Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.
An in-depth glance of the winning real estate projects is listed below, followed by a list of the additional winners and finalists.
Commercial Green Building Award
Winner: Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center
Owner: Museum of Northern Arizona
General Contractor: Kinney Construction Services
Architect: Roberts | Jones and Associates
Completed: June 2009
Recognized for being an exemplary public green building, the 17,282-square-foot sustainable repository houses thousands of objects comprising the anthropological, biological and fine art collections of the Flagstaff museum. Architects Jim Roberts of Roberts | Jones and Associates and Project Manager Mike Thomas of Kinney Construction Services (KCS) approached the project with LEED Platinum Certification in mind.
Green strategies included appropriated solar orientation; exterior walls, key interior walls and floors constructed of high-thermal mass materials; extensive use of insulation; energy efficient heating and cooling systems; energy efficient window systems; extensive green living roof system; water conservation plumbing systems; sustainable landscaping; day-lighting and a 13 kW photovoltaic array roof installation. The Museum of Northern Arizona has a “green power contract,” under which 50 percent of all electricity purchased for the building will come from renewable sources.
The building was constructed of locally manufactured masonry, stone and concrete, produced from locally-extracted materials. Exterior wood siding is reclaimed lumber from a decommissioned railroad trestle in the Great Salt Lake area. Additionally, 78 percent of all construction waste was reused or recycled. All salvageable materials from the demolition of the four existing buildings were recycled or diverted for reuse. The calculated amount of CO2 reduction is approximately 49,970 pounds.
Finalist: Queen Creek Branch Library
Owner: Town of Queen Creek
General Contractor: CORE Construction
Architect: Dick & Fritsche Design Group
The LEED Gold library is the first municipal building constructed under the Town of Queen Creek’s Green Building Policy. This library represents the successful implementation of the new policy by not only reaching the required minimum LEED Certification, but also by achieving a Gold rating on the same budget. The project achieved a 53 percent energy use reduction according to the ASHRAE 90.1 model. The amounts to a 446,987 kWh per year savings, or almost 10 kWh saved per square foot. That amounts to 321 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in energy savings alone. The project also includes solar reflective roofing, 33 percent water efficiency through low-water-use fixtures and an average of 22 percent recycled content using local materials. More than 80 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
Owner: City of Tucson
General Contractor: Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Architect: Swaim Associates Architects
The 10,430-square-foot center in Tucson achieved LEED Platinum and serves as the Tucson Zoological Society’s center for education and community outreach. More than 50 percent of the original structure was recycled, including the site’s bamboo plants, which were integrated into the center’s perimeter fencing and gates, or to feed the zoo’s animals. The facility incorporates both passive and active rainwater harvesting systems, commercial grey water systems, low-water-use fixtures and other alternative and sustainable building materials. The building’s overall energy savings is 75 percent, including the solar water heating system that provides 100 percent of the building’s domestic hot water supply; and photovoltaic arrays that generate 48 percent of the facility’s energy needs. It is the first LEED Platinum project at any zoo or aquarium in the world.
Green Schools Excellence Award K-12
Agua Fria UHSD is one of the first districts in the state to apply green concepts to its building program and the classroom. The high school district is recognized as an exemplary piece of efficient design and sustainable best practices.
Milestone celebrations for the district include two LEED-Certified High Schools — Desert Edge High School and Verrado High School, both constructed by Adolfson & Peterson Construction — which were certification firsts for Arizona. These schools’ efforts included infrastructure conservation, curbing heat island effects, night sky and protected ecosystems, and conservation of resources for the state and local community.
The LEED for School pilot program, which encompasses the district’s operations and maintenance, was tested on Agua Fria in order to troubleshoot the program and find areas of refinement by USGBC. Other sustainable practices by the district included ozone depletion, recycling programs, green cleaning and light pollution reduction.
Finalist: Washington Elementary School District
Washington Elementary School District consists of 32 school campuses with three administrative locations covering 44 square miles. The District serves 24,000 elementary school students, and in spring 2008 the District agreed to benchmark its facilities for energy efficiency. The goal was to conserve 10 percent in electric, natural gas, water and solid waste consumption District-wide over the course of a year. Achieving this goal would save the District $610,000 or more in fiscal year 2009. “Energy Violation Tickets” were used in an effort to remind students and school staff to keep sustainability in mind during daily operations and maintenance. At the end of the year, the District conserved 6.6 million kWh of electricity with a savings of $743,000; natural gas savings of 8,661 therms for $18,340; and solid waste savings of $125,000.
Green Schools Excellence Award Higher Education
Winner: Arizona State University
Arizona State University was the first higher education institution in the state — as well as the country — to open a School of Sustainability that focuses on educating students about alternative energy, waste reduction, water and land conservation. In 2004, ASU created the Global Institute of Sustainability to serve as a hub for all of the university’s sustainability initiatives in research, education, outreach and business practices.
Since 2005, all new university-owned buildings are required to be certified LEED Silver or better. ASU currently has 21 LEED Silver or better certified buildings, including the first Platinum-certified building in Arizona. Additionally, the university’s solar initiative has installed 2.04 MW of photovoltaic power on the Tempe campus so far, with plans for 10 MW of solar power capacity by the end of 2010.
Finalist: Rio Salado College
The college has adopted several measures to “think green” and beyond. Rio Salado College’s view of sustainability includes the socio-cultural, environmental and economic dynamics essential to making sustainability bearable, equitable and viable.
During the 2007-2008 academic year, Rio Salado launched a major initiative in support of the global sustainability movement, which included becoming a chapter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In October 2009, Rio Salado College was named a winner of America’s Greenest Campus contest. The winnings were used to develop a community garden for the Sustainable Food Systems Program and the new Cafe @ Rio.