San Pasqual Academy Achieves LEED Platinum


As the nation’s only residential campus for foster youth, the County’s San Pasqual Academy is often distinguished for unique social and educational achievements.

But on Tuesday, the Escondido school also was honored for an elite environmental achievement: LEED Platinum certification for its 30 new housing units.

LEED—or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—Platinum certification represents the highest standard of “green” building. Only seven other buildings in the region are LEED Platinum certified, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

“This is a very prestigious and well-deserved award,” said the Green Building Council’s Jennifer Owens in an award presentation to the Board of Supervisors.

Owens explained that the U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit that encourages sustainable buildings by promoting the “most rigorous building standards offered throughout the U.S.”

A County policy says all new buildings will be LEED certified. Owens commended the County’s commitment to sustainability and green building, noting the County has gone from two LEED buildings in in 2010 to 24 today. They include the LEED Gold Ramona Library, the LEED Gold buildings at the County Operations Center, and the LEED Platinum San Elijo Nature Center.

“This is continuing proof that San Diego County knows how to do it right,” said Chairman Bill Horn, who accepted the award.

Board Vice-Chairman Ron Roberts and Supervisor Greg Cox, who have steadily supported the 10-year-old San Pasqual Academy, stood next to Horn during the presentation.

High efficiency climate and ventilation systems, cool metal roofs, low flow plumbing, energy efficient appliances and lighting and drought resistant landscaping are some of the sustainable features of the buildings honored Tuesday.

Built to replace housing that was destroyed by wildfire, the new residences were finished in October.

In 2007, the Witch Creek Fire forced foster youth and adults to evacuate San Pasqual Academy. When they returned, 29 structures on the campus had been destroyed.   

Legacy Building Services and its design-build team was the contractor on the rebuilding project, which also included new administration buildings expected to achieve LEED gold certification.

San Pasqual Academy is home and school to 130 foster youth, ages 12 to 18. The new housing, which includes one-bedroom cottages and attached and detached housing with up to three bedrooms, accommodates the alumni, transitional age foster youth, staff and volunteer “grandparents” who nurture and mentor students and make the school a community.