EnviroCitizen.org knows that getting the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification is not easy. The LEED program incorporates 69 factors into their certification and not one building in the world has achieved all 69 points to date. The Ranch House at Del Sur is the second-highest rated LEED building in the United States and is one of less than 30 buildings in the world to receive Platinum certification.
The Ranch House at Del Sur is the welcome and information center for the Del Sur community in San Diego, California. The community is a green community that focuses on sustainability. During planning and the construction process, the Ranch House was designed and built to incorporate every possible aspect of sustainability into the building. They considered land use, building design and construction, road layout, paving materials and practically everything else that you can think of. Their innovation was rewarded with 59 out of the 69 possible points for their LEED Platinum certification.
The Ranch House at Del Sur is widely viewed as an example to people throughout the United States for its sustainable features. They are hoping to be a model for green community projects throughout the country, too. The Ranch House at Del Sur and the Del Sur homes in the community were designed and built with the greenest features available. Energy efficient appliances were installed in all of the homes and the landscape utilizes weather-based irrigation and low-water plant palettes. The solar photovoltaic system that sits on top of the Ranch House at Del Sur generates about half of the building's energy needs, utilizing natural lighting and efficient duct work to reduce its energy needs. In combination with these features and wind credits, the Ranch House at Del Sur is a net-zero energy consumption building.
Everything about this building is green. During the construction of the Ranch House at Del Sur, the vast majority of the construction waste, about 90%, was recycled. The floors are made from cork, a very eco-friendly material, the countertops are made from sunflower husks, the cabinets and ceilings were made from wheat waste and recycled timber was used in the flooring and ceilings. The driveway leading to the Ranch House at Del Sur was made from porous concrete to help with storm-water runoff and to help rainwater filter into the ground. Electric vehicles are used by the staff and alternative transportation is celebrated by giving carpoolers the best parking spots. Bike racks are also featured right outside the door.
The Del Sur community has won numerous awards because of their eco-friendly features, including the 2006 Smart Growth Project Award, the 2007 Sustainable Community of the Year and the 2007 Sustainable Communities Champion. The Ranch House at Del Sur will certainly, in EnviroCitizen.org's estimation, be a model for future builders to follow. It incorporates sustainability and green building practices that make a whole lot of eco-friendly sense.