Google’s Mary Davidge Talks Sustainability Changes in Silicon Valley Over the Years

About this Episode

In this episode, we talk about the intersection of technology and “going green” with Mary Davidge who is Google’s Director of Real Estate and Workplace Services. Mary shares her journey from growing up on a California ranch, and then to leading foundation-building work with Google. She also shares why she got into the sustainability movement and why she is extremely optimistic about the next generation of green professionals that are entering the industry.

Key Talking Points

  • Mary’s journey from a fifth-generation Californian Art major to working with the largest tech companies in the world.
  • Early influences and mentors that led Mary to her career in sustainability.
  • How to balance internal sustainability demands with external certification
  • What’s the future of sustainability?
  • Three perspective-shifting books you have to read.

Key Milestones of the Episode

[1:42] The start of Mary’s journey

[2:39] The “Aha moment” that moved Mary into sustainability 

[5:01] Having Google as your first client 

[8:30] A look at some of Google’s sustainability projects  

[12:40] Creating your own certification vs following the industry

[16:49] Future of Sustainability

[19:10] What do you think is your impact on the green building industry? 

[20:50] Tips for staying focused 

[23:00] Favorite books

Key Quotes

“I started as an Art major…but I quickly shifted to industrial and interior design.”

“I am proud to be a LEED fellow.”

 “I’m hopeful that we’re smart enough…that we begin to look at this as a system.”

 “My greatest talent is hiring people smarter than me, helping them to work well together, and then getting out of their way.”

Key Resources

Portico, the Healthy Materials Tool

Biophilic Design Initiative

Indoor Environmental Quality (Google’s Green, Clean & Mean site)

Living Building Challenge and “Petals”

Healthy Building Network

Other Resources

William McDonough

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

Connect with Mary Davidge



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Copyright © 2019 GBES

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