Photos: Opower’s Sweet Offices in Courthouse

by ARLnow.com March 21, 2012 at 10:44 am 9,760 35 Comments

The D.C. digs of LivingSocial may have been voted one of the “World’s Coolest Offices,” but Arlington’s own Opower may be giving them a run for their money.

The five-year-old company, which works with utility providers to help consumers become more energy efficient, occupies two floors of an office building in the Courthouse neighborhood. The offices are reminiscent of a Silicon Valley internet startup, complete with fish tanks, scooters, remote control helicopters, Lego sets, inside-jokey signs, a teleconferencing robot, and — of course — copious amounts of free food and caffeinated beverages.

Opower was founded in Arlington in 2007 by two long-time friends, Dan Yates and Alex Laskey. Since then the company has experienced rapid growth. In 2010, when President Obama paid the offices a well-publicized visit, the company had about 75 employees. Today it has 240 employees, about 200 of which are in the Arlington office. The rest are at branch offices, including offices in San Francisco and London.

The company has been on a furious hiring spree, and they’re still looking for new employees, especially computer engineers. We’re told Opower has about 50 active job postings right now, and they’re hoping to hire a total of 100 new employees in 2012 alone. The hiring drive is evident in the offices: rows of empty desks can be seen, awaiting new occupants, and posters advertise a chance to win a free Vespa for helping to refer a new hire.

Also evident around the office: the company’s desire for an initial public stock offering. Each employee has a bottle of Champagne at their desk, to be popped open when an IPO is announced. Employees of the fast-growing firm, especially those who were hired early on, stand to gain big should an IPO take place.

Opower’s services reach about 10 million households, according to the company. The services reduce electricity consumption by an average of 2 to 4 percent — a total savings of one terrawatt since the company first launched.

More photos, after the jump.

  • drax

    This is where the Clarendouche breed.

    Nice company with a nice mission though.

  • hoooos

    Bottles of Veuve sitting around on the desks of these glorified teenagers to be opened when they can cash out and go back to playing legos and video games? I’ll be sure to pass on the IPO allotment.

  • Rebecca

    Yum, processed foods!

  • JamesE

    Looks like a nice company with good goals but all their “Computer Engineering” listings are for database and web development work.

  • Transplant

    Meh, I much prefer my big office with bookshelves, and a door that I can close when I get annoyed by people (which is always)

  • Josh S

    I don’t know, but I wonder if all the toys and gadgets and stuff sort of negate some of the energy savings they have achieved for their clients?

    Do they pay attention to that?

    • drax

      Is this a business or a daycare facility?

  • CW

    It is interested and well documented that people will give up more value than that of a perk just to get said perk. Like how people will do stupid things just to get tax deductions that are worth less than what it costs to do that thing, or spend extra to get a credit card reward. Even if they pay competitively, it’s pretty amazing to see the power of a ping-pong table and 50 centrs worth of free cereal a day in attracting talent…

    • Tabs

      would you like a cup holder with that?

  • ArlingtonWay

    Know a guy who works there. They seem very focused on having a particular culture. Fine, I guess. Doesn’t change the fact that in the end, all that will matter is the bottom line.

  • Hope

    Sounds like a great place for us free thinkers. Looks like they might value a good employee. Too bad the open positions are not more for a finance or account manager. I would love to walk to work. Congrats to them.

    • HayCaramba

      dude, you’re a barista…

  • Pablo

    Believe it or not, when washingtonpost.com was based in Arlington, there were swank offices, free drinks, stylish lounges, London-style phone booths, Foosball tables, peanut-butter-and-jelly bars, really nice Christmas gifts and a whole lot more.

    Any guesses why that all ended?

    • Hope

      Newspaper sales are down.

    • Civil in Arl

      Print is dead

      • drax

        washingtonpost.COM. Note the use of a URL specifying a distinct lack of use of paper or ink.

    • NoVapologist

      A sexual harassment lawsuit based on an incident inside the London style phone booth involving a foosball, peanut butter and jelly, and a whole lot more?

    • Ed

      A ghost from 1912?

    • Doctor Who

      They all got into the London Phone box and wound up in another time and place.
      Hopefully one where people valued journalism

      • Tardis

        You’re hitting a little close to home here. Any closer and I’m going to have the Daleks confiscate your 12-foot scarf.



  • JB

    Saving power, and helping to make the road to adulthood even longer. I’d love to see an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine’s dad stops by this office.

    • SomeGuy

      I don’t recall ever seeing Elaine’s parents in a Seinfeld episode.

      • Dan

        Her father was in one episode.
        He was supposed to be be a renowned author.

      • JB

        Alton Benes: Which one’s supposed to be the funny guy?
        George Costanza: Oh, he’s the comedian.
        Jerry Seinfeld: I’m just a regular person.
        George Costanza: No, no. He’s just being modest.
        Alton Benes: We had a funny guy with us in Korea. A tailgunner. They blew his brains out all over the Pacific. There’s nothing funny about that!

        • OldTimer

          Alton in car on way home singing song from Les Miserables that George put in his head… “Master of the house doling out the charm, ready with a handshake and an open palm..”

          • drax

            Damn you, OldTimer.

    • JamesE

      Looks like the perfect office for David Puddy.

      • Tabs

        high five

      • nom de guerre

        Or Vandelay Industries.

        • OldTimer


  • Lou

    If they want to have a measurable impact I could put them to work helping me replace my old drafty windows instead of riding around on scooters and playing ping pong all day. This sends the message to me that these people shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    • Lou

      I tend to disagree with this comment. I remember back in the high flying pre dotcom bubble when webMethods was just getting their first HQ set up out by Fair Oaks. We designed their offices and the emphasis was on this type of free space, we even included a huge game room with pool tables. They were kind of pioneering that type of office environment around here.

      Nice group of people. They had their IPO just about the time the construction was done, and they were even happier after that. Might have even bought some shares myself, ahem.

    • Maria

      Haven’t you ever had a day at work where you thought, “if I have to sit here/do this/talk to this person/whatever for one more second, I’m going to lose it?” Sometimes people, I don’t know, need breaks, and why not provide something fun for them to do to physically re-energize instead of just going out and smoking or getting coffee? If it was all they did all day long, I would agree, but I’m guessing it isn’t.

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    RE: Picture 25

    Is anything happening yet on the Dremo’s/Taco Bell site? Whenever I go by there it sort of looks like they’ve moved some dirt around, but I’m not sure.

  • Henry Spencer

    Looks like the office of Entertainment 720, but without the models and free iPads.


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