Sustainable Building Week Tour Recap

The Sustainable Building Week of San Diego was a week full of education and inspiration. Some of the best parts of the week took place while connecting with the community. What we learned is that we can promote sustainability through planting, art and so much more.

We wanted to learn about the community we are a part of, so we took part in a few tours that we think you will enjoy learning about. Perhaps we will inspire you to go out there and visit yourself. 

First we started with the Everde Growers-Nursery Tour. This Nursery is a wholesaler of native plants that are excellent for water conservation landscaping.  The first impression is how HUGE the Nursery really is! It includes all kinds of native plants like succulents, sensory plants, and plants for pollinators like bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.  The tour started with observing all the different plants they offer for native landscaping. This even included plants from Austral Asia since that climate is much like San Diego’s. Following this, Suzi, the tour guide, explained some best practices on how to start a native, water conservation garden in residential homes.  This included how to best use mulch to prevent water loss and weed control.  Suzi also showed how to group plants based on the kind of water needs the plants have so as not to over or under water them.  

We also visited the Water Conservation Garden. With Pam and Rich as their guides SBW participants explored the many exhibits of the Water Conservation Garden.  This included rainwater harvesting systems, native plant gardens, edible plant gardens, and plants specifically suited for urban agriculture.  The tour also included a garden of plants used by the Indigenous people of the Kumeyaay Nation.  The water conservation garden has had a long relationship with the Kumeyaay and they strive to educate visitors about how they cultivated their gardens and the plants to feed themselves.  Every exhibit had great educational signage about the plants, their environments and history.  The Conservation Garden also has an irrigation and bioswale exhibit to educate the public about stormwater management and irrigation best practices.  

Another wonderful tour we took a part of was the AIA Tour-Liberty Station Arts District. Did you know that the building that houses the San Diego Watercolor Society and other museums has an olympic sized pool underneath the ground floor?  Or that the old underground steam pipes, that heated the barracks when navy recruits roamed liberty station, are still monitored and guarded by US Navy Security?  These are some of the interesting facts that Christopher Bittner, the principle of OBR Architecture, shared on this tour of the Liberty Station Art District buildings he has overseen the renovation of since 1996.  Christopher discussed strategies of keeping the original feel of the buildings while retrofitting them to be usable art, dance, museum and office spaces.  He also discussed future plans for buildings still waiting to be retrofitted like a large theater space, boutique hotel and a bed and breakfast that used to house officers.  The only thing slowing the pace is funding. It is a large task for a 501(c)(3) to find the millions of dollars to make these projects happen.  Slowly but surely these old Navy buildings will be transformed like the others Christopher has managed into amazing additions to the Liberty Station Arts District.

Want to get involved:

Don’t miss out the Water Conservation Garden Spring Fling May 7th to see all the exhibits and the butterfly cocoons in the butterfly garden.

Watch our Sustainable Building Week Recordings here!

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