Groundbreaking Begins on Apple’s Environmentally-Friendly Campus

As one of the most influential tech companies in the world, Apple tends to lead by example. When it comes to sustainability, the Cupertino-based tech giant hasn’t always had a sterling reputation; however, in recent years, Apple has doubled down on its sustainable practices.

Case in point: Apple’s bold new “Campus 2:” a structure that has to be seen to be believed, and even so, exists only in mockups. However, after finally getting approval from the Cupertino city council to build the structure, it appears that groundbreaking has finally begun. Recent aerial photographs seem to indicate that demolition is well underway, which will prepare the site for the first phase of construction.

apple headquarters
© Apple

What Is the “Spaceship”?

Apple’s Campus 2 is affectionately known as the “spaceship,” and with good reason: the building really is strikingly original in design. It consists of a vast, uninterrupted circle with a large courtyard in the middle. Occupying some 2.66 million square feet where office and R&D buildings once stood, the campus will eventually house a 120,000 square foot auditorium, a 100,000 square foot fitness center, 92,000 square feet of utility plants, and tens of thousands of square feet of employee parking facilities.

Campus 2 and Sustainability

The construction of a new Apple campus would be newsworthy any day of the week, but it’s the building’s commitment to sustainable practices that has environmentalists taking note.

The new environmentally-friendly Campus 2 has been designed from the ground up to take advantage of sustainable resources. 70% of the building’s energy will be generated using alternative fuel sources such as solar and fuel cells. Even the aforementioned employee parking facilities are taking a greener approach: rather than traditional parking lots, Apple will be constructing underground parking beneath the structure, providing 2,300 individual parking stalls, thereby leaving as much of the surrounding land untouched as they can.

Additionally, Apple plans to plant more than 6,000 trees around the 150-acre site, ranging from oaks to fruit trees.

A Greener Apple

Like many tech companies, Apple has been working hard to improve its sustainability. While the jury is still out on whether its claims of becoming greener are marketing speak or the real deal, there’s no doubt that important groundwork has been laid. Eight of the computer models in Apple’s current laptop lineup have received the EPA’s gold standard for environmental soundness.

Since 2008, Apple has also reported a greater than 3% reduction in emissions from its facilities. While other computer manufacturers seem to be outpacing Apple in these endeavors at least for now, it’s nevertheless encouraging to see a company as ubiquitous as Apple laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future.

Steve Jobs’ Final Vision

The late Steve Jobs made his final appearance to the public in 2011, where he presented Apple’s vision of its new campus to the city council. He enthusiastically described it as something that looks like a “spaceship has just landed,” and hailed its “green” design. Resonating with the same famous passion he had when unveiling any of Apple’s many thoughtfully designed computers, Jobs was very proud of what his company had come up with, and it’s a shame he won’t get to see the final product.

If everything goes according to plan, construction on Campus 2 will wrap in 2016.

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