By Eric Baugh, Building Services Manager
In April of 2014, LPL Financial opened its 13-story, 415,000-square-foot La Jolla Commons office tower in University Town Center. The building consolidated LPL’s 1,700 San Diego employees–who had been split among seven separate office buildings–into one new state-of-the-art facility. LPL demonstrated a commitment to sustainability in building the tower, while also focused on creating a premier work environment for employees.
LPL’s office at La Jolla Commons is believed to be the largest net-zero energy commercial office building in the United States. Three Bloom Energy fuel cells work day and night to convert gas into electricity, and any unused electricity is pushed back to the grid through San Diego Gas & Electric. The fuel cells work hand in hand with a number of energy efficient systems to reduce LPL’s overall power consumption. The entire facility is outfitted with LED lighting that automatically dims based off of available natural light. One of the more unique parts of the facility is the HVAC components, which are placed in the ground instead of the ceiling of each floor. The floors of the tower are all raised so HVAC can shoot the air toward the ceiling in order to help cool the building more efficiently. Air ducts throughout the facility can be adjusted at personal workspaces for individual comfort. This technology has earned a LEED Platinum designation for this facility while also greatly reducing utility costs.
LPL’s Culture of Sustainability
On top of energy-saving technology, LPL encourages its employees to embrace a sustainable culture. Near the cafeteria, a “Green Wall” displays sustainability facts. In addition, there are recycling reminders throughout the building. Each floor has recycling receptacles, and employees volunteer as Sustainability Champions to develop new ways to demonstrate sustainable practices in the workplace and to encourage others to be engaged in those programs.
Employee Wellbeing Is a Focus
LPL also made an investment in its employees when it created the workplace, understanding that employee wellbeing is an important component to attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry. The facility boasts a number of amenities including an on-site gym, health center, cafeteria, game room, and even its own Starbucks. The gym comprises a large portion of the first floor and features free weights, medicine balls, barbells, multiple types of cardio equipment, TRX and two wellness professionals to help employees work toward their fitness goals.
Also housed on the first floor is a health center. A nurse practitioner is available to see patients either by appointment or as a walk-in. LPL also provides a number of other health and wellness related programs out of the health center including a massage service that is open every Friday to employees for a small fee.
In addition to providing health and wellness facilities, there is a game room for employees to use. The game room features a number of arcade games, a ping pong table, foosball and some of the newer game consoles. This is coupled with outdoor amenities, including basketball hoops, horseshoes, bocce ball, whiffle ball, a driving range and large grass park in front of the entrance, providing LPL employees numerous ways to relax and unwind at the facility.
Convenience and comfort
On the other side of the first floor is the cafeteria area. The cafeteria is open for breakfast in the morning, followed by a lunch menu to make sure employees can have easy access to meals throughout the work day. Employees are given a number of different options for food including items from the grill, a salad bar, pizza, pasta and deli options, and more. Also, in the cafeteria are drinks along with grab and go options for a quick snack. Seating is adjacent to the cafeteria in diner-style booths. There is also an onsite Starbucks near the entrance of the facility for easy access, just steps from the elevators.
To further convenience LPL’s employees, most of the floors are equipped with a break area. These areas feature microwaves, refrigerators, coffee machines, a sink area, a lounge area and vending machines. Nearly every floor in the facility is equipped with one of these breakrooms in order to provide employees easy access. Most floors have large open floorplans with small conference rooms along the interior of the floor, where employees can hold a small meeting or retreat to for a quiet space to work. For large meetings or trainings, the second floor is equipped with eight large classrooms to support the entire facility.
LPL has created a state-of-the-art facility that supports employee wellbeing while also using practices and technology to limit the impact on the environment. The company is demonstrating the same commitment to employees and the environment with the creation of its Carolinas campus in Fort Mill, S.C., which opens this fall.