Google’s First Physical Store Sets The Standard For Eco-Friendly Retail

The new Google Store in New York City is adorned with not one, but two LEED Platinum plaques. The tech giant wanted to ensure that sustainability was at the forefront of its creative brief when designing its first physical retail location.

Google's First Physical Store Sets the Standard for Eco-Friendly Retail
Google’s First Physical Store Sets the Standard for Eco-Friendly Retail

The double shrine emblazoned with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design logo reflects the brand’s commitment to attaining the highest rating possible under the building rating system. Only about 215 of the 7,400 LEED-certified retail locations worldwide have achieved platinum certification.

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“It was incredible when we discovered it,” beams Ivy Ross, Google’s vice president of hardware design, user experience, and research. “Not only did we make it, but we did so at the top of that bracket.” Although the effectiveness of the US Green Building Council’s 28-year-old certification programme has been questioned recently, it remains the most widely recognised seal of green buildings worldwide.

LEED is a point-based system; the more eco-friendly strategies are incorporated into a structure, the higher the score. A project must earn at least 80 points in categories such as materials and resources, indoor air quality, innovation, and water efficiency to earn platinum. The designers of the Google Store earned an average score of 86.

Google's First Physical Store Sets the Standard for Eco-Friendly Retail
Google’s First Physical Store Sets the Standard for Eco-Friendly Retail

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Suchi Reddy, founder of the renowned New York City-based studio Readymade Architecture and Design, which designed the Google store, had to exercise caution and tenacity in order to achieve LEED Platinum certification.” We made every decision with care,” explains Reddy, who first collaborated with Ross on Google’s installation at the 2019 Salone del Mobile. As they worked through the pandemic, Ross and Reddy considered every detail of the space through the lens of sustainability.

Reddy sourced responsibly harvested hickory for the walls, energy-efficient lighting, and Bolon flooring made from recycled plastic bottles with the assistance of green building consultancy Steven Winter Associates. Additionally, the designers designed a plumbing system that reduces indoor water consumption by 50% and improves indoor air quality throughout the store through the use of low-emission materials and continuous air monitoring. Even the two LEED Platinum plaques are constructed entirely of recycled material from Google’s smartphones.

Google's First Physical Store Sets the Standard for Eco-Friendly Retail
Google’s First Physical Store Sets the Standard for Eco-Friendly Retail

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The tenacious pursuit of LEED Platinum certification parallels Google’s efforts to mitigate its sizable carbon footprint, Ross explains. Her hardware department, in particular, has committed to using recycled or renewable materials in all of its phones and home gadgets by the end of next year.

The company is exploring ways to make products more durable, thereby diverting more products from landfills. “To me, this store is identical to a product,” Ross explains. “Much like our commitment to creating sustainable products, we were determined to meet LEED standards.”

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Due to the fact that retail environments are typically built on a shoestring budget and within a tight timeline, using healthier materials may appear to be a luxury. However, Reddy asserts that any designer, even those without the deep pockets of a Google client, can incorporate green building strategies into their projects. “It’s a universal lesson,” she says. Perhaps a decade ago, this would have been prohibitively expensive to accomplish. It isn’t anymore—it simply requires a great deal more thought. It is the attitude that distinguishes.”


Written By Tannu Sharma | Subscribe To Our Telegram Channel To Get Latest Updates And Don’t Forget To Follow Our Social Media Handles Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter. To Get the Latest Updates From Arco Unico

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