Pima County, Ariz. (August 19, 2011) – Pima County’s Building Safety and Sustainability Department is exporting its expertise in green building to the Phoenix area in the state’s Sun Corridor.
The County’s department is one of 39 LEED for Homes Providers in the nation and the only government jurisdiction to have this designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
LEED for Homes Providers certify homes and apartments in the LEED for Homes green building rating system. LEED is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Pima County’s Building Safety and Sustainability Department is working on a 65-unit affordable- housing project on Central Avenue in Phoenix. The project has access to the Phoenix light rail system and is anticipated expected to earn a Platinum level LEED Certification, the highest possible rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The Pima County Department is also working on a women’s shelter near Sacaton on the Gila Indian Reservation southeast of Chandler, and on two private homes in Scottsdale.
The Sun Corridor is an economic activity area the size of Indiana that extends from Prescott south to the Mexico border in Nogales
According to a report by the Sonoran Institute, “The Tucson homebuilding industry should be encouraged to build homes that are more appropriate for the Sonoran Desert – focused on both creating a distinctive design and appearance and promoting energy efficiency.”
The report notes that “Tucson already supports a small industry based on green building and renewable energy. . .Tucson can focus on exporting the materials and techniques of climate optimized architecture [to] Phoenix.”
“Exporting techniques” is exactly what Pima County Building Safety and Sustainability is doing.
By certifying LEED homes and apartments in Phoenix, Pima County’s Building Safety and Sustainability staff is exporting Tucson expertise, and at the same time gaining valuable experience that can benefit projects in the Tucson area.
Rich Franz-Under, the manager of Pima County’s Green Building Program, notes that “Project teams pay for all of the LEED For Homes services provided by (Pima County’s) Building Safety and Sustainability, so it truly is an export of expertise.”
What is LEED?
LEED certification assures homebuyers and residents that the home meets requirements for energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, non-toxic materials and environmental performance. That means locally produced materials and woods from certified sustainable forests are used whenever possible.
Homes that are certified through LEED complete a technically rigorous verification process that includes a home energy rating (HERS) and onsite inspections.
Lower home insurance rates, advantageous home financing, and government incentives may be available for owners of LEED-certified homes.
Who Can Help a Builder Go LEED?
Pima County’s Building Safety and Sustainability team is a LEED for Homes Provider, offering technical support and verification of compliance with LEED for Homes program throughout Arizona. For more information about LEED for Homes visit www.pimaXpress.com/green .
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a “sustainable built environment” within a generation. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 20,000 member companies and organizations and a comprehensive suite of LEED® green building certification systems. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies and nongovernment nonprofit organizations. All share the Council’s commitment to a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. For more information, please visit www.usgbc.org.
About LEED® for Homes
LEED® for Homes is a third-party certification system for building and designing high-performance green homes that are energy-and-resource-efficient and healthy for their occupants.
Developed and administered by USGBC, LEED for Homes awards points to projects in eight categories of environmental performance: Innovation and Design Process, Location and Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Awareness and Education. To date, more than 12,600 homes have been LEED-certified, and more than 59,000 are registered and under development. For more information, visit www.thegreenhomeguide.org.