By Devika Garg, September 2015.

“Environmental stewardship is critical for the sustainability of our company and it’s also really important for our talent,” said Katie Ferrick, Senior Manager of Community Relations at LinkedIn. “People want to go to work for a company that has a good environmental reputation.” Ferrick also serves as Planning Commissioner for the City of Menlo Park with experience in local land use, and works with James Morgensen, Head of Global Workplaces at LinkedIn, to support the company’s growth in a sustainable way.

The world’s largest professional network is working to become an expert at connecting with the environment, and is partnering with Sustainable Silicon Valley towards the Net Positive agenda for sustainability. LinkedIn’s environment-friendly business practices range from not supplying bottled water in the office to the design of their newly acquired office space in Mountain View’s North Bayshore area.

Plan for LinkedIn’s New Campus on North Bayshore

LinkedIn’s new office campus, called Shoreline Commons, will encompass approximately 1.5 million square feet of office, retail and entertainment uses on a shared 25 acre assemblage of parcels owned by the Syufy family and LinkedIn. Each of the buildings will be built to LEED Platinum standards, the highest standard for green buildings. LEED standards include sustainable water and energy efficiency, high performance materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and design innovation.

“Ultimately we want to get to Net Zero,” Ferrick elaborated, “It will be challenging because it hasn’t been done for buildings of this size yet, but we know it will be possible over time.” This goal will be largely achieved by high efficiency standards in building, extensive solar PV arrays, geothermal conversion, and low water use landscaping. Onsite black water and gray water recycling are also on the menu.

Shoreline Commons will provide office space for the rapidly growing LinkedIn, but it will not be the typically ‘closed’ office campus. “The space will have shared resources, a more sustainable model for using land,” Ferrick said, “instead of just being a corporate campus that’s all lawn and closed up at night.” The campus will be ‘high-density and mixed-use’ with office buildings interweaving public green spaces, retail shops, a family athletic club, and a theatre.

“We’re very excited because we’re going to be able to stay headquartered in Mountain View, while working with the Syufy family to develop a new gathering place for the entire community of Mountain View,” Ferrick told me. Shoreline Commons draws inspiration from Vancouverism, integrating work and community spaces with bike and pedestrian-friendly walkways. Up to 49% of the entire site will be public space, including landscaped areas with drought-tolerant native plants, plazas, and walking paths.

“The City of Mountain View had a notable role to help inform LinkedIn’s sustainability plan by mandating high eco-standards in the North Bayshore Precise Plan,” Ferrick said. In this context, Shoreline Commons and Mountain View’s North Bayshore Precise Plan could guide the need for pushing rigorous pro-environmental policies across California.

“Reducing the amount of resources we use is imperative, we take it very seriously,” Ferrick said. “We need to keep figuring out ways to apply it towards all of our practices here at LinkedIn.” As part of their continued green efforts, the company has joined hands with BSR’s Future of Internet Power to get data center providers to use low-carbon energy sourcing.

LinkedIn is poised for growth in the Valley. Their guiding principle? As Ferrick puts it, “The goal is to support LinkedIn’s growth while being a positive to our communities, not just managing impacts on our communities.” We hope that LinkedIn’s community-driven and environmentally cognizant efforts light up the path for more corporations to follow in the Valley.