May 7, 2008


Several weeks ago we had mentioned that Surfrider had just moved their global headquarters to our hood in San Clemente. (Excuse us, Rancho San Clemente.) They were nice enough to invite us to their open house where we dined on chocolate chip cookies and Stone Brewery’s IPA. As impressive as the spread was, we noticed that throughout their digs small signs were posted that explained the enviro-conscious construction of the building’s design and materials. As you might guess, every square inch was given painstaking attention to ensure that it held up to their high, high, high standards. We asked Olaf Lohr, Surfrider’s membership manager, if he could send us the full details on the build-out. Needless to say, our crappy recycling bins and energy saving light bulbs are pathetic to what they have done. Thanks for ruining our day Olaf! We’ll be thinking of you before we jump out the window. (And no, they’re not the fancy energy efficient, temperature controlled ones like you have.) Go to the jump to view more pictures and read the complete build-out specs.





Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED™)

In 1998, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced a program to measure the sustainability of buildings known as LEED™. This unique program holistically looks at a building’s “green quotient” with a point system divided into five categories: site, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and indoor air quality. Buildings can achieve one of four levels of sustainability: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. In 2003, LEED™ introduced the Commercial Interiors Program which specifically promotes high performance, healthy, durable and environmentally sound workplaces for interior spaces within existing buildings.


Surfrider, with its mission as an environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, aligns with the principles that guide LEED. Throughout the design and construction of the Surfrider Foundation offices, numerous sustainable strategies have been incorporated to create a healthy and productive interior space while lessening the negative impacts on the natural environment.

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In an effort to utilize existing infrastructure, protect natural habitat and preserve natural resources, the Surfrider Foundation offices are located within ½ mile of existing residences and community services, including a post office, bank, school, church and shopping.

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Intended to reduce pollution and land development impacts, the offices are located within ¼ mile of bus stops with two or more routes.

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To reduce water consumption by 20%, low-flow faucets and lavatories have replaced existing standard fixtures. Dual flush valve toilets within the offices have replaced the standard toilets.

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Fundamental Commissioning was completed during construction to ensure that the mechanical and electrical systems were installed and operate per the design intent.

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The mechanical system meets the energy efficiency minimums per national recommendations.

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To reduce ozone depletion, the mechanical systems do not contain CFC-based refrigerants.

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With energy efficiency in mind, the lighting power density of permanent light fixtures within the offices is more than 35% below the standard. Additionally, occupancy and daylight responsive controls have been added throughout the workspaces and conference rooms. Individually controlled task lighting augments the lighting at offices, workstations and conference rooms. New equipment and appliances have been selected based on the Energy Star rating. Mechanically, the HVAC systems have been zoned based on the solar orientation.

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To reduce waste disposed of in landfills, a recycling station has been created for the collection of recyclables including: paper, metal, plastic, glass and cardboard.

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During construction, waste was diverted from the landfills by recycling over 75% of it.

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In order to reduce the demand on natural resources, numerous materials that were incorporated into the project are re-used from the previous tenant space, from the former Surfrider offices or from other off-site sources. Interior doors have been refitted as sliding barn doors, re-purposed at the reception desk or re-hung at doorways with the existing door hardware. Existing window coverings were saved and re-hung. Re-used shelving and file cabinets were acquired. Task and auxiliary seating, office furniture and conference tables were relocated.

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Materials with post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content were incorporated including: metal studs, glass wall tile, drywall, insulation, acoustical ceiling tiles and metal sign letters.

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By incorporating materials that were manufactured within 500 miles, the environmental impacts from transportation were reduced. Some of these materials include: planking, metal studs, glass wall tile, drywall mud and paint.

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Encouraging responsible forest management, over 50% of the wood installed is Forest Stewardship Council certified.

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The mechanical system meets the ventilation minimums per national recommendations.

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To minimize the exposure of occupants to tobacco smoke, smoking is prohibited both inside and within 25 feet of the building entries.

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In order to prevent indoor air quality problems due to construction activities, the Contractor followed an Indoor Air Quality Management Plan that protected absorptive materials from moisture, met the recommended guidelines by the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and protected ductwork and filtration media from airborne particulates.

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Low emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, carpet and composite wood were used for the building materials and the workstation furniture to reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants.

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To promote the comfort and productivity of the occupants, lighting controllability is provided with task lighting at each office and conference room.

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Views are provided with the perimeter glazing and the open office environment allowing more than 90% of the occupants to connect with the outdoors.

Additional credits can be achieved above and beyond the parameters established by the LEED system if value can be demonstrated. Surfrider incorporated the following:

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With this signage and a narrative on the website, Surfrider Foundation is educating and sharing the offices’ sustainable strategies with the occupants and the general public.

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By instituting a Green Housekeeping Program, Surfrider will continue to maintain the offices in the future with environmentally responsible cleaning products.