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How Green Is Google? An Insider's View

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How is Google greening its rapidly growing army of Googlers, on and off campus? Biodiesel buses, Google bikes... But pogo sticks -- really?

I sat down with Parag Chokshi, Google's Clean Energy Public Affairs Manager, and he explained some of Google's employee incentives and green practices. Did you know that if you get to the Googleplex under your own steam -- walking, running, biking... or on your pogo stick... Google will donate to a charity of your choice? And if you can't bear to move from your cool pad in San Fran, and the thought of 36 miles on a pogo stick seems a stretch, Google will transport you to work in one of its special biodiesel buses. Wifi-equipped of course.

There's even a sizeable organic vegetable garden on the campus, so if you fancy getting dirt under your fingernails and communing with Mother Earth, Google's your place.

Of course, Google also fanfares the usual green suspects:

Solar power (one of the largest commercial installations in the Bay Area at 1.6 MW or 30% of the complex's peak power use);

Bloom Energy Boxes (Google was one of the first customers for this efficient fuel cell power source);

and the ubiquitous compostable cups, plates and cutlery.

But if you think working at Google is just one green center of Kumbaya, remember it's not just a holiday camp. Pay may be the highest average in the tech industry (2011 Payscale Report) but according to anecdotal evidence and Google's own job descriptions, expect a high-stress startup environment and the bureaucratic issues typical of any fast-growing big company.

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