Clif Bar LEEDs the Way With New Green Design

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Who said you could never go green and look good while doing it? Well, try and tell that to the folks at Clif Bar and Company, a nutritional sport’s food company, who show us how easy it is to do both with the unveiling of their new headquarters.

Clif Bar and Company recently moved their organization into an older, renovated building that they, “recycled” for their new project. The brand new 115,000 square foot facility is located in sunny Emeryville, California where the company found a home to suit their dream and green initiatives.

“We had outgrown our space in Berkeley,” says Elysa Hammond, Director for Environmental Stewardship at the company. “So we viewed that as an opportunity to take our ‘Five Aspirations’ of sustaining our business, our brands, our people, our community and the planet to the next level with the new headquarters. Our commitment to sustainability includes not just solar panels and recycling, but also that sense of renewal that comes from connecting with nature. We’re always looking for ways to do business in a more holistic way, and building a green headquarters fits that vision.”

Clif Bar Smart Solar Panels

What is really going to set this new building apart from a lot of green building projects is the installation of the largest, “smart”, solar panel array in North America on their rooftop. “Smart” solar panels have monitors integrated into the system to help optimize efficiency and reduce operating costs. The company is excited and anticipates that the solar panels will produce 100 percent of the buildings electricity and 70 percent of the thermal energy to heat hot water.

“We’re very proud of the smart-solar array and solar thermal construction on our roof,” says Hammond. “We were specifically drawn toward the new ‘smart’ technology in solar, as it is a step toward harvesting more energy from the panels while reducing operational costs – two goals that are crucial to the continued growth and use of solar technology on a larger scale in both commercial and residential projects going forward.”

Taking a step back from the technical aspects of the building, the company was able to put in a 6,700 square foot childcare center, which they divided up into various age groups and activities. There is also an extended wellness center that includes a weight room, 40-foot bouldering wall, yoga studio and a dance studio. To add in a green artistic feel, Clif Bar and Company suspended reused bikes, kayaks and surfboards from the facility ceilings.

Clif Bar Meeting Room

“With such an open space and massive walls of windows for natural light, controlling sound was a big consideration,” says Hammond. “So we installed 380 acoustic panels made from recycled denim. And to avoid the warehouse feel and celebrate our love of the outdoors, we created hanging sculptures by suspending retired bikes, kayaks, skis, snowboards and windsurfing sails from the ceiling.”

Fortunately for us, Clif Bar and Company aren’t stopping at what they have already accomplished. In the near future, they hope to continually implement more green initiatives to better their employees, the community and overall, the planet.

“By early next year, we anticipate we will generate nearly 100% of our office electricity from the “smart”-solar panels on our roof, and we are pursuing a LEED Platinum Certification,” explains Hammond. “ Beyond that, we’re focusing on further integrating our sustainability values into our supply chain, and on supporting organic, sustainable food and farming initiatives. To that end, we’ve launched a “Seed Matters” program through the Clif Bar Family Foundation to bring attention to the need for protecting and developing organic seed, the foundation of a sustainable food future. “

For more information on Clif Bar and Company or what positive impacts they are making on the world, visit their web site at, http://www.clifbar.com/

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Devon grew up in Burlington Ontario. Joining the Greener Ideal team in the fall of 2010, Devon hopes his chances of evoking new ideas with his writing will take off from here.

“I think there’s a lot of work to be done in this world, and if not now, then when?”