Surfrider Foundation

San Clemente, California

LEED Gold office remodel spotlights nonprofit’s environmental commitment

The Surfrider Foundation’s 7,000-square-foot corporate headquarters includes 10 private offices, open office areas, a conference room, break room, employee shower and surfboard storage racks. The new space demonstrates the eco-minded organization’s commitment to the environment by repurposing materials and furniture from its previous facility.

Developed to meet the nonprofit’s budget, the design uses cost-efficient materials to elevate the ordinary to extraordinary. Structural wood beams remain exposed in the ceiling, framing foil-faced batt insulation that provides a background for suspended metal ductwork and piping. Simple, point-source luminaires hang from long cords set at different heights, creating an effective low-budget spatial dynamic. Polished concrete floors help facilitate a dog-friendly workplace.

The interior spaces minimize permanent walls to foster a collaborative, open office and to better circulate natural ventilation throughout the space. Wood-slot screen walls, reminiscent of beach cottages and wood-plank piers, shape semi-enclosed office areas. The color palette features natural earth tones punctuated by vibrant blue accents.

To avoid waste and trips to the landfill, the foundation salvaged components from its existing offices. Doors, frames and hardware were reused as traditional swing doors, while other doors were converted into barn doors at conference rooms. Two doors were laid flat and now serve as the reception desk.

Sustainable features include natural ventilation, reuse of original building materials, new materials high in recycled content, low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient lighting and individual task lighting that reduces the need for more power-hungry overhead fixtures. The project earned a LEED Gold certification for commercial interiors.

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