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Project Update · 09.29.2023

Google's 1265 Borregas Ave. is the Structures 2023 Green Project honoree

Artist's rendering of Google's under-construction mass timber building located at 1265 Borreagas Ave. in Sunnyvale. This is the view from the southeast.

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, is often in the headlines for its tech advancements, and now the tech titan is making itself known for timber.

Well, at least making it known one of its buildings is a mass-timber construction.

Located at 1265 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale, Google’s first mass-timber building is a five-story, 180,000-square-foot project. Construction on the project broke ground in late 2020 and was projected to have resulted in 96% fewer emissions than a typical construction.

The 92-foot-tall office building — designed and erected by Michael Green Architecture, Sera Architects and XL Construction — is all electric and has exposed timber beams, wood ceilings and concrete flooring. One side of the building has traditional meeting rooms and office space, while on the other side there are two floors of space intended to be used by employees and provide uninterrupted views of the outdoors.

According to Jeff Holzman, the search giant’s real estate district development director, the construction is meant to support Google’s commitment to achieve “net zero emissions and operate on carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030.”

The concept was to design a template that offered a flexible, sustainable and long-term solution that addressed embodied and operational carbon, energy reduction and renewables,

he told the Business Journal in an email.

The goal was to produce an exceptional building that promotes health, connections to nature and addresses the urgent global need for repeatable, scalable and sustainable new structures.

A mass-timber construction typically uses wooden boards that have been glued together to create beams or panels. Those can then be used to make walls, floors or superstructures. Depending on how the wood is grown and harvested, it can result in fewer carbon emissions while offering similar or better strength and fire resistance as concrete and steel. Canada-based Structurlam supplied the Douglas fir timber used in the development and was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a Germany-based nonprofit dedicated to sustainable forestry, according to the company.

Google declined to comment on how much the project cost.

The building is still in the process of being evaluated for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification in building design and construction from the U.S. Green Building Council. Though, according to Google Communications Manager Bailey Tomson, the project is still being finalized.

The project is among one of the few Bay Area’s mass timber construction projects. Others include: SKS’ development of a four-story commercial building in San Francisco, the University of California at Berkeley has plans to incorporate mass timber in a five-story mix-use campus building, and oWow plans on erecting two residential high-rises in Oakland.

Google’s building at 1265 Borregas Ave. in Sunnyvale, the first mass-timber building the company built in Silicon Valley. The building won a SVBJ Structures Award as Best Green Project for 2023.

Key Facts

  • Address: 1265 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale
  • Size: 180,000 square feet; five stories
  • Cost: Did not disclose
  • Status: Under construction
  • Tidbit: Google’s first mass-timber construction

Key Players

  • Owner: Alphabet Inc.
  • General contractor: XL Construction
  • Architects: Michael Green Architecture and Sera Architects
  • Mass timber supplier: Structurlam
  • Development Manager: Sares Regis Group of Northern California
Date Published: 09.29.2023
Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal

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