~Photo by Carol Sonstein

Administrators, students and their families gathered last month at Del Sur Elementary School to plant 13 trees in honor of Earth Day 2010.

The 13 Bottle trees were donated by developer Black Mountain Ranch LLC and three guest builders: Shea Homes, Standard Pacific Homes and William Lyon Homes.

“Del Sur was founded on many of the principals we celebrate each Earth Day,” said Bill Ostrem, president and CEO of Black Mountain Ranch LLC. “It is gratifying to see how passionately the next generation not only continues but also expands on those ideals.

Del Sur Elementary School is considered one of the most technologically progressive and “green” facilities in the Poway Unified School District, according to the Del Sur developer — with construction that emphasizes high-tech, Earth-friendly building and design practices in tandem with quality craftsmanship and historical San Diego architectural styles. The school is registered with the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), a nationwide green rating program especially designed for K-12 schools. The goal of CHPS is to facilitate the construction of schools that not only are energy- and resource-efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lighted and containing the amenities for a quality education.

To help complete the installation of the trees, Del Sur Elementary students added mulch as part of their Earth Day curriculum. The mulch was recycled from construction lumber on-site at Del Sur. Eventually, Del Sur expects to process onsite approximately 9,000 cubic yards of excess lumber, 4,000 cubic yards of concrete, and 1,500 cubic yards of drywall within the next few months. The recycled materials will be reused throughout the Del Sur community.

The Del Sur recycling program is only one component of the environmentally sustainable design, construction and living practices that are a core component of the development. In addition, at least 20 percent of homes must include photovoltaic (solar) energy systems, and nearly every home at Del Sur will have a tankless water heater and weather-based satellite irrigation system. Community-wide, at least 50 percent of the landscaping is native or drought-tolerant, and reclaimed water is used for irrigation.

More information about the various green building practices at Del Sur is available online at http://www.delsurliving.com.