Analyzing Local Sources Of Big Carbon Footprints



What gets measured gets managed. In the realm of climate science, national governments have the scale and responsibility to be involved in measurement. But if a skeptic is in charge of the government apparatus, good luck with that. With the national government of one of the big carbon footprint countries abandoning science and dropping out of the fight to reduce climate change, one of that country’s biggest companies is stepping up to offer an alternative. It may be too little too late but under the circumstances we may have no choice but to cheer it on:

Google’s New Tool to Fight Climate Change

The company will begin estimating local carbon pollution from cities around the world.

In the next decade or so, more than 6,000 cities, states, and provinces around the world will try to do something that has eluded humanity for 25 years: reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, which warm the atmosphere and cause climate change.

The city-level leaders overseeing this task won’t have the same tools available to their national peers. Most of them won’t have an Environmental Protection Agency (or its equivalent), a meteorological bureau, a team of military engineers, or nasa. So where will they start? Never mind how to reduce their city’s greenhouse-gas emissions; how will they know what’s spewing carbon dioxide in the first place?

Maybe Google will do it for them. Or, at least, do it with them.

Google has started estimating greenhouse-gas emissions for individual cities, part of what it recently described as an ambitious new plan to deploy its hoard of geographic information on the side of climate-concerned local leaders. Continue reading

Big USA Cities & Potential For Solar

980x.pngThanks to EcoWatch for this note about the Google site that helps residents of major cities in the USA think more clearly about solar as an option:

It just got a whole lot easier to decide whether or not to get solar panels for your roof. Google’s Project Sunroof site will help you locate your home, see how much sun it gets on average and what you could save if you purchased panels. Continue reading

And In Other Office Space News


After this post reflecting on one big architectural adventure, somehow not too surprising that another related news story pops up almost immediately. Is it an arms race or an incredible burst of creativity that will have a positive impact beyond the companies involved?

Google may get its futuristic new campus after all

After a property swap with LinkedIn

By Nick Statt

Google’s grand plans for a futuristic new campus in the North Bayshore district of Mountain View, CA may finally become a reality thanks to a new real estate deal struck with LinkedIn. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the two tech companies came to an agreement on a property swap that puts to rest a longstanding feud over lucrative current and unused square footage in Silicon Valley. Google paid $215 million for the swap, while LinkedIn paid $331 million, the report states. Continue reading

Amazon’s Architectural Adventure


Renderings of the spheres at Amazon that show what the interiors are expected to look like. When they open in early 2018, the spheres will be packed with a plant collection worthy of top-notch conservatories. CreditNBBJ

An article in the New York Times helps to illuminate the logic of a company with billions of dollars to spend on its office infrastructure, a company that occupies”creative” space in the global economy, when they design the HQ of the future:

…“The whole idea was to get people to think more creatively, maybe come up with a new idea they wouldn’t have if they were just in their office,” said Dale Alberda, the lead architect on the project at NBBJ, a firm that has also worked on building projects for Samsung, Google and the Chinese internet company Tencent.

Tech companies have been eager to test ways to make workplaces more conducive to creativity. Some turn their offices into grown-up playgrounds, with beanbag chairs, ball pits and Ping-Pong tables…


In New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, the tech-centric creative company Barbarian Group created a fluid Superdesk to gather their employees at one endless table. Photo from The Creative Workplace

This comes not long after Apple’s own utopian creativity nest, among others in the cash-aplenty sector. A few months ago a book titled The Creative Workplace came to our attention.

We were already primed to think about office space again when we saw the book. A portion of our team was going to be transferring over to the client side at Xandari, starting July. This would give us some space to be creative with. And so we have done. Already we have welcomed the Rainforest “client-side” team into our office.  SCreative2hared office space, akin to what we saw in one of the WeWork spaces in San Francisco recently, suits our office space well.

So the images from this book have been perfectly timed to stimulate our thinking. In our first round of office creativity thinking in 2011 we had a shell that dictated constraints. One of those was economic, aka rational business logic. We needed a certain “feel” to reflect our aesthetic, and to accommodate our workflow, but did not want to go over the top because that is not how we do things.

But we like pretty shiny things as much as the next person, so Continue reading

Solar for Homes, Empowered by Google

First result when searching “solar power” in Google

We posted about a solar oven yesterday, and today we heard about a less tangible but equally valuable product offered for free by Google: by visiting their Project Sunroof webpage, you can find out in seconds if your roof is suitable for panels, how many panels you’d need, and finally, what your payment options are depending on your location (at the moment it seems focused on the US and the different state and federal tax credits available). From their About page:

Why are we doing this?

As the price of installing solar has gotten less expensive, more homeowners are turning to it as a possible option for decreasing their energy bill. We want to make installing solar panels easy and understandable for anyone.

Project Sunroof puts Google’s expansive data in mapping and computing resources to use, helping calculate the best solar plan for you.

Continue reading