Earlier this year the Ranch House at Del Sur, the information center for the master-planned community in north San Diego, became the first private enterprise building in California to receive Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Responsible for planning and designing the Ranch House was Bill Dumka, senior vice president of Black Mountain Ranch LLC, which is developing Del Sur.
"He's really taken a leadership role in terms of new sustainable building," said Fred Mass, president of Black Mountain who has worked with Dumka during the past 20 years.
Years before "green" building would become trendy with developers and consumers, Dumka began the quest for LEED certification in the mid 1990s, while serving as the lead consultant during the preliminary planning and approval phases of Del Sur.
During preliminary planning it became clear to Dumka that sustainable and green building construction methods needed to be incorporated as design standards for the community.
"We made the decision to build the Ranch House as an example" of the environmental features that would be incorporated into many Del Sur homes, Dumka said. The house is not only the first private enterprise platinum LEED building in California, but the only platinum-rated building in San Diego.
The LEED rating system is organized as a set of 34 credits and seven prerequisites, together worth a total of 69 points.
Points are awarded to projects based on six key areas: 14 possible points for sustainable site development, five points for water savings, 17 points for energy efficiency, 13 points for materials selection, 15 points for indoor environmental quality, and five points for innovation and design process.
The Ranch House received 59 out of 69 points. The house incorporates efficient appliances, weather-based irrigation, low water landscaping, a photovoltaic (PV) energy system that provides about half the building's power and a porous concrete driveway that aids with groundwater filtration.
Additionally, 89 percent of the construction waste at the house was recycled, and materials were reused onsite where possible.
"We got carried away (in terms of design and landscape)," Dumka said.
Aside from the Ranch House, this year Dumka's responsibilities at Black Mountain have included management of project consultants and discretionary approvals, as required to develop the entire community of Del Sur.
Currently there are 250 occupied homes and 200 occupied rental units within Del Sur. Additionally, Black Mountain has sold some raw lots of land to builders, according to Dumka. However, 500 new lots are still available.
With the amount of raw developable lots at a premium in the city of San Diego, these 500 lots represent one of the last opportunities for master plan homebuilders to construction single-family product in the city.
The next construction stage at Del Sur will include a town center and retail center.
The entire Black Mountain Ranch community is planned to include 3,050 dwellings, 650,000 square feet of commercial/office space, a resort hotel, golf course, schools, parks and other public facilities.