By DAVE FIDLIN | Downtown News
A piece of a large-scale development taking root in Downtown San Diego recently garnered attention for its green-friendly features and, in the process, has notched bragging rights.
The U.S. Green Building Council, an organization promoting sustainable building design, construction and operations plans, has certified the Block D component of the Makers Quarter site in East Village with an LEED Platinum designation.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a metric used to gauge green features in buildings. There are multiple LEED certification levels, based on a point system.
Projects garnering 40-49 points, for example, are deemed LEED Certified, while those with 50-59 points attain LEED Silver status. On the upper end is LEED Gold, 60-79 points, and at the top level, LEED Platinum, which requires 80 points and up.
Developers have been touting Block D as the first multi-tenant commercial office building to emerge in Downtown San Diego in more than a decade.
But the LEED Platinum certification is another first for the area, said Mary Pampuch of Lankford & Associates. Pampuch and her firm are named co-developers of Makers Quarter, including the Block D portion of the site.
“We’re obviously very happy with the way it turned out,” Pampuch said. “I’m very pleased that we were able to achieve that level of status.”
As it turned out, Block D earned exactly 80 points in the U.S. Green Building Council’s review of the site — the minimum needed to reach the coveted, rarified top-level certification. Although numbers continue to fluctuate, and climb upward, information from the council states there are about 7,000 buildings with the Platinum status.
Planning Block D was done with the Platinum certification in mind, Pampuch said in an interview with Downtown News, though the confirmation still was gratifying.
“There were several design elements that we used, taking advantage of San Diego weather in the process,” Pampuch said.
Some of the most prominent examples of the green-friendly designs, she said, are the installation of a natural ventilation system throughout Block D’s confines.
Whenever possible, Pampuch said cutting-edge technology was integrated into the building design. Internet of Things, or IoT, infrastructure, for example, is used to power the blinds throughout the complex. Solar power, she said, is also used to its maximum.
“It’s resulted in a more efficient mechanical system,” Pampuch said.
A peek at the U.S. Green Building Council’s scorecard of Block D reveals where the building excelled. For example, the project had high marks in the energy and atmosphere category, receiving 35 of 37 possible points. The project also notched five of 10 possible points in the area of water efficiency.
From her vantage point, Pampuch said she believes other projects in the region, including Downtown, will follow in Block D’s footsteps.
“I expect that there will be several that will come after us,” she said, pointing to long-term savings and technology as reasons.
Block D, a 60,000-square-foot building, is largely comprised of office space, though other features are also included in the plans, including street-level retail and restaurant sites. Two new ground-level tenants on tap in the year ahead include Blackmarket Bakery and Tailored Hair.
Other developments within Makers Quarter include Block A, which has been described as a mixed-use lifestyle-focused center and Block C, a high-rise corporate development.
Developers such as Pampuch and Stacey Pennington, the urban planner helming Makers Quarter, have touted Makers Quarter as a place where San Diego’s entrepreneurs and creative people can come together, collaborate and innovate.
In a statement on the visioning behind Makers Quarter, Pennington said she believes it will be transformative in the years and decades to come because of the thoughtful steps being taken to foster economic growth.
“It’s the future of San Diego,” Pennington said. “It’s the future of this mega region.”
— Dave Fidlin is a freelance journalist with a special affinity for San Diego and its people. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.