We’ve built a green transportation system that includes biodiesel shuttles and the largest corporate electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country. Every day, our shuttles keep thousands of Googlers out of the driver's seat and reduce our impact on the environment. And GFleet—our car-sharing program for Googlers on campus—includes the newest generation of plug-in vehicles. We’re trying to tackle every possible reason our employees might drive a gas-fueled car to work.
Our shuttles and GFleet result in net annual savings of more than 29,000 metric tons of CO2. That’s like taking about 5,700 cars off the road or avoiding 87 million vehicle miles every year!
Because the shuttle system that serves commuters to our San Francisco Bay Area offices is so convenient and rider-friendly, Googlers often leave their cars at home (or don't own cars at all). About 6,400 Googlers take the shuttle to work on any given day, and our shuttle program hit 2.5 million rides in 2013.
In addition to an ultra comfortable ride, real-time location information, and wifi, our shuttles have the cleanest diesel engines ever built. In fact, Google is the first and largest company with a corporate coach fleet to exceed the EPA's 2010 bus emission standards. They run on 5% biodiesel and are fitted with filtration systems that eliminate many harmful emissions, including nitrogen oxide.
Over the last several years, as new electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid technologies have arrived on the market, we've worked to build one of the most advanced corporate car sharing programs in the country at our Mountain View headquarters. This program, called the GFleet, serves two purposes. First, it provides Googlers with a low-carbon transportation option once they get to the office using alternative transportation (for instance, the Google shuttle, walking, biking, or carpooling). Second, we like to invest in promising, new, sustainable technologies and pilot them wherever possible on our campuses.
The GFleet is made up of Chevrolet Volts, Nissan LEAFs, Mitsubishi iMiEVs, Ford Focus Electrics, and a Honda Fit EV. Googlers have driven our fleet of electric vehicles more than 1,500,000 miles, and we’ll continue adding models from other manufacturers as they become available. To juice up our GFleet cars, provide more charging options for EV-driving Googlers, and encourage more Googlers to make the switch to EVs, we've partnered with Coulomb Technologies to build the largest corporate EV charging infrastructure in the United States. We have electric vehicles charging at hundreds of parking spaces across our Mountain View headquarters and eleven other Google locations. On an average day, we complete over 1000 charging sessions. We also support efforts that promote workplace charging, for example we’re a charter member of the U.S. Department of Energy's Workplace Charging Challenge.
Hundreds of Googlers around the world get to work by foot, bike, unicycle, skateboard, scooter, and even kayak. Cycling to work is one mode of transportation we strongly encourage. This year, over 3,700 Googlers in 26 offices participated in the Google Bike to Work Day, our way of celebrating cycling commuters and introducing new riders to this transport option.
We source delicious, flavorful food that is produced in the most responsible way possible. We optimize based on where food is produced, whether it is in season or organically grown, and how it is distributed. We choose partners who operate sustainably and share our values. We’re committed to serving only sustainable seafood, and we’re thoughtful about reducing waste. As with many of our initiatives to support a sustainable workplace, keeping our employees healthy and happy just makes good business sense.
Every day, Googlers around the world enjoy a variety of healthy, flavorful and seasonal food for free. While we don't have a one-size-fits-all approach across our locations, we strive to build sustainability into each aspect of our food program.
Across all of our cafes worldwide, we are building partnerships that support responsible business practices. We take time to get to know our suppliers—how they raise, farm, and harvest their food. For example, in Northern California we partner with a range of farms and suppliers. We purchase local, organic dairy from Clover Stornetta Farms in Sonoma County. We partner with local farms, like Alba Organics and Pie Ranch, who are working to educate aspiring farmers and consumers on responsible farming methods. We also partner with Driscolls, a very large berry producer who brings organic methods to conventional farming, and Kingsburg Orchards, a stone fruit farmer who uses integrated pest management practices. Additionally, Googlers enjoy a great cup of coffee, so we purchase only from roasters who offer clear traceability into where their beans come from and how they are grown.
These are just a few examples of what we do at our headquarters in Northern California. We work hard to bring the same responsible sourcing practices everywhere we operate around the world.
The oceans are one of our greatest resources, covering more than 70% of the world's surface. They are the original source of most of our food chain, and protecting the ocean ecosystem is therefore a critical environmental priority. At Google, we’re committed to serving sustainable seafood from local, fresh, and seasonal sources. We also source from responsibly-managed aquaculture or wild-capture fisheries. Our detailed seafood policy focuses on the source, the ways fish are caught, and species of fish that we serve in our cafes. This allows us to serve fresher, tastier seafood while supporting a sustainable food system.
With all the effort we put into food procurement, we want to be thoughtful about how we reduce waste as well:
We work hard to create the healthiest, most productive work environments possible for Googlers around the world. To do that, we approach buildings as living systems, designing in natural light and clean air, designing out harmful man-made chemicals, and using natural resources more intelligently. Our approach goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to designing buildings that are sustainable for local and global ecosystems.
We believe that a healthy work environment and a sustainable world begin with transparency and cooperation. A surprising number of chemicals of concern have been incorporated into commonly used building materials without being assessed for their impact on human health. We’ve eliminated many of these chemicals in our buildings. We actively seek sustainable materials that are locally manufactured, high in recycled content, and biodegradable.
At Google’s offices worldwide, we put all building materials and products through a rigorous screening process to determine which adhere to our healthy building standards—and we purchase the products that best meet our stringent criteria.
We request full transparency from our manufacturers and vendors, requiring them to provide us with comprehensive product ingredient information from every point in the supply chain.
We partner with research institutions, government agencies, and public organizations, and reference publicly available frameworks such as the EPA’s “Chemicals of Concern” list and other third party standards such as LEED and Living Building Challenge to inform our understanding of chemicals of concern and materials to avoid. Google is also one of the founding endorsers of the Health Product Declaration, the first open reporting standard for product content and associated health information for building materials. Each day, we are another step closer to reaching our goal of eliminating 100% of known toxic substances from our buildings.
Our focus on creating healthy environments doesn’t stop with the building materials in our offices. We make every effort to address the factors that impact people’s experience of indoor environments, such as thermal comfort, daylight and access to views. We also provide aggressive performance benchmarks for energy and water consumption. We use sophisticated building control technologies to ensure systems are on only when we need them. We’ve installed solar electric and solar hot water panels on our roofs, treated water on-site for reuse, and used recycled municipal wastewater for other applications (e.g. toilet flushing and landscape watering). We have the aspirational goal of diverting 99% of construction waste from our projects.
In order to set goals and benchmark building performance, we often use proven industry frameworks such as the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program and the Living Building Challenge. We’ve also created an internal program known as “Sustainable Pursuit” (based on the popular trivia game and the LEED framework) to measure and improve how we operate our buildings.
Teams at Google offices around the world compete for points depending on their site’s sustainable initiatives. Through this program, our Real Estate & Workplace Services Green Team works closely with facility managers at Google offices worldwide to implement innovative, locally-appropriate strategies to reduce waste, save energy and water, and improve indoor environmental quality. We also make it a priority to document and share team innovations so that organizational knowledge is spread across all Google teams.
Highlights of our efforts include the following: