This summer, Google opened its first retail storefront in New York City. The landmark event is notable for a variety of reasons, perhaps the most noteworthy being that the location was planned, designed and built with sustainability in mind. In fact, its sustainability measures earned the space a LEED Platinum rating, the highest certification possible from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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A front desk/checkout counter with the classic Google logo hanging above it as a sign.

Google has made headlines multiple times for its efforts to lean into environmentally-friendly practices. As a company, Google claims to be carbon neutral since 2007 and has set a goal to be carbon-free by 2030. That may seem like a long timeline, but achieving that goal within a decade for a company that size will require a clear vision and consistent change. In the short term, more immediate goals that will stair step to the larger achievement include earning zero waste to landfill certification in 2022, setting a 2025 deadline to be plastic-free in all packaging and incorporating recyclable or renewable materials into products.

Related: Google’s San José Downtown West Mixed-Use Plan approved by city council

A minimalist retail space surrounded by glass walls with black frames.

The development team built a full-scale version of the retail space inside its Mountain View hangar; this allowed developers to physically evaluate the layout’s flow, look and customer experience. Architect Reddymade helped the team achieve its vision of an interactive, warm, naturally lit and approachable space.

To the left, a beige display counter with a black frame that flows throughout the room. To the right, a person next to a lit-up display space.

With a blueprint established, the project focused on energy efficiency and material selection to help Google meet its sustainability goals. Inside the space, responsibly sourced hickory veneer dresses the walls while highly sustainable cork and wood furniture was custom made by a local craftsman. Carpet made from recycled materials and energy-efficient lighting illuminate the focus on eco-friendly interior design. 

A beige sofa, end table and coffee table in the middle of a retail space.

More than just a space to display the range of Pixel phones, Nest products and other devices, the retail store stands as an example of LEED Platinum design that is rare amongst retail stores anywhere in the world. 

A plastic bottle display discussing the store's sustainability efforts.

According to a press release, Google is, “Honored to have worked with the U.S. Green Building Council in this process, and we now can share that the Google Store Chelsea is one of fewer than 215 retail spaces in the world to have achieved a LEED Platinum rating — the highest certification possible within the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system.”

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Via Environmental Leader

Photography courtesy of Google and Paul Warchol