Tag Archives: arizona sustainability

Arizona Solar Center, Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

Arizona Solar Center Hosts Solar Lecture Series

Making your home energy efficient and sustainable will help the environment and your pocketbook in the long run. But, knowing how and where to begin can be a daunting task with the different types of green technology. You may ask, what is the difference between passive solar and active solar? Should I build or remodel with earthen plaster or straw bales? How much can I save by using these sustainable adaptations in my home? To help you out, the Arizona Solar Center is hosting a solar lecture series on home improvement that is free and open to the public.

These questions will be answered during the Arizona Solar Center’s Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability on October 20 and the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours October 22 & 23.

Arizona Solar Center Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

President of the Arizona Solar Center, Dan Aiello, is excited to have Mick Dalrymple, from the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, host the Solar and Sustainability lecture on October 20. Dalrymple will discuss sustainable modifications and renovations that he implemented on his own home, such as the incorporating green building materials, equipment and lighting. Dalrymple’s goal is to attain zero energy dependency, Aiello says.

“[Dalrymple] has a bunch of examples that people can relate to because we all live in something,” Aiello says. “His presentation will be, ‘this is what I did, this is why I did this, and this worked and this didn’t work.’ [The lecture] is something people can come to and take information away on what’s appropriate for the desert, energy efficient and environmentally appropriate.”

The lecture will lead into the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours that weekend. The tour’s downloadable guide will be available on the Arizona Solar Center website. The sites on the tour will include:

  • An artist’s studio/residence in Mesa created from recycled materials,
  • The upper part of the loft is constructed from an old Volkswagen bus,
  • Scottsdale homes that include passive/active solar technologies,
  • Water catchment,
  • Straw bale constructions, and
  • Green architecture, as well as homes in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe.

“If we plan our buildings right we get enough sun [in Arizona], even in the winter, to warm our houses,” Aiello says. “We can use the sun to heat water; generate electricity or any number of things.”

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Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability – My Way – with Mick Dalrymple

Thursday, October 20, 2011
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

2011 Valley of the Sun – Tour of Solar and Sustainable Buildings

Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23, 2011
8 a.m.

Location:
City of Scottsdale Granite Reef Facility
Granite Reef Rd., just north of the intersection of Granite Reef and McDowell roads

Free and open to the public.

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Check out the Arizona Solar Center events calendar for more information on the upcoming solar lecture series and solar tour as well as other events.

 

Phoenix, Arizona Sustainability Reports

Arizona Sustainability Report: How Well Is The State Doing?

Phoenix and Arizona Sustainability: How does Arizona fare when it comes to being green?
The Good, the Bad and the Dirty

It seems like every week there’s a new list or report being published. So it’s hard to keep track of how our region is faring, and it’s even more challenging to cull what’s credible and what’s not.

That said, I’m particularly interested in how we’re doing from an environmental standpoint. Based on recent reports, Phoenix has been ranking fairly well in most categories, including green jobs, solar installations and overall sustainability factors. But our metropolitan area still has some setbacks with high pollution ratings.

Arizona, overall, doesn’t appear to be doing as well. Ironically, the state as a whole is not ranking as high on similar lists as the Valley. For example, Phoenix was ranked in the top 10 sustainable U.S. metro areas by Site Selection magazine in its “Green Guide 2011” last month. Site Selection Sustainability Rankings were derived from a unique index of data ranging from the overall size of the green industry to the level of incentives available to support green projects. Arizona as a state did not even make the magazine’s top 10 list.

In the jobs department, a recent list shows Greater Phoenix ranked 20th out of the top 100 metropolitan areas for the proportion of jobs connected with the “green” or “clean” economy in 2010, according to a study compiled by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. Again, Arizona ranked lower – 25thout of 50 states.

Many wonder for all the rhetoric if we’re really on our way to becoming the solar capitol of the world. In the renewable arena, Arizona did make great strides in 2010, taking fourth place for deployment of photovoltaic installations statewide, according to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. Arizona’s total was 54 megawatts, helped by federal incentives as well as those from programs at APS and SRP and only trailing California, New Jersey and Nevada. Another report by the SEIA ranked Arizona in terms of solar installations during the first quarter of 2011.

Unfortunately, we’re not doing so well in air quality – the Valley is still perceived as being dirty, albeit no longer the dirtiest in the country. According to a report released by the Lung Association in April 2011, the Phoenix Metro region ranked second worst of the five metropolitan areas with the highest year-round levels of fine-particle air pollution. On the flip side, Tucson ranked third lowest in the same category. lung association noted that the Phoenix region improved its rankings in the report card’s two other categories, falling from 14thin 2010 to 24thfor short-term dust pollution and from 11thto 19thin ozone.Overall, Maricopa County received a failing grade for ozone in the lung association’s report card, as did Gila, Pinal and Yuma counties.

So, what does this all mean? Regardless of the rankings, we need to do a better job of fostering collaboration in Arizona. Our legislators, municipal leaders, county officials, tribes, corporations and non-profit organizations must work together to advocate a balanced public policy agenda and effectively manage statewide growth concerns that impact both our quality of life and economic competitiveness.

 

Quick Links about Phoenix & Arizona Sustainability Progress

Green Guide 2011

Metropolitan Policy Program study

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) study

SEIA report, solar installations

Lung Association report

San Tan Valley Sunrise, Valley Forward initiative Arizona Forward

New Arizona Forward Initiative Hopes To Balance Future Economic Development With Sustainability Concerns

The future of Arizona’s economic development is one that is still being decided. In order to help push Arizona in the right direction, Valley Forward has launched an initiative called Arizona Forward.

The more than 40-year-old group brings together business and government leaders to help improve the environment and livability of communities in the Valley. Arizona Forward is an idea that Valley Forward has had in the works for years. Until now, however, the organization hasn’t had the funds to act on the idea. That all changed recently when the group received a grant that will fund the initiative for one year. Depending on the results it drives, the initiative may or may not look for additional funding.View from Cleopatra Hill, Powder Box Church in foreground

“Our areas of focus have a far greater impact than the immediate geographic location we currently serve,” Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward, said at a luncheon in February. “Arizona cities and towns are facing many common issues that should be addressed holistically and statewide.”

Arizona Forward will focus on bringing together cities and businesses to effectively put Arizona on the right path toward growth and sustainable development, turning ideas into reality.

“Arizona Forward will bring the business community, large companies and small businesses, and the government sector together to begin the dialogue,” Brossart said. “We want to reach consensus and drive a balanced public agenda.”

The initial goals of Arizona Forward are to establish cooperative relationships, convene public dialogue to improve Arizona’s sustainability, increase awareness and interest in the environment and serve as a technical resource for environmental issues in the state.

The main region Arizona Forward will focus its efforts on is the Sun Corridor, the area stretching from Phoenix to Tucson, which is home to 80 percent of the state’s population.

The Sun Corridor is a prime area for development in Arizona, and projects already are in the works, according to Morris Mennenga, president of the Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation and president of
Discovery Building Companies.

“There were some great things happening in the Sun Corridor and then the recession came on,” Mennenga said. “They’re coming back into play now. For example, we’re putting in an incredible infrastructure in that area. There will be an I-10 expansion (six lanes) that will stretch all the way to Tucson.”

According to Lisa Lovallo, chair of the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities and vice president and systems manager of Cox Communications, Southern Arizona, there are several issues that businesses and communities in Arizona need to focus on in order to have successful economic development in the Sun Corridor. Those issues include: high-skill high-wage jobs, a vibrant urban core, education, and government.

Creating high-skill high-wage jobs means bringing industries such as aerospace, biotechnology and information systems and logistics to Arizona. There is a need to make Arizona attractive to those industries so they will want to expand their business to the Sun Corridor. That in turn will bring development to the corridor — development that needs to be managed responsibly.

Roosevelt Lake Apache Trail, Valley Forward Arizona Forward“It will be a balance between economic development and economic equality,” Brossart said. “Our focus is going to be the issues related to land planning, open space, transportation, air quality issues, water management and energy.”

Gov. Jan Brewer signed new legislation in February that will make it easier for Arizona to recruit businesses to the Sun Corridor.
The new legislation, called the Arizona Competitiveness Package, includes business incentives and tax reforms that are designed to stimulate Arizona’s economy.

Another key opportunity for economic growth for Arizona lies with the solar industry. For a state that sees more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the chance to be at the front of the industry’s development is huge.

“There are a lot of good things happening in solar,” Lovallo said. “If we can keep the government positive to business corporate expansion, there’s no reason businesses won’t want to be here showing off their solar capabilities.”

The biggest challenge Arizona Forward faces is finding solutions that all Arizona cities can agree with and put into effect.
“For so long we have operated as separate cities,” Brossart said. “We’ve been focusing on Phoenix or Scottsdale instead of focusing on how we can market and benefit Arizona as a state.

“We have to do a better job of finding our commonalities between cities so we can make a difference in ensuring long-term development,” she added.

In terms of that long-term development, Arizona Forward will use data collected in 2008 by the Urban Land Development Institute during a Reality Check visioning exercise. ULI collected data from 300 Arizonans who worked together in groups to envision future job centers, transportation lines and housing.

While Arizona Forward will initially focus on the Sun Corridor, plans are to take the initiative to other parts of the state and work with existing environmental and economic development groups.San Tan Valley sunrise, Valley Forward Arizona Forward

“It is not our intent to duplicate efforts already underway in areas outside our traditional jurisdiction or to undermine existing civic structures,” Brossart said at the February luncheon. “Rather, we will foster relationships, build coalitions and maximize resources toward a sustainability agenda.”

Bill Pepicello, chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and president of the University of Phoenix, says Valley leaders have to step up to the job of designing Arizona’s future.

“We think the growth should not be counted on again as we did in traditional areas of retail and real estate,” Pepicello said. “As we look at the cycles of our past we know that if we don’t position ourselves going forward, we’re doomed to repeat those cycles.”

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011


 

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