Urban Corps of San Diego County
When the Orchids & Onions jury disembarked the bus at Urban Corps of San Diego, quite frankly, they… liked it. But as they toured, they became mesmerized. From the rooftop garden to the recycling center, and the eco-car wash with water reclamation technology limiting water runoff, the self-sustaining Urban Corps of San Diego educates and trains young adults in the fields of conservation, recycling and community service to assist them in becoming more employable, while protecting San Diego’s natural resources and instilling the importance of community involvement. The jury felt that “sometimes you win an Orchid for having a great design, or sometimes for an even better philosophy.” Everyone on the jury recognized that this building trains, educates and practices what it teaches, and deemed it overwhelmingly worthy of an Orchid.
- Project Address: 3127 Jefferson Street, San Diego, CA 92110-4422
- Project Owner/ Developer: Urban Corps of San Diego County
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: Sam Duranemail@example.com
- Project Architect/ Designer: Michael Palmer/MPA Architects
After three years of construction, the dust has settled at Urban Corps of San Diego County’s three building campus in mid-city which includes two soon-to-be-LEED® Certified buildings. The result is a state-of-the-art campus loaded with green features which serves as a model of sustainable building, working & living practices. Urban Corps provides job training & education to youth in the fields of conservation, recycling, & community service, so what better place to do that than in these sustainably designed buildings! Building materials were chosen for their recycled & renewable content as well as those with low amounts of hazardous chemicals, which help reduce air pollution and create a safe, enjoyable environment. Most furniture was donated, saving money & raw materials. In the classrooms, one server powers all work stations, eliminating the need for personal computers, saving energy & reducing heat output. Solar tubes capture natural light from the roof & channel it to offices so lights are rarely needed. When lights are on, motion sensors detect inactivity & turn off. Windows open, providing fresh air, minimizing the use of AC, saving money and energy, and providing a wonderful location in which to work & learn.Other green elements include aerated faucets & low-flow toilets that help save water & energy; native and near native plants help reduce water; and special drains filter storm water for debris, removing contaminants before runoff enters watersheds. The Community Training Room features a 23-kilowatt SDG&E-owned solar system which provides clean renewable energy to the neighborhood. The adjacent green vehicle wash includes water reclamation technology to filter soap & debris for water reuse & prevent dirty runoff. The newly constructed Recycling ECO Center is dedicated to conservation education & includes a rooftop garden, conveyer belt & compactor machine to train youth on sustainable living & the recycling process. The garden features drought tolerant plants & an “edible wall.” A rainwater capture system, composting & vermi-posting support the garden. The garden provides a hands-on learning space while creating a sustainable green landscape.The completion of the green campus is quite a feat given the vast blend of public & private funders that joined forces to accomplish the shared vision. As the Corpsmembers work to change their lives, this progressive environment.