March 22, 2005
Scottsdale is about to take one of the biggest steps toward going green of any municipality in the country.
The City Council today is expected to approve an extensive Green Building Policy. It directs that all new city buildings — except unoccupied service facilities — measure up to some of the highest standards for energy efficiency and overall environmental quality.
New construction projects will have to meet either the "Gold" or "Platinum" certification requirements of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program of the U.S. Green Building Council, a national architecture and construction industry coalition.
A number of other cities have adopted the group’s "Silver" certification requisites, but Scottsdale will be the first in the nation to commit to achieving the highest benchmarks, said Anthony Floyd, the city’s Green Building Program manager.
Scottsdale started its program in 1998 to encourage homebuilders, as well as commercial and industrial builders, to meet such standards.
Last year, 21 percent of the residential building permits issued by the city went to projects applying green building methods.
Scottsdale’s Environmental Quality Advisory Board thought the city should set a strong example for its cause, said chairman Dan Basinger. In 2003 and again last year, the board formally recommended the city adopt a green-building policy.
The City Manager’s Office and city planners "rallied around the idea and worked very hard" to script the details, Basinger said.
The policy requires that projects incorporate highperformance construction materials and technology to produce significant energy and water conservation, ensure healthy indoor airquality and lengthen the lifespans of structures.
The standards also will be applied to renovations of existing city buildings when it’s financially feasible, Floyd said.
Projects adhering to such standards cost on average about 2 percent more than if conventional methods and materials are used, but the extra up-front costs for green-building projects typically are recouped in one to five years through energy savings, Floyd said.
Scottsdale is striving to meet the Green Building Council’s "Gold" standard in a $12 million, 37,000-squarefoot senior center already under construction.
Projects that would be subject to the new policy include a police station and police-operations support facility, three fire stations and possibly a downtown city museum, Floyd said.