Written by Heather Rushworth
1. Google Campus, (Mountain View, California)
The Google Campus wins this countdown, because they reflect green building initiatives not only in their ultra-eco campus headquarters, but also in their overall fiscal commitment to sustainable energy. To date, the company has invested over $915 million in renewable energy, and this is exemplified in their headquarters’ energy sources which utilize solar energies derived from solar electric, and solar hot water panels installed on their roofs. Google conserves resources by using recycled municipal wastewater to water their plants’ landscaping, and flush their toilets. The campus headquarters are built in coordination with the company's "Healthy Materials Program," which mandates that builders use only non-toxic materials in all building projects. While Google’s buildings are in an elite eco-class all their own, they always strive to move beyond. The company measures their green operations through sustainable programs in cooperation with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which views Google's headquarters as a benchmark in sustainable corporate building.
2. Hearst Tower, (New York, New York)
While the Hearst legacy is best known for its frugal founder -- the unparalleled cheapskate William Randolf Hearst -- the mega empire does not skimp in the area of sustainability. The company’s headquarters are located in a colossal steel tower, which is constructed of ninety percent recycled materials. While this is an eco feat in itself, the building also uses twenty-six percent less energy than a standard construction building. This decrease in energy decreases the building’s carbon dioxide output by approximately 869 tons annually, equivalent to keeping. In addition to cutting-edge energy use, The Hearst tower also employs a “target zero-waste policy” which keeps over ninety-five percent of the building’s kitchen waste from ending up in landfills. In order to reduce storm drain overflow, the tower’s roof is engineered to collect rainwater, which on average keeps about 25 percent less rainfall from entering the City’s storm drains.
3. Suzlon One Earth Corporate Headquarters (India)
The Suzlon's tag line, 'Powering a Greener tomorrow,' is brought to life in their state-of-the art eco headquarters. A Zero Energy Project, these headquarters have achieved Platinum LEED certification scoring an almost perfect 56/57 points. This feat makes it the top scoring LEED certified building in the world. From the ground up, the company strove to incorporate sustainable measures in every level of their building, and mandated builders use only non-toxic, recycled materials. In addition, the company acquired a great deal of their materials locally, sourcing eight percent of their materials within a 500 mile radius of their headquarters -- which reduced overall fuel costs immensely.
4.Bank of America, (New York, New York)
Built with a billion dollar budget, aimed to green Bank of America's corporate initiatives, the building was planned to be one of the first skyscrapers to reach Platinum LEED status. The fourth tallest building in the United States, the tower utilizes insulating glass to reduce energy use and a greywater system that keeps waste output extremely low. The building also has waterless urinals, which save approximately eight million US gallons of water per year, reducing overall CO2 emissions by 144,000 lbs. Built by Cook+Fox Architects, the headquarters were designed to set the bar as one of the leading green energy and efficiency buildings in the world.
5. Whole Foods Market Corporate Headquarters, (Austin, Texas)
The nation's leading health food grocer packaged its eco-friendly intentions with their first store, which was a prototype of the City of Austin's Commercial Green Building Program. To reduce urban heat, the company sheathed the exterior in white limestone that was locally sourced, and mixed with fly ash – a waste product from coal plants. For further cooling, extensive shading, energy efficient heat mirror glazing, and highly reflective wall and ceiling colors were employed to utilize daylight while reducing energy cooling costs. From the ground up, Whole Foods utilized recycled goods; even parts of their flooring was re-milled from old beams salvaged from abandoned warehouses sourced from the Texas Gulf Coast. More than anything, their earth-loving headquarters matched their soon to be cult-following hippy clientele. No single corporation in the last decade has inspired a whole demographic of average Americans to adopt eco measures, quite like Whole Foods Market.