating and cooling system will allow it to supply 100 percent fresh air without breaking the bank.