Is the new Apple headquarters going to be ultra green or not? This question has been circling around the ‘green’ community for quite some time now with many undermining the efforts of the technological giant to create a sustainable working environment.
It is true that the huge parking lot can fit more than 10,000 vehicles at a given time, suggesting that the numerous Apple employees will contribute quite a bit to the net carbon emissions, however it seems a bit unfair to use this argument and forget to acknowledge what the company is doing in order to minimize the damage. In this respect, here is a compilation, and a small reminder to the non-believers, of some of the green features that the campus will have.
To start with, Apple is planning to reintroduce tree species that are native to California, but have been prevalent in the area of the campus. More than 7,000 trees of 309 different species will be planted in order to boost regional biodiversity and take care of at least some of the carbon emissions.
The building rooftop and the parking garages will be equipped with 8 MW of solar panels. The energy during the hours when the demand is the highest will be provided by fuel cells running on natural gas and biogas-produced energy from the grid.
The building will be located in the center of a quite park, which will allow the employees to open their windows and breathe in clean air, creating a natural ventilation. The location is characterized by amazing climate throughout the year, so the offices will not require air-conditioning or heating systems.
Alongside the solar panels, the rooftop of the main building will also be equipped with rain water collectors, which make up a natural drainage. There will be plenty of drought tolerant plants in order to reduce water consumption. Overall, the company claims that they can reduce the consumption by 30% compared to typical commercial developments.
The currently operating waste management program will be expanded, by finding alternative uses for the waste through recycling and composting instead of sending it to landfills.
And last but not least, employees living in a 15 mins radius from the campus will be able to take full advantage of the public transportation system. In order to stimulate this, Apple headquarters will have 3,000 parking spaces less than employees.
OK, yes there will be 10,000 people driving to and from the campus every day, but let’s face it, if they did not work for Apple, they would have been driving to and from a different work place. So thumbs up for the tech giant, and let’s hope many more will follow.