Homes are being designed with an emphasis on energy conservation and sustainability.
Homes are being designed with an emphasis on energy conservation and sustainability.
SAN DIEGO — While Civita’s residents are still settling in, the 230-acre Mission Valley urban village is living up to its promise to become a model of sustainability and energy efficiency.

“Recent technological advances are enabling us to select from a vast array of sustainable techniques and practices that are new to the marketplace,” said Marco A. Sessa, senior vice president, Sudberry Properties, who is spearheading the urban infill development.

“We’re collaborating with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to make Civita a ‘smart energy community,’ and incorporate an array of innovative technologies, such as energy generation by using fuel cells, solar arrays, and electric vehicle charging stations. Smart grid technologies may allow portions of Civita to operate independently of the grid and keep electricity flowing to critical parts of the community during outages, according to SDG&E,” said Sessa.

Homes and commercial buildings at Civita are all being designed with an emphasis on energy conservation and sustainability. Homebuilders must specify Energy Star appliances and exceed California’s current and stringent Title 24 energy requirements by 15 percent.

Sudberry Properties has even topped that at Circa 37, the first apartment neighborhood in Civita. It is almost 20 percent more energy efficient than required by the state. Sudberry achieved this through a variety of measures, including use of high-efficiency HVAC systems, energy-efficient lighting and windows, a 145 kW solar array that provides 80 percent of the common area electricity consumption, and “cool roofs” that minimize heat transfer.

Street lighting at Circa 37 and throughout Civita features light-emitting diode (LED) technology. A recent article reported that such LED street lights can deliver electricity savings of up to 85 percent over conventional lighting.

“Civita will use 50 percent less water per person than traditional suburban developments,” said Sessa, noting that it will be considerably more water efficient than required by code thanks to its compact development and water-saving innovations. The community’s high-efficiency irrigation system relies on computerized weather-based control systems to minimize water use and Civita will be augmenting its water supply with reclaimed water.

“Every aspect of the community is being studied from a sustainability point of view,” said Sessa. “The majority of storm water runoff from residential areas in Civita and parts of Serra Mesa will be directed to a unique bioswale system in Civita’s central park. The bioswale, which has the appearance of a natural streambed, will remove silt and pollution from the runoff through natural biofiltration.”

Called “a perfect model for the future growth of the region” in a recent New York Times article, Civita has already earned regional and national recognition for its sustainability, smart growth, and environmental leadership, including California’s Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA).

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Publication date: 9/23/2013

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