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Cleantech
Facebook Gets Green Light To Build Eco-Friendly Campus Extension

Facebook last week received permission from the Menlo Park City Council to break ground on its second campus, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and featuring a tree-covered rooftop garden.

Facebook last week received permission from the Menlo Park City Council to break ground on its second campus, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and featuring a tree-covered rooftop garden.

While Gehry is famous for eye-catching works such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked for the new campus’s design to be “low key.”

This has resulted in plans for an unusually long 433,555-square-foot eco-friendly structure covering 22 acres and capable of accommodating as many as 3,400 employees. Some have dubbed the new building a “Hobbit Hole” due to its natural design to blend in with the hillside and connect to the existing campus via an underground tunnel.

Although not confirmed, it is possible the new campus could sport plug-in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to encourage employee use of EVs. Last month, Facebook joined the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, which aims to expand the availability of workplace EV charging for U.S. workers. The company’s Silicon Valley neighbor Google signed on to the initiative in February.

Google also recently announced plans for a new facility designed with the environment and employee wellness in mind. The structure will make use of natural light and feature a bent floor plan aimed at creating “casual collisions” among workers. Just as with Facebook’s proposed extension, Google’s also will feature a “green rooftop.”

Back in 2011, Apple announced plans for a new spaceship-shaped campus in Cupertino powered by a natural gas generator and renewable energy sources. Although originally slated for completion by 2015, the project’s environmental impact study is causing delays, pushing the expected finish date back by at least a year. In a statement last month, Apple said it now uses 100% renewable energy sources to power its data centers, using a combination of solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy.

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