Tag Archives: environmental excellence awards

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Valley Forward presents environmental awards

The Maricopa County Master Watershed Stewards Program has earned the coveted President’s Award (Best of Show) in Valley Forward’s 32nd annual Environmental Excellence Awards, held in partnership with SRP for 11 consecutive years.

This impactful initiative was submitted by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County and mentors future stewards of the environment through education and action focusing on the Valley’s most precious natural resource – water. It teaches how the health of watersheds is tied directly to quality of life, not just for humans but also for nature and wildlife.

More than 120 entries were received in Arizona’s oldest and most prestigious awards competition focusing exclusively on sustainability initiatives. Winners were announced Sept. 29, at Valley Forward’s awards gala attended by more than 600 community leaders at The Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.

Valley Forward and SRP presented 17 first-place Crescordia winners and 29 Awards of Merit. The awards set standards for achieving a balance between the built and natural environment in the region’s physical, technical, social and aesthetic development.

The Master Watershed Stewards Program was recognized for training volunteers to protect, restore, monitor and conserve local water and watersheds. The 10-week course combines classroom education and field training, introducing participants to local riparian ecosystems and facilitating an understanding of how to effectively manage natural resources.

In addition to the University of Arizona, project team members include: Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, Audubon Arizona, Central Arizona Project and EPCOR Water. The submittal also won a first-place Crescordia Award in the Environmental Stewardship (SRP Award) category. Crescordia is a Greek term meaning, “to grow in harmony,” and the President’s Award is selected from among all Crescordia recipients.

“There was a recurrent theme of collaboration and regional cooperation among this year’s project winners,” said Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward. “Sustainability is clearly at the forefront in our community, and it’s inspiring to preview such innovative programs directed at preserving natural resources – air, water, open space and our unique desert environment.”

South Mountain Community Library in Phoenix was the only project to receive multiple Crescordia awards this year. The building itself was recognized in the Buildings and Structures – Institutional and Civic categories, and a collaborative multi-faceted public art piece on the community college campus in which the library is located, received first-place honors in the Art in Public Places category.

The innovative 51,600-square-foot facility not only integrates with the natural desert environment in which it is situated, but fully blends elements of the two entities it serves. The public and academic sides converge into a holistic, sustainable landmark building. A signature element, Passage, created by artists Mags Harries and Lajos Heder, combines talking chairs, plaza enhancements, poetry trellises and a new pedestrian crossing of the Western Canal.

The awards competition has become especially competitive among Valley municipalities and government agencies. This year, the city of Phoenix faired especially well, earning six Crescordia awards and four Awards of Merit. Other Valley cities to earn awards include Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa and the town of Gila Bend, as well as the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of the Arizona Science Center, served as lead judge for the program. Other jurists included: Chris Brown, vice president, SmithGroupJJR; Bert Castro, president and CEO, Phoenix Zoo; Greg Esser, associate director desert initiative, Arizona State University Art Museum; Greg Flanagan, principal, G.K. Flanagan Associates, Inc.; Joe Herzog, director of architecture, Shepley Bulfinch; Park Howell, president, Park & Co; Kyle Hultquist, vice president of marketing and communications, StandardAero; and Steven Lichtenberger, principal, AECOM.

Valley Forward is a non-profit public interest organization that brings business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. The organization operates with the belief that businesses must take a leadership role in solving the complex and sometimes controversial problems that confront growing population centers.

 

In addition to the Maricopa County Watershed Stewards Program, South Mountain Community Library and Passage, Crescordia winners include:

 

WOLFF RESIDENCE (LEA – Architects, LLC)

The existing structural frame of this 1960s home in Paradise Valley was preserved along with the interior materials significant to the mid-twentieth century during the complete overhaul, floor plan modifications and new addition. Careful, informed decisions were made to protect the original design intent, while enhancing the home’s connection to the natural environment.

 

WINDSOR AND CHURN (Shepley Bulfinch)

Creating a community hub and sense of identity for two prominent historic neighborhoods in north central Phoenix, this adaptive reuse project transformed a 1940s structure into a lively restaurant and adjoining artisan ice cream shop. The intent was to keep as much of the original brick structure and stacked sandstone veneered walls as possible and work with the existing footprint of a building that had seen many uses throughout its history.

 

DPR Construction Phoenix Regional Office (SmithGroupJJR)

DPR Construction purchased an underutilized 1970s building and redeveloped it into a LEED Platinum certified office space for its Phoenix team using cost saving sustainable strategies.
TEMPE LAKE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE (City of Tempe, T.Y. Lin and Otak)

Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge provides a beautiful crossing at the western-most end of the lake and is part of the city’s overall efforts to reduce vehicular traffic, improve air quality, connect people to culture, conserve water and create shade.

 

COWLEY COMPANIES OFFICE (Office of Desert Architecture)
Renovating a 1930s produce warehouse in downtown Phoenix, Cowley Companies not only restored the character of an historic building, but created a unique and energy-efficient workspace for its employees.

Central Station (City of Phoenix Public Transit Department)

This refurbishment gave a facelift to the 14-year-old transit facility located near Civic Space Park and Arizona State University’s downtown campus in Phoenix. Updates included improved passenger amenities and a plethora of environmentally friendly features.

 

CENTRAL MAIN PLAN (City of Mesa Development and Sustainability Department)

Mesa developed a Central Main Plan for its Main Street corridor by following three principles of sustainability. The plan aims to create a prosperous, people-friendly setting while reducing vehicle traffic, celebrating cultural diversity and fostering a distinct, environmentally conscious community.

 

TRES RIOS ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION PROJECT (Kiewit Western Co)

Phase Three of the Tres Rios program updated and reconfigured drainage systems and removed salt cedar in a 2.5-mile long, 650-acre stretch of open water and wetland marshes at the confluence of the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria rivers. The project has created 44 acres of new open water reaches along with 10 acres of marsh habitat and 46 acres of riparian habitat.

 

GEORGE “DOC” CAVALLIERE PARK (SmithGroupJJR)

Nearly 25 years in the making, George “Doc” Cavalliere Park in Scottsdale established a new benchmark for sustainable practices, demonstrating how to appropriately design and construct an active community park in a sensitive desert context. Open spaces were preserved and site disturbance minimized while maintaining functional uses.

 

PALOMA SOLAR POWER PLANT (Arizona Public Service)

A collaboration between APS, First Solar and the town of Gila Bend, Paloma is a 17-megawatt solar power plant with 275,000 panels situated on a retired alfalfa farm. This zero water-use facility was built in record time and conserves more than 13.3 million gallons of water annually over traditional solar plants.

 

FIX A LEAK WEEK PROMOTION AND ONE FOR WATER 4-MILER & FESTIVAL (Arizona Municipal Water Users Association)

This public awareness campaign empowers residents to eliminate water waste in their homes and was sponsored by the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association with support from more than 40 partner municipalities, businesses and organizations. The program included extensive educational outreach efforts and culminated in a four-mile, professionally timed race.

 

U-HAUL CONTRIBUTIONS TO ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION

(U-Haul International)

Through its comprehensive educational outreach program, U-Haul promotes environmental awareness and touts the importance of sustainability to its stakeholders, as well as millions who drive along roads and highways every day.

STARDUST NONPROFIT BUILDING SUPPLIES DECONSTRUCTION SERVICES (Stardust Nonprofit Building Supplies)
Stardust Nonprofit Building Supplies Deconstruction Services removes usable building materials from homes and businesses at no cost to the owner for donation of the items, saving more than 1,500 tons of supplies from local area landfills each year. 

2012 ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES: Residential

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Wolff Residence

Submitted by: LEA-Architects, LLC

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Legacy Build

Submitted by: Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

 

Name of Entry: Whispering Ridge

Submitted by: Knoell & Quidort Architects

 

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES: Civic

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: South Mountain Community Library

Submitted by: richärd+bauer, llc.

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: FBI Phoenix Office

Submitted by: AECOM

 

Name of Entry: Ocotillo Library + Workforce Literacy Center

Submitted by: durkin + durkin architects llc

 

 

 

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES: Historic Preservation

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Windsor and Churn

Submitted by: Shepley Bulfinch, Phoenix

 

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Cutler*Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center

Submitted by: Motley Design Group, LLC

 

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES: Commercial & Mixed Use

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: DPR Construction Phoenix Regional Office

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR / DPR Construction

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Okland Construction

Submitted by: Weddle Gilmore black rock studio

Name of Entry: Windsor and Churn at Central & Oregon

Submitted by: Venue/Upward Projects

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES: Institutional

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: South Mountain Community Library

Submitted by: richärd+bauer, llc.

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Integrated Education Building at GateWay Community College

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR

 

Name of Entry: Nursing & Exercise Science Building at Mesa Community College

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR

 

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES: Industrial & Public Works

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Tempe Lake Pedestrian Bridge

Submitted by: City of Tempe, T.Y. Lin and Otak

 

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: The Greenest Factory on the Planet

Submitted by: DIRTT Environmental Solutions

 

LIVABLE COMMUNITIES: Sustainable Communities

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Devine Legacy on Central

Submitted by: Adolfson & Peterson Construction

 

 

 

LIVABLE COMMUNITIES: Adaptive Reuse

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Cowley Companies Office

Submitted by: Office of Desert Architecture

 

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: IN FLUX Initiative

Submitted by: Scottsdale Public Art & City of Tempe Public Art

 

LIVABLE COMMUNITIES: Multimodal Transportation & Connectivity

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Central Station

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Public Transit Department

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Virtual Dial-A-Ride

Submitted by: Total Transit

 

Name of Entry: 27th Avenue/Baseline Road Park-and-Ride

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Public Transit Department

 

LIVABLE COMMUNITIES: Public Policy/Plans

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Central Main Plan

Submitted by: City of Mesa Development and Sustainability Department

 

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Vulture Mountains Cooperative Recreation Management Area Master Plan

Submitted by: Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department

 

SITE DEVELOPMENT AND LANDSCAPE: Residential

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: The Smith Residence

Submitted by: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc.

 

SITE DEVELOPMENT AND LANDSCAPE: Public Sector

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Tres Rios Environmental Restoration Project

Submitted by: Kiewit Western Co.

 

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

Submitted by: HKS, Inc.

 

SITE DEVELOPMENT AND LANDSCAPE: Trails

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Crosscut Canal Multiuse Path Project

Submitted by: City of Tempe

 

SITE DEVELOPMENT AND LANDSCAPE: Parks

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: George “Doc” Cavalliere Park

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR

 

ART IN PUBLIC PLACES

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Passage, South Mountain Library and Western Canal Public Art Project

Submitted by: Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: “Contours and Crossings” Crosscut Canal

Submitted by: City of Tempe

 

Name of Entry: IN FLUX Initiative

Submitted by: Scottsdale Public Art & City of Tempe Public Art

 

ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES: Public Sector

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Flood Control District of Maricopa County Tall Pot Tree Program

Submitted by: Flood Control District of Maricopa County

 

Name of Entry: Phoenix Renewable Energy Program

Submitted by: City of Phoenix

 

ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES: Private Sector

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Paloma Solar Power Plant

Submitted by: Arizona Public Service

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: PanAridus

Submitted by: Fifty Plus One

 

Name of Entry: Power Parasol at Lot 59

Submitted by: debartolo architects

 

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION/COMMUNICATION: Public Sector

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Fix a Leak Week Promotion and One for Water 4-Miler & Festival

Submitted by: Arizona Municipal Water Users Association

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools

Submitted by: Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools & ASU Global Institute of Sustainability

 

Name of Entry: Phoenix Recycling Program

Submitted by: Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION/COMMUNICATION: Private Sector

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: U-Haul Contributions to Environmental Education and Communication

Submitted by: U-Haul International

 

AWARD OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Green Living Magazine

Submitted by: Green Living Magazine

 

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION/COMMUNICATION: Educators, Students & Nonprofits

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Stardust Nonprofit Building Supplies Deconstruction Services

Submitted by: Stardust Nonprofit Building Supplies

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

Name of Entry: Plant Something Campaign

Submitted by: Arizona Nursery Association

 

Name of Entry: Urban Hummingbird Project

Submitted by: Audubon Arizona

 

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP – The SRP Award

CRESCORDIA

Name of Entry: Maricopa County Master Watershed Stewards Program

Submitted by: University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County

 

PRESIDENT’S AWARD (Best of Show)

Name of Entry: Maricopa County Master Watershed Stewards Program

Submitted by: University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County

Michelle De Blasi Partner, Quarles & Brady

Michelle De Blasi’s Passion For The Environment Carries Through All Her Work

Michelle De Blasi
Partner, Quarles & Brady

Attorney Michelle De Blasi is passionate about the work she does on issues concerning the environment.

After completing her undergraduate studies at Arizona State University, De Blasi attended law school at the University of  Washington and worked for the federal government for six years on oil spills and other environmental cases. She returned to Arizona, and worked for the attorney general’s office for one year in the environmental section.

In 2004, De Blasi joined Quarles & Brady. As a partner with the law firm she  practices in the area of environmental and natural resources law. She assists clients in getting permits, navigating enforcement actions and does renewable energy work.

De Blasi became the firm’s Valley Forward representative in 2007. She jumped right in as a board and executive committee member. De Blasi works on the entries committee for Valley Forward’s signature fall event, the Environmental Excellence Awards. Last year, she served her second term as chair of the energy committee, a new endeavor responsible for organizing meetings and events, building membership and planning educational field trips for members.

“We are involved because it (Valley Forward) provides great networking opportunities with nature business leaders in the community,” De Blasi says. “As a firm we have many clients that are members as well, and we can interact with them on a different level.”

De Blasi says the organization serves as an educational source. Valley Forward tries to take a neutral stance on environmental policies because it has such a diverse membership. Rather than take sides, Valley Forward holds educational forums where it explains what the policies are about.

“Valley Forward is such a great way to stay on top of the issues that are happening out there,” De Blasi explains.

The energy committee planned a debate in the fall with the candidates for state corporation commission. Members of Valley Forward met the candidates and talked about renewable energy credits.

“(Valley Forward) brings the most value to be able to do things I love doing, and interact with things I really like on issues I care about the most,” De Blasi says.

De Blasi adds the biggest challenge for Valley Forward is maintaining membership. When companies are faced with smaller budgets, outside memberships are usually the first thing to get cut. Despite companies cutting ties with the organization, some individuals have chosen to stay on as members because they have a passion for the organization, and believe it is important.

“Valley Forward is rare in the audience it serves, being so wide and large,” De Blasi says. “It is a great organization, and is run very well.”

Adrienne Howell Southwest Gas

Valley Forward Profiles Adrienne Howell Of Southwest Gas

Adrienne Howell
Southwest Gas
Administrator/Community and Consumer Affairs

Adrienne Howell has a diverse background that allows her to excel in her current position at Southwest Gas. During her career, Howell has worked in human relations, communications, management, marketing and sales.

As community and consumer affairs administrator, her responsibilities include developing and nurturing partnerships that strengthen communities. It is a position that requires Howell to be out in the community and active in organizations.

Southwest Gas has been a member of Valley Forward for about 18 years. Howell joined in 2009. In her first year as a new member, she was eager to get involved and helped make sponsorship calls.

Howell currently serves on the energy committee and the marketing committee for the Environmental Excellence Awards. She will serve as vice chair for next year’s Livability Summit, and in 2012 she will become the chair.

Howell and Southwest Gas wanted to be part of the conversations on how to improve the environment and create livability in the community.

“The only way to really know how you can make a difference is to get involved,” Howell says. “You can’t do that from the sidelines. You can’t do that from reading a project description. You have to raise your hand and say,  ‘I’ll help.’”

Southwest Gas and Valley Forward have similar goals. Southwest Gas dedicates itself to making communities a great place to call home. The company focuses on ways to emphasize safety, and serve its customers and communities. One priority of Southwest Gas is to save money and use energy wisely, a common goal with Valley Forward.

“Organizations like Valley Forward, because of its long-standing presence in the Valley and because of its local mission, are important to help us further our goal of offering customers smarter, greener energy sources for their homes and businesses,” Howell says.

Howell realizes that these are challenging economic times for organizations and companies, and people have to closely evaluate every dollar they spend. However, Southwest Gas believes that Valley Forward is an important and necessary partnership to have, which is why even through these challenging times it has remained an active member.

Howell says that to retain and keep membership, Valley Forward will have to get input from stakeholders to find out what value it can give to members.

Environmental Excellence Awards

Valley Forward Celebrates 30 Years Of Environmental Excellence Awards

Valley Forward’s focus today is on sustainability. Its mantra is that a community can be great only if it respects its natural and human resources, and adopts practices that will nourish and preserve them.

Thirty years ago, when Valley Forward directors launched the Environmental Excellence Awards (EEA) program, we didn’t talk about sustainability. The word wasn’t in our vocabulary. But our motives inevitably led us to the same place.

We believed that a great city required environmental stewardship and first-rate planning, design and architecture in private developments and public places. So, we set out to raise the competitive bar in those fields by recognizing superior work with prestigious awards.

In 1981, the first year of the awards, six, first-place Crescordias were granted, including Scottsdale’s visionary Indian Bend Wash flood-control project and the historic preservation of Heritage Square in Downtown Phoenix. This year, 21 Crescordias were handed out, led by the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center.

Through the years of EEA, Valley Forward has given out 414 Crescordias and, beginning in 1989, 21 President’s Awards. Additionally, many entries have received Awards of Merit in recognition of their special accomplishments.

The program has drawn thousands of entries submitted by every kind of institution and individuals from every walk of life. EEA recognition has rewarded the efforts of architects, urban designers, land planners and developers; landscape architects, homebuilders, homeowners, educators, artists, scientists, engineers, farmers and many others.

Awards have been made to city, county and state entities; manufacturers, retail corporations, hospitals, school districts, libraries, flood control agencies, art and history organizations, office and retail projects, hotels and resorts, golf courses, utility companies, recyclers, fire stations, zoos, a football team, newspapers and magazines, parks, conservation projects and museums.

As varied as they are, the hundreds of EEA winners have one thing in common: all have made an impact on the community. That is what EEA is all about and it is what will make sustainable development a reality.

Bike Sharing Program

Green Jobs In Arizona And Around The Nation, Bike-sharing Program And More

There’s so much going on in sustainability, it’s hard to narrow down what news to share. Here’s a couple of interesting bits from this week. We’ve gathered stories about new green jobs in Arizona and around the nation, a bike-sharing program and Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards, among others.

Arizona Gets 100 Solar Jobs
Rioglass Solar, which makes reflector components for solar thermal power plants, is building a $50 million manufacturing facility in Surprise, Ariz.  The facility is going to bring 100 jobs by the time it is operational in 2011.

Valley Forward Chooses Judges for Environmental Excellence Awards
John Kane, founding partner and design principal of Architekton, will be the lead judge for Valley Forward’s 30th annual Environmental Excellence Awards.  The eight other judges include: Steve Gollehon, vice president and managing partner, HDR Architects; Tim Lines, managing vice president, Stantec Consulting Inc.; and Caroline Lobo, director of the Education Studio at The Orcutt/Winslow Partnership.  The winners will be announced Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Phoenician Resort.

President Obama’s Push for Green Energy to Create Jobs
Not only does Obama want America to be greener; but his push for green energy could create up to 800,000 jobs by 2012.  The major issue for green energy jobs in America is that employers are being forced to outsource jobs to stay competitive in the industry. Watch President Obama’s speech at ZBB Energy in Wisconsin.

Do-It-Yourself Solar Panel
CNN’s “One Simple Thing” series takes a complicated process – installing a solar panel – and turns it into something anyone with an electrical outlet can do. Clarian Power’s president, Chad Maglaque, talks about how his company is trying to make the biggest cost in solar power, the installation, a non-issue.

NYC Looks to Start Bike-Sharing Program
Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan want to start a bike-sharing program that would offer 49,000 bikes to be shared.  Many other cities worldwide including Paris, Copenhagen and Taipei, Taiwan, offer bike-sharing programs.  Right here in Arizona, Northern Arizona University offers the Yellow Bike Program for free.

Valley Metro Light Rail

Awarding Sustainable Excellence

On Saturday, September 12th Valley Forward held its 29th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards Gala. With Fox 10 News’ Troy Hayden as master of ceremonies for the event, there was never a dull moment.

Title sponsor SRP and Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward, put together another spectacular celebration of sustainability. More than 150 nominations came in for this year’s awards — more than any previous year — showing that despite difficult economic times, the public’s commitment to sustainability has not wavered.

METRO Light Rail was the 2009 President’s Award (Best of Show) recipient, further highlighting the achievements of the newest addition to the Valley’s transportation system. METRO Light Rail was also honored with a first-place Crescordia Award in the Livable Communities, Multi-modal Transportation & Connectivity category.

Crescordia is a Greek term that means “to grow in harmony,” and that’s the overall message that came across during this year’s awards. Each acceptance speech reiterated the importance of responsible economic growth, and keeping the environment in mind for a brighter future for our state.

Check out the full list of winners here.

It was a great experience to see all of the amazing projects, and the progress Arizona has made toward a more sustainable future. An added bonus was being able to mingle with a crowd of esteemed professionals, as well as community and business leaders.

Along with the award winners, Brossart announced AZ Big Media / Arizona Business Magazine’s blog partnership with Valley Forward. She will be a guest blogger on the AZ Green Scene once a month, so check back soon as we’ll have some great posts coming our way.

www.valleyforward.org

Photo Credit: www.valleymetro.org

Moving Valley Arizona 2010

Moving the Valley and Arizona Forward

Oh, give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above.
Don’t fence me in.

That little tune written by Cole Porter and Montana engineer Bob Fletcher has served as the unofficial song of the West for almost 75 years. It’s captured the lure of the West; with all this room, there’s no need to grow up — grow out!

Despite warnings dating back decades, Western cities have been growing out at a rapid clip. Now we have to face the fact that our resources cannot sustain this type of urban sprawl.

It’s estimated that the state’s population will swell to 10 million by around 2040. Eight million of those residents will be living in the “megapolitan” Sun Corridor, a swath of land stretching from the middle of Yavapai County to western Cochise County to the Mexican border.

Fortunately, one organization, Valley Forward Association, has been working steadily on this problem for 40 years. Valley Forward’s mission is to bring business and civic leaders together in order to find ways to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities.

One of Valley Forward’s signature events, the Environmental Excellence Awards, takes place this weekend. The awards program is the state’s oldest and largest environmental competition. The program, now in its 29th year, recognizes buildings and structures, site development and landscape, art in public places, environmental technologies, environmental education/communication, environmental stewardship and livable communities that promote the cause of sustainability. The event is held in partnership with SRP.

While Valley Forward has long been at the forefront of the sustainability movement in the region, several others now have joined the cause. In recognition of that, the U.S. Green Building Council is holding its prestigious Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix, Nov. 11-13. The keynote speaker is Nobel Peace Prize winner,  former Vice President Al Gore.  AZ Big Media is a proud in-kind partner of Greenbuild.

Another sustainability event that’s making its presence known is AZ BIG Media’s own Southwest Build-It-Green Expo & Conference, presented by SRP. The second annual event takes place March 18-20, 2010.

This year’s inaugural BIG Expo & Conference made good on its promise to be the Southwest’s largest annual event on sustainability for the commercial and residential marketplace. Nearly 9,000 people attended the BIG Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center, visiting the up to 300 exhibitors from commercial and residential businesses that offer sustainable products and services that affect everyday life.

The conference portion of the BIG Expo brought together industry experts, Valley leaders, instructors from Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and members from such organizations as Valley Forward, Valley Partnership, BOMA, SRP, APS, the U.S. Green Building Council and many more.

While Arizona has made significant progress in the sustainability movement we have to remember to keep moving forward.

Janet Perez
Editor-in-Chief
Arizona Business Magazine

www.valleyforward.org
www.greenbuildexpo.org
www.builditgreenexpo.com