Microsoft’s new Silicon Valley Campus, a 643,000-square-foot “modernization” of the tech giant’s 32-acre location in Mountain View, Calif., will be the company’s “smartest, greenest office yet,” according to a blog post earlier this week by Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott.
As wildfires rage, yet again, across Southern California, and as damage claims from the October wildfires in Northern California top $9 billion, it’s timely that one of the campus’s top design priorities is something the state never seems to have enough of—water. The biggest part of that will be achieving net zero non-potable water certification under the Living Building Challenge. If Microsoft can pull that off, it reportedly will be the first tech company to achieve this certification.
Certification under the Living Building Challenge requires actual building performance demonstrated for 12 consecutive months in areas including water, energy and materials. The standard also allows “scale jumping,” to encourage cooperation between neighboring buildings.
The campus’s integrated water management system will operate under the principle of putting non-potable water into service more than once. “One hundred percent of the buildings’ non-drinking water will come from rainfall or on-site recycled water. This will be a first in Silicon Valley,” Pauline Souza, partner with WRNS Studio Architecture & Planning, San Francisco, said in an online presentation.
Some rain water will be retained on the 4-acre green roof, while the remaining rain water, including that collected from paved areas, along with waste water, will be collected, treated and stored onsite before being used for irrigation and plumbing. Furthermore, except for drinking fountains and sinks, none of the water for more than 2,000 employees, 15 acres of landscape and 643,000 square feet of built space will come from municipal sources.