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2019 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

President's Award

The highest honor of all project categories combined.

MAR 5 & Gila River Interpretive Trail

Submitted by: Hunter Contracting Co.


Crescordia Winners

The coveted Crescordia – from a Greek term which means “to grow in harmony” – is the highest honor awarded in each category.

Collaboration, Compromise & Consensus: Arizona's Drought Contingency Plan Process

Submitted by:  Arizona Department of Water Resources and Central Arizona Project

Band Building Steele Indian School Park

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation

MAR 5 & Gila River Interpretive Trail

Submitted by: Hunter Contracting Co.

Lower Salt River Riparian Restoration Project

Submitted by: National Forest Foundation

Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations

Submitted by:  Pima County Government

Arizona Water Watch

Submitted by: Arizona Department of Environmental Quality


7th Avenue Streetscape

Submitted by: Canary, a Gould Evans Studio

2019 Ten Across Water Summit

Submitted by: University City Exchange at Arizona State University

Scottsdale Water

Submitted by: Scottsdale Water

Restoring Water in the Desert

Submitted by: Intel Corporation

Award of Distinction

Finalists receive this award recognition.


Southwest Wine Center

Submitted by: Yavapai College

Xero Studio

Submitted by: Studio Ma

The University of Arizona Environment & Natural Resources 2 (ENR2) Building

Submitted by: Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture

Santa Cruz River Heritage Project

Submitted by: City of Tucson Water Department

Washington Park

Submitted by: Arizona Trail Association

Sustainable Tourism Plan

Submitted by: Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Flagstaff Climate Action & Adaption Plan

Submitted by: City of Flagstaff

Maricopa Trail

Submitted by: Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department

Restoration of Arizona’s State Parks Heritage Fund

Submitted by: Arizona Heritage Alliance

Odor Control Station 72 Arts and Security Improvements

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Water Services Department

Design Empowerment PHX

Submitted by: The Sagrado

The Future is What We Make It

Submitted by: Honeywell International, Inc.

SMART Program

Submitted by: City of Tempe


2019 Environmental Excellence Award Project Submissions

Governor's Award for Arizona's Future


AMWUA: One for Water

Submitted by: Arizona Municipal Water Users Association

For 50 years, AMWUA has worked with its ten member municipalities to manage water resources from a regional perspective, a strategy that was visionary for its time and remains a model for other regions. This unique partnership has created innovative solutions for stronger, better informed, well-coordinated water management and policies.

AMWUA’s ten member municipalities - Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe - collectively serve over 3.5 million people, more than 50 percent of Arizona's population. As a nonprofit corporation, AMWUA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised by its members’ mayors, vice mayors and councilmembers.

Project Highlights:  

  • Over its history, AMWUA has been a leading advocate for sound water management from the 1980 Groundwater Management Act and Assured Water Supply requirements to today’s Drought Contingency Plan to protect Arizona’s Colorado River supply.  
  • Through its regional water conservation program, AMWUA and its members have joined together to provide residents and businesses with information, tools, and assistance to use water wisely.  This partnership has changed the culture of our landscapes, achieved conservation objectives, and made our communities more resilient.
  • Working collaboratively, AMWUA will continue to protect Arizona’s water resources and advocate for wise water management...it’s why we exist.



Biogas Processing Facility & Pipeline

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Water Services Department

Through a partnership with Ameresco, Inc., the City of Phoenix achieved commercial operations in early 2019 at its 91st Avenue Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) plant located along the Salt River. Now operational, the project highlights include

Project Highlights:

  • Largest wastewater treatment biogas-to-RNG facility of its kind in the US
  • Capable of processing 3,250 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm) of raw digester gas produced at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).
  • Reduction of the equivalent of 44,671 metric tons of CO2 per year.
  • Generation of over one million dollars per year in revenue

Phoenix is quickly becoming a more sustainable city. Making use of a new renewable biogas will be equivalent to taking more than 70,000 vehicles off the road each year or 10,584 households heated for one year and moves Phoenix towards its goal of 15 percent renewable energy Citywide. With this additional reuse, Phoenix is recycling and reusing everything which comes from the 91st Avenue plant – reclaimed water, bio-solids, and now bio-gas.

The Ameresco facility is located along the Salt River on site at the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which is jointly owned by the multi-city Subregional Operating Group (SROG).  SROG is comprised of five member cities: Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix.  The City of Phoenix is the lead agency in the jointly owned venture and is responsible for the planning, budgeting, construction, operation and maintenance at the facility.


Award of Distinction

Southwest Wine Center

Submitted by: Yavapai College

The Southwest Wine Center (SWC) at Yavapai College (YC) is a premier regional and industry resource, intricately supporting the growth of Arizona’s rural wine regions. Post-secondary curriculum and fully-developed career and technology focused teaching facilities are strengthened by industry partnerships, as the SWC effectively incubates collaborative research while fostering innovation to catalyze economic development.

Project Highlights:

  • Climate appropriate crops: developing and showcasing sustainable best agricultural practices while teaching future farmers how to cultivate high economic-return varietals, environmentally suited to Arizona and the arid greater Southwest.
  • Reclaimed Water: utilizing grade A+ effluent water made available through a public/private partnership between YC and the City of Cottonwood and delivered to our student-practicum supported 13-acre teaching vineyard through a data-collecting, water-conserving, drip-irrigation system.  
  • Adaptive Re-use: repurposing an outdated, underutilized building into a modern, full-production teaching winery coupled with an entrepreneurial centered, full-service, retail tasting room.
  • Pathways to Careers: offering Associate of Applied Science degree and certificate paths in Viticulture and Enology, preparing students for pre-and post-graduation workforce entry, ensuring a pipeline of educated and highly skilled workforce to leverage the success of Arizona’s cutting-edge, award-winning wine industry.


U-Haul U-Box Load Share

Submitted by: U-Haul International

The second-leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is attributed to transportation.  As the transportation-industry leader of self-move companies across North America, headquartered in Phoenix for more than 50 years, U-Haul recognizes the importance and responsibility of optimizing positive social, economic and environmental impacts of do-it-yourself moves.  An industry-first developed in Phoenix, U-Box Load Share is innovative and unique, built on the premise of collaboration: A U-Haul customer fills a U-Box container with household goods which are then shipped to the U-Box customer’s new home via a select One-Way U-Haul truck sharing customer who tows a U-Box trailer. This program fosters sustainable planning to reduce vehicle miles, fuel consumption and emissions during the transportation of household goods. 

Impact to community / environment: U-Box Load Share benefits our communities by providing sustainable solutions for transportation and air quality.

Metrics: A test launch of 2,000 U-Box Load Shares provided clear qualitative and quantitative results. 99% of those U-Box containers arrived at their destination sooner than freight truck transport, with zero instances of belongings getting lost or damaged.

Project Highlights:

  • A sharing-economy innovation designed to facilitate people helping people
  • Reduced freight vehicle miles traveled on roadways
  • Reduced fuel consumption and transportation-related emissions
  • Collaborative, safe, affordable and sustainable transport option


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Crescordia Winner

Collaboration, Compromise & Consensus: Arizona's Drought Contingency Plan Process

Submitted by: Arizona Department of Water Resources and Central Arizona Project

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and Central Arizona Project (CAP) led stakeholders through months of public meetings. During this process, stakeholders developed Arizona’s Implementation Plan for the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (LBDCP). The package included more than 20 agreements, which balance the impacts of reductions with the benefits of increased reliability.

The risks of Lake Mead  falling below critically low elevations had tripled in the past decade, increasing the risks of large-scale reductions to Arizona’s Colorado River supply. Previous guidelines designed to protect the system were deemed insufficient. Bureau of Reclamation projections showed the LBDCP would reduce the risks of Lake Mead falling below critical levels.

Project Highlights:

  • ADWR and CAP partnered to lead a transparent, public process
  • Nearly 40 stakeholder representatives served on the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee, representing a variety of perspectives
  • The Arizona Implementation Plan details how impacted stakeholders will adapt to reduced Colorado River water
  • Arizona residents can be assured that future Colorado River water supplies are more secure

The Steering Committee, including elected officials, met from July 2018 to February 2019 in public forums. They developed a plan based on collaboration, compromise and consensus, which ultimately achieved state and federal legislative approval.


Flagstaff Climate Action & Adaptation Plan

Submitted by: City of Flagstaff

The Flagstaff Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is a strategic roadmap to guide the Flagstaff community in building resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to protect the wellbeing of residents for decades to come.

The CAAP demonstrates Flagstaff’s leadership in tackling climate change, the greatest challenge of the 21st century. Plan goals cover three key areas: mitigation – to reduce our contribution to climate change by reducing Flagstaff’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050; adaptation – to prepare for change and build resiliency; and equity – to ensure the costs and benefits of climate action are equitably distributed.

Project Highlights:

  • Two foundational documents: a Climate Profile to broaden understanding of anticipated local climate changes, and a Vulnerability Assessment linking climate change to downstream effects on broader systems like public health, economic well-being, housing, and quality of life.
  • A planning process that emphasized community actions by incorporating ideas and feedback from over 1,000 residents.
  • An emphasis on equity throughout plan development and implementation to prioritize underserved communities that will be most affected by climate change.
  • 165 specific climate actions that the City, residents, and businesses will take to achieve Flagstaff’s climate goals.


Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations

Submitted by: Pima County Government

Pima County’s Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations (SAPCO) is an internally-focused framework that guides our path toward sustainable operations. Equipped with ambitious objectives, measurable targets and easily integrated actions, its purpose is to address the climate challenges of today in the hopes of securing a better tomorrow.

Project Highlights:

  • Pima County prioritizes cross-departmental and cross-jurisdictional collaborations in SAPCO’s development and implementation
  • The Plan is an expansive and multi-faceted initiative, covering nine different sustainability focus areas
  • Annual Sustainability Report Cards are produced to quantitatively measure the County’s performance towards SAPCO’s targets
  • The updated 2018 SAPCO upholds the U.S’s commitment to the Paris Agreement through mitigation and adaptation measures

In our FY2014-2018 Plan alone, the County avoided more than 64,000 MtCO2e emissions; installed more than 6 MW of renewable energy; added 42 fully-electric vehicles; decreased the number of tobacco users by more than 40%; established or maintained nearly a thousand acres of natural habitat with County renewable water, and more. All in all, we improved 19 of the 25 target and sub-target areas. 

By taking responsibility to mitigate our emissions and adapt to a different climate future, Pima County is focused on protecting our community, local economy, and regional environmental integrity while providing a model for others to join us in this work. 


President's Award

Crescordia Winner

Mar 5 & Gila River Interpretive Trail

Submitted by: Hunter Contracting Co.

A collaboration between the Gila River Indian Community, Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project, Neill + Young Associates, and Hunter Contracting Co., the Managed Aquifer Recharge Site 5 (MAR 5) and Interpretive Trail gives Gila River Indian Community members a sustainable way to provide water for farming, materials for artisans to carry on their crafts, and classes to teach future generations.

By creating a living learning facility, Gila River Indian Community members have a place to learn about and feel connected with the water, the land, and their heritage. Community members can exercise, socialize, gather materials for artisan crafts, and learn traditional skills. The next generations will learn about their heritage and be inspired to pursue professions such as hydrology, civil engineering, and conservation. Water stored in the aquifer can be recovered when surface water shortages occur. The aquifer will be a source of water for farming irrigation to provide agricultural products throughout the world bringing revenue back into the state’s economy.

Project Highlights:

  • Collaborative project between multiple agencies
  • Sustainable, native, and natural materials used throughout
  • Living learning facility
  • Source for water and artisan materials

Restoring Water in the Desert

Submitted by: Intel Corporation

Technology innovator and Arizona manufacturer Intel Corporation has committed to restore 100% of the company’s global water use through collaborative projects that restore water to watersheds that benefit the communities in which Intel operates. To achieve this ambitious goal, announced in 2017, Intel is engaging local community, nonprofit, and conservation organizations to identify and fund projects that aim to address local water issues and support the well-being of communities and the environment. Since the goal was announced, Intel has funded seven projects in collaboration with nonprofits to support Arizona watersheds. Once completed, these projects will restore close to half a billion gallons of water to the environment each year.

Project Highlights:

  • Addresses a critical environmental issue while balancing the need for jobs and economic development;
  • Builds on the 5 billion gallons of water Intel has already returned to Arizona’s water supply from its operations;
  • Goes above and beyond regulatory and compliance measures, encouraging other corporations to adopt this practice;
  • Demonstrates collaboration with multiple partners to achieve the ambitious goal.

Arizona nonprofit partners include The Nature Conservancy, the National Forest Foundation, Trout Unlimited, and the Arizona Land and Water Trust.



Arizona Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee Co-chairs

Submitted by: City of Tucson Water Department

Tucson Water proudly nominates both Thomas Buschatzke, Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Director, and Theodore Cooke, Central Arizona Project (CAP) General Manager, for the 2019 Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future.

As Co-Chairs of the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) Steering Committee, they brought leadership, vision, and critical collaboration skills to the negotiation table. They were pivotal towards achieving consensus among diverse water stakeholders and ultimately gaining State Legislative approval of that consensus plan. 

Approval allowed Arizona to sign onto the Lower Basin DCP and provide certainty that our state can continue to achieve strong economic development, environmental protection, and wise water management in times of shortage. In addition, this landmark agreement will set the stage for how Arizona can approach future negotiations among the Colorado Basin states to address shortage and drought. 

Thanks to Director Buschatzke and General Manager Cooke:

  • Significant water supply cuts to Pinal County agricultural districts were mitigated
  • Arizona cities—the largest economic engines in our state—were protected
  • Native Tribes and Nations played key roles in assisting other stakeholders and protecting Lake Mead water levels
  • Arizona met federal deadlines and do our part to help sustain the Colorado River for many years to come

Buildings and Structures: Civic

Signal Butte Water Treatment Plant

Submitted by: City of Mesa

For cities to grow and thrive in Arizona, water utilities must keep up with the demands of the booming economy. To continue to meet the need for safe and reliable water services in the third largest city in Arizona, the City of Mesa Water Resources Department brought the new $126 million Signal Butte Water Treatment Plant online in the summer of 2018. 

Project Highlights:

  • As one of the largest capital projects in Mesa’s history, the Signal Butte Water Treatment Plant serves rapidly growing southeast Mesa and adds another 24 million gallons per day of capacity to the water system.
  • This new asset provides a clean, safe and economical choice in Mesa’s drinking water and sustainable supplies for the future.
  • The new plant allows the city to utilize Colorado River water delivered through the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal and conserve finite groundwater supplies.
  • State-of-the-art systems like ozone disinfection and onsite bleach generation ensure the water quality produced exceeds quality standards set for the project.


AZ TechCelerator

Submitted by: City of Surprise

Originally a strip mall, then a city hall, in 2009 the city-owned property was again threatened with vacancy as the city built its new city hall facility a few miles away. With incredible insight from city council and support from the local business community, the former city hall property was redeveloped to become the West Valley’s first business incubator. In January of 2010, the AZ TechCelerator was launched and began providing business support services and education to Greater Phoenix West Valley companies. Today, the AZ TechCelerator is among Arizona’s biggest and best-performing incubators. Over the years, the city has invested into the four-building campus, resulting in new operating systems that increased the efficiencies and sustainability of the campus. The environmental impact is not limited to the physical structure however; the city attracts and supports growth of community-focused technology companies that supports the region’s sustainability and environmental awareness efforts. The AZ TechCelerator has developed a program that partners with the community that will build a brighter future for years to come.


Heroes Regional Park Library

Submitted by: City of Glendale Community Services Department

The city of Glendale’s Community Services Department recently opened the Heroes Regional Park Library on May 18, 2019, for the purpose in serving 65,000 West Glendale and nearly 400,000 West Valley residents living within five miles of the library’s location.  Libraries serve as important community hubs of research, informational, and recreational needs utilizing technology for all ages.  The community response was overwhelming with over 1,300 residents attending the grand opening and 176 new library card patron accounts created.  It is hoped that the library will reach 80,000 patron visits during its first year.  The Heroes Regional Park Library project was innovative and unique for a number of reasons.

Project Highlights:

  • Located within the City’s Heroes Regional Park further developing the site and blending in within the existing park’s environment and infrastructure. 
  • Features an open and flexible floor plan, designed and constructed, with potential future expansion in mind. 
  • Exterior features fiber-cement panels that are installed an inch off the building wall itself to keep the Summer heat off the building which cools the interior, managed with energy efficient digital climate and lighting controls.
  • Water-harvesting rain chains and retention bins to help water the xeriscape flora and fauna.

Coconino County Medical Examiner's Facility

Submitted by: Kinney Construction Services, Inc.

The Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office investigates violent, unexpected and suspicious deaths to support the critical work of law enforcement and help grieving families in the untimely passing of loved ones.

Due to the age and capacity of the former facility, Coconino County worked with Kinney Construction Services on the adaptive re-use of an existing single-story masonry block building for a new office to better serve local and neighboring jurisdictions. Due to its strategic design, it received a Gold rating from the Coconino County Sustainable Building Program.

Project Highlights:

  • Motivated by a Public Health Imperative | With a budget of $3.4 M, the 8,278 SF state-ofthe-art facility meets the needs of a diverse population of 150,000 including tribal and federal lands serving millions of tourists annually;
  • Driven by Sustainable Development | Sustainability inspired every decision from improving the building’s envelope for environmental considerations to installing containment and filtration systems for public safety; 
  • Culturally-Aware | In addition to a functionally appropriate floor plan, a Navajo Blessing Ceremony was conducted to contribute towards a discreet, sensitive, and culturally appropriate space;
  • Human-Centered | A care for employee health resulted in a new wellness room designed to provide respite and rejuvenation.

Fraesfield and Granite Mountain Trailheads

Submitted by: SmithGroup

The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban land preserve in the country. It’s series of trailheads contribute to the protection and advocacy of our public lands by providing extensive educational and recreational opportunities to the public. Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads are two separate projects designed and built at the same time in the northeast corner of the Preserve. The planning and design of these two unique, remote and disturbed sites provided for both a one of a kind architectural opportunity, and restoration of the natural habitat.

Project Highlights:

  • Understanding of the natural processes of the land guided the design of sustainable amenities that provide habitat, refuge, shade and shelter. 
  • An intensive planning and analysis phase studied the intricacies of the Preserve including environmental factors, trail systems and user groups to inform each trailhead design. 
  • From large scale master planning down to the design of the interpretive signage – each trailhead strives to leave a positive impact on the environment utilizing sustainable practices while educating the public about preservation. 
  • Faced with numerous constructability and siting challenges, the design team developed two complimentary yet contrasting designs that drew inspiration from the uniqueness of their respective sites.
Award of Distinction
San Luis 1 Land Port of Entry, North Annex Building

Submitted by: Jones Studio, Inc.

The North Annex Building at the San Luis 1 Land Port of Entry expands critical pedestrian processing infrastructure and functionality. This pedestrian traffic supports the vital agricultural industry of the greater Yuma region. This 7,990-GSF ground-up facility, constructed on the campus of the existing Port, includes 10 pedestrian processing lanes with associated queuing. The Port of Entry simultaneously provides protection to the United States while facilitating the lawful migration of people and goods between the United States and Mexico.

The GSA expects this new pedestrian processing building to anchor all future improvements while being an outstanding facility for the present and near future. Our choice of a simple rectangular plan, repetitive structure, efficient systems, durable, low-maintenance materials and an appreciation for the value of thoughtful, drought-resistant, low-maintenance landscaping delivers an aesthetic immediately positive, identifiable and beautiful.

Project Highlights:

  • Supports the processing of 2.5 million pedestrians annually, and over 9,000 people per day during peak season.
  • The building features a 10.5kw PV array, which contributes to a targeted 39% reduction of energy use.
  • A 50% reduction of potable water is anticipated through deployment of a greywater capture and treatment system.
  • The facility is projecting LEED Gold certification.

Crescordia Winner

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Justice Center

Submitted by: Gould Evans

The Salt River Pima Maricopa-Indian Community Center (SRPMIC) is a tribal court and practitioners’ building located on 4.3 acres of Indian Community land. The justice center responds to an increased demand for a space dedicated to the Community and the judicial process. Redefining traditional judicial environments, while considering the natural landscape, was an essential goal for the tribal members and design team alike. 

Project Highlights:

  • Demonstrates tribal values of the outdoors and seamlessly integrates the surrounding natural areas. 
  • Gives access to views of the sacred terrain, to provide respite from the stress of participating in court. 
  • Is wrapped in vertical rebar, reminiscent of traditional ocotillo fencing, which connects to the handmade and reduces the sterilizing effect of commonly built structures. 
  • Reflects the aspirations of the Community are reflected within the building to reduce feelings of intimidation, without diminishing the authority of the court.

Buildings & Structures: Historic Preservation


Rafterhouse Adaptive Re-use of the Historic Avery House

Submitted by: John Douglas Architects

Original Conditions:

Built in 1920, this house was built in the massive citrus groves of Arcadia. It served as the residence, and support facility for the owner’s citrus farm. It was situated on a dirt road, then known as Chicago Avenue. This was a true Craftsman Bungalow style home, distinguished by its walk out basement, which gave the main floor sufficient height to oversee the surrounding orchards. 

Existing Conditions:

This historic bungalow is now situated on one of the busiest arterial streets in Phoenix. Thousands of people passed by daily, but few were aware of the building due to planting overgrowth. Suffering from benign neglect, the house had never been altered in almost one hundred years

Adaptive Re-use Process:

We were fortunate to be approached by a local builder that saw an opportunity to renovate the house for use as his office. The roof was one of the defining characteristics of the house. We were fortunate to source energy efficient diagonal tiles matching the original asbestos shingles. The floor plans were already suited to office uses, so very little needed to be altered 

Project Highlights:

  • Built in 1920, this house was built in the massive citrus groves of Arcadia.
  • This was a true Craftsman Bungalow style home.
  • We were fortunate to be approached by a local builder that saw an opportunity to renovate the house for use as his office.
  • Today, this bungalow is once again visible as a reminder of this area’s history, defined by the orchards and the people that worked them.


El Chorro

Submitted by: Cadelaria Design Associates, LLC

Situated on eleven acres in the heart of Paradise Valley with spectacular views of Camelback Mountain, El Chorro represents an iconic Arizona dining and social event experience that was expeditiously yet meticulously renovated, transformed, and revitalized for nine months prior to re-opening in 2010.

El Chorro dates back to 1934, when it was originally built as the Judson School for Girls. In 1927, new owners transformed it into a restaurant, bar and lodge. It gradually evolved over the years as loyal patrons made it an Arizona favorite, but the long-term fate and use of this prime property was in question until purchased in 2009 by a local philanthropist intending to maintain El Chorro, but in a completely transformed state.

Project Highlights:

  • Working with a Town requirement to stay within the existing footprint, the bar, dining, patio and site amenities were reconfigured to allow for a seamless indoor/outdoor experience.
  • Through an emphasis on environmentally sensitive and sustainable design, EL Chorro became the first restaurant in Arizona to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Status (Gold Certification).
  • The renovation preserved and enhanced the classic ambiance of a unique Arizona experience for current and future generations to enjoy.



Phoenix College Physical Science Building

Submitted by: Holly Street Studio

The Phoenix College Campus is dotted with mid-century classics designed by renowned architect, Ralph Haver. In 1969, Haver’s Physical Science Building’s cast-in-place concrete and brick facade adapted to the context of the Southwest, echoed the quiet sensibilities of current trends and served a small student body near the heart of Phoenix, Arizona. In 2016, the building clung to its role as a central hub for the campus and as a local landmark on a prominent corner in a historic residential district, but was desperately in need of upgrades. A full interior renovation was set out with the goal of bringing this mid-century classic into the 21st Century - in both form and function. The “C Building Project” transformed the outdated, socially insular layout of classrooms into contemporary learning labs for Chemistry, Physical Sciences, and Engineering. The new design aligned program elements for maximum efficiency with views for intuitive wayfinding and cross disciplinary learning. This integration of instructional and experiential environments led to a complex yet balanced renovation.

Fifty years after the building’s construction, the upgrades respect & honor the past, while embracing the contemporary academic and social needs.

Project Highlights: 

  • Complete Interior Renovation of Iconic 1969 Ralph Haver Science Building
  • Upgraded Facilities for Contemporary Teaching Practices 
  • New & Clarified Connections to Campus & City Beyond
  • Design Strategy that Encourages Discovery & Social Engagement at Every Corner


Crescordia Winner

Band Building, Steele Indian School Park

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation

The Band building is on the National Register of Historic Places and just west of Memorial Hall, another building that remains from the Phoenix Indian School. Located at 300 E. Indian School Park which was built in 1933. The Phoenix Indian School campus occupied about 160 acres from 1891 to 1990. This project was a partnership with the City of Phoenix Parks Department the Native American Connections and the Phoenix Indian Center; and ensures that the history of Phoenix Indian School and the story of its many students and families will never be forgotten.

The 6,000 square foot space was transformed from the former Phoenix Indian School campus into a space for education and reflection. A government-run boarding school for Native Americans existed for nearly a century at this site. The new space is intended to help educate people unfamiliar with what the park used to be. The following is a how this building is to be used.

Project Highlights:

  • Conference style meeting space with A/V to hold up to 120 people (theatre style)
  • Classroom meeting/teaching space with A/V to hold up to 45 people
  • Commercial kitchen for rent for commercial food preparation of for use during events
  • The Board room with A/V for meetings to hold up to twelve people
  • Exhibition space with tours to learn the story of the Phoenix Indian School

The initial display gallery, which will be free to the public to visit, features an assembly of trophies won by the Phoenix Indian School students as far back as the 1950’s. The public can rent the center’s conference room for meetings, conferences, and weddings while the tribal members can reserve the room for free when they travel to Phoenix for meetings.

Buildings & Structures: Commercial & Institutional

Award of Distinction

Xero Studio

Submitted by: Studio Ma

Operating out of leased space in downtown Phoenix for over a decade, the architectural client came to a point where they were compelled to manifest their regenerative, bioclimatic values by designing a new office space for their practice emulating “architecture for everyone.” Because the existing building at the new property was inherently energy inefficient, the designers developed a parti that looked to Living Building Challenge for sustainable design strategies. They also aimed to enhance the culture of team-oriented, egalitarian structure, and minimize drawbacks of open offices. The existing building was demolished down to the shell and walls were raised 15 feet to improve acoustics and occupant comfort. A front porch leads to the main entrance of the 2,515 sf building that opens into an inviting lounge and studio space flooded with natural daylight. Other spaces include a collaborative kitchen, wood shop, conference room, fabrication lab, and xeriscape grounds that open to the street, a rarity in Phoenix.

Project Highlights:

  • Reuse of high embodied carbon materials
  • Natural ventilation for 9 months during the year with operable skylights and windows providing natural daylight during 95% of typical annual business hours
  • Net-zero energy and water
  • Exterior screen wall facade made from kebonized wood reducing heat gain and glare

Arizona Center

Submitted by: Gensler

Gensler worked with Parallel Capital Partners to create a new vision for the iconic downtown mixed-use center. The redeveloped identity increases visibility of the asset and asserts the property as a premiere destination in the burgeoning downtown landscape.

Arizona Center’s identity and gateway concept plan creates a fresh model for office, retail & entertainment, forging a lifestyle icon representing a new era in the downtown core. The redevelopment inspires a true sense of place, that is relevant and fulfilling for everyone who visits, works, or plays there. The once introverted asset has transformed into a vibrant extroverted experience that connects to the existing urban fabric through the design of gateway features, visible graphic identification, and strategic planning concepts.

The project creates a 360-degree experience that communicates the unique Arizona Center attributes and identity. Specific transformative elements include site furnishings, shade structures, landscape, lighting, materiality, wayfinding, and branded signage features.

Project Highlights:

  • Renovation of urban icon and pedestrian gateway to downtown Phoenix
  • Re-purposed existing building elements to reduce waste
  • Reactivated space to integrate Arizona State University students, new business, and  the local community
  • Landscape design contextual to the Sonoran desert

Crescordia Winner

The Bob and Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain

Submitted by: Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects

Located on a stunning site at the edge of the City of Phoenix South Mountain Park, the vision for the camp was for an urban program center, with camp appeal, built for girls but suitable for adult use with comfortable overnight facilities and large gathering space.  The project reflects the values of the Girl Scouts, a supportive place for girls to develop skills and foster community, and an example of sustainable desert development.  The Leadership Center is formed with tent inspired structure, open to the surrounding walks, with landscape integrated inside and out, a welcoming camp focus.  Fifteen cabins are in clusters of three, with an enlarged deck that allows for activity and sense of community.  Site activities include a play field, pool, amphitheater and archery.

Project Highlights:

  • Buildings all integrated with exterior activity and vistas of South Mountain
  • Primary camp circulation is a raised deck that protects the desert, allows unrestricted water movement from the mountain, and provides accessibility for all including wheelchairs
  • Protection of the natural desert landscape and water movement from the mountain through the site
  • LEED silver certification and comprehensive sustainable design including recycled building materials, daylighting, rainwater harvesting on all buildings


Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel Renovation + Street Activation

Submitted by: Gensler

The transformation of the aptly-named Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel reinvigorates an important corner in the city’s historical business center and incorporates aspects of economic, environmental and social sustainability.  These improvements represent the first project to be realized from the 2013 Adams Street Activation Study, which focused on activating and enhancing an urban, pedestrian-friendly experience along Adams. Understanding that it is especially important for our relatively young city to celebrate and preserve its significant urban landmarks, the team focused on strategic upgrades that would extend the life of the building while limiting the impact on the environment. In a time which often favors sleek new builds, this project represents the successful incorporation of environmentally-conscious upgrades in favor of the creation of a new structure. Main improvements include: modernization of the tower through a new all-white coating, new aluminum façade at the base to create shade and improve the pedestrian experience, and Sonoran-Desert landscape to bring the desert environment downtown.


Arizona State University Sun Devil Stadium Reinvention

Submitted by: Gould Evans

Uniquely situated between two buttes, the reinvention of the Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University re-imagines the function of a collegiate football stadium, creating universal accessibility, preserving an iconic building within the natural environment and activating ASU’s vision of utilizing the stadium as a communal gathering space to be used 365 days a year. 

Project Highlights: 

  • Design enhancements position the stadium for a variety of year-round programming beyond the football season
  • Maintains the iconic imagery of the stadium with inclusivity and universal accessibility among fans and community members
  • Achieves numerous building performance sustainability efforts with the goal of becoming LEED Gold certified 
  • Improves the overall attendee experience, with a new concourse, premium seating, in-stadium technology, opened breezeways for natural ventilation and expanded student sections.

Site Development & Landscape: Industrial & Public Works


City of Avondale Aquaculture Facility

Submitted by: City of Avondale

The Crystal Gardens Wetlands is the City of Avondale’s surface water treatment facility that utilizes natural methods for stripping nitrates from CAP & SRP surface water supplies before recharging the water back into the aquifer for storage. 

To increase sustainability, the City of Avondale successfully built and implemented an aquaculture facility for Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis Mossambicus). This aquaculture facility consists of its own in‐house hatchery and full grow out facility that allows the City to hatch, raise, and then stock Mozambique Tilapia in the Crystal Gardens Wetlands for algae control instead of the chemical applications required in the past. 

Project Highlights:

  • Two City staff custom built a recirculating aquaculture system using a closed loop design that saves over 3,500 gallons per week of production; to date over 227,000 gallons have been saved. 
  • Since established in April of 2018, over 8,300 Mozambique Tilapia have been successfully hatched, raised, and stocked into the City’s wetlands. 
  • By switching to onsite Mozambique Tilapia production, the City has avoided over 13.12 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Using Mozambique Tilapia for algae control has prevented numerous chemical applications within the  wetlands.


Headworks Odor Control Improvement Project

Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

When sewage flows to the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department’s Tres Rios Water Reclamation Facility, the headworks is the initial point of entry. Screens located at the headworks filter incoming inorganic materials such as sticks, stones, sand, baby wipes, and larger items like diapers and toys that could damage high tech pumps and screening equipment at the treatment plant.  Tres Rios is adjacent to a heavily-used sports park, and odors emanating from the headworks resulted in complaints from park management and users. Since RWRD’s mission is to protect the public health, safety, and the environment, it was critical that RWRD take action to correct the issue.  An odor evaluation was conducted, and the results provided the design basis for ventilation and odor control improvements. RWRD implemented the recommendations and retrofitted plant equipment resulting in a higher level of air quality and a reduction in odors and hydrogen sulfide levels, benefitting RWRD staff, and the public.

Project Highlights:

  • Plant modifications reduced odors.
  • Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels, which can be fatal to humans and corrosive to infrastructure, were reduced.
  • Leak-proof and leak-tight equipment replaced antiquated equipment.
  • Test results showed improved air quality.

Site Development & Landscape: Landscapes & Preserves


Beautification Brings Butterflies

Submitted by: City of Scottsdale, Operation Fix It

The purpose of this green initiative was to transform an aging 9.4 acre neighborhood park Scottsdale Rotary Park - into a butterfly garden and upgraded recreational space for the community.  

In November 2018, through an extensive collaboration effort, $10,000 in grant funding was provided by the Scottsdale Neighborhood Advisory Commission to purchase park trees Scottsdale Parks and Recreation provided the manpower to provide new ADA compliant public paths, install necessary irrigation and re-purposed  public art and benches within the site; and non-profit, Operation Fix It organized  125 private sector volunteers from Republic Services into contributing 312 service hours to paint ramadas and public restroom facilities, plant 80 trees along the various walking paths and install 125 plantings in order to create Scottsdale’s first butterfly garden. Certified by the North American Butterfly Association, this sustainable project will create a pollination habitat, to help with the production of fruit and seeds necessary for sustaining our local food production. 

Project Highlights:

  • Internal and external collaboration of stakeholders
  • Provides hands on learning opportunities about our pollinators and the plantings.
  • Identified, attained and utilized grant funding 
  • First certified, educational pollination garden in Scottsdale.
  • Project “Beautification Brings Butterflies” is reducing our carbon footprint and aiding in pollinator conservation.


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Turf Removal Project

Submitted by: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has proven that xeriscaping isn’t all about cactus and brown rocks. America’s Friendliest Airport® has created a visually attractive landscape that highlights native trees, plants and wildflowers, while sipping just a fraction of its former water usage.

Its approximately 45 million annual visitors can enjoy and appreciate:

  • 435 low-water-use trees such as palo verdes and shoestring acacias
  • 75 saguaros, 61 of which were salvaged from the Rental Car Center and other airport areas
  • 275 large signature cacti that include ocotillo, totem pole, Mexican fence post, organ pipe and Argentine toothpick
  • Nearly 3,000 accent plants, succulents and shrubs

Phoenix Sky Harbor is expected to save 5.3 million gallons of water annually. This project made special use of rock-filled gabion baskets. Gabion baskets are typically used near slopes and banks to combat water erosion. There are now 1.7 miles of gabions in select areas where turf used to grow, and they are designed to mimic the swirling wingtip vortex created by high-speed jets. But perhaps more importantly, visitors and passengers will be treated to a landscape that combines art and science in perfect harmony.


Chandler-Gilbert Community College AB Courtyard

Submitted by: Logan Simpson

The AB Courtyard is located at the heart of Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s (CGCC’s) Pecos campus. This exterior space carries the college’s theme, supports curriculum and event programs, and is a comfortable, shaded outdoor space for students and faculty. Site improvements include a raised performance stage with shade sails; lawn area; event/security lighting; seating; wayfinding signage; and grading and drainage. The design was developed using 3-D modeling software and presented using a VR headset. Navigating the site using VR helped stakeholders understand the layout of site program, sense overall scale, and test site lines—which would have been much harder to experience through plan and 2D perspectives. Stakeholders were enthusiastic and provided excellent feedback to the landscape architect.

Project Highlights:

  • Desert-adapted plants and sustainable stormwater management techniques help conserve water, reduce erosion, and limit pollution entering the stormwater system.
  • The AB Courtyard sets the tone for the campus and hosts events like new student orientations.
  • The college’s PM reported that the VR presentations made the design process go very smoothly, particularly for those who were unfamiliar with design plans.
  • Flexible open and performing spaces are designed to host multiple kinds of academic and performance events and extend learning from classrooms to the outdoors.


Fraesfield and Granite Mountain Trailheads, City of Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Submitted by: SmithGroup

The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban land preserve in the country. It’s series of trailheads contribute to the protection and advocacy of our public lands by providing extensive educational and recreational opportunities to the public. Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads are two separate projects designed and built at the same time in the northeast corner of the Preserve. The planning and design of these two unique, remote and disturbed sites provided for both a one of a kind architectural opportunity, and restoration of the natural habitat.

Project Highlights:

  • Understanding of the natural processes of the land guided the design of sustainable amenities that provide habitat, refuge, shade and shelter. 
  • An intensive planning and analysis phase studied the intricacies of the Preserve including environmental factors, trail systems and user groups to inform each trailhead design. 
  • From large scale master planning down to the design of the interpretive signage – each trailhead strives to leave a positive impact on the environment utilizing sustainable practices while educating the public about preservation. 
  • Faced with numerous constructability and siting challenges, the design team developed two complimentary yet contrasting designs that drew inspiration from the uniqueness of their respective sites.


President's Award

Crescordia Winner

MAR 5 & Gila River Interpretive Trail

Submitted by: Hunter Contracting Co.

A collaboration between the Gila River Indian Community, Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project, Neill + Young Associates, and Hunter Contracting Co., the Managed Aquifer Recharge Site 5 (MAR 5) and Interpretive Trail gives Gila River Indian Community members a sustainable way to provide water for farming, materials for artisans to carry on their crafts, and classes to teach future generations.

By creating a living learning facility, Gila River Indian Community members have a place to learn about and feel connected with the water, the land, and their heritage. Community members can exercise, socialize, gather materials for artisan crafts, and learn traditional skills. The next generations will learn about their heritage and be inspired to pursue professions such as hydrology, civil engineering, and conservation. Water stored in the aquifer can be recovered when surface water shortages occur. The aquifer will be a source of water for farming irrigation to provide agricultural products throughout the world bringing revenue back into the state’s economy.

Project Highlights:

  • Collaborative project between multiple agencies
  • Sustainable, native, and natural materials used throughout
  • Living learning facility
  • Source for water and artisan materials


Sabino Creek Pump Station and Force Main Project

Sumitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

The Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (RWRD) operates and maintains 3500 miles of sanitary sewer lines in Pima County, Arizona. The Department recently completed the Sabino Creek Pump Station and Force Main project. The project goal was to replace a temporary wastewater pipeline servicing an area near Canyon Ranch Resort that crossed the Sabino Creek to the east. Flooding in 2006 washed out portions of Sabino Creek, exposing the pipeline and making it vulnerable to damage. Temporary stabilization efforts were conducted, however, to mitigate risk and ensure public safety, RWRD constructed a new lift station and force main and eliminated the existing Sabino Creek gravity sewer crossing.

Project Highlights:

  • The project overcame challenges including contractors/RWRD staff changes, and funding shortages. 
  • Natural disasters that could have caused pipe failures were averted.
  • Directional drilling allowed for minimal scarring to the surrounding desert. 
  • U.S. Senator McSally presented RWRD with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition.


Award of Distinction

The University of Arizona Environmental & Natural Resources 2 (ENR2) Building

Submitted by: Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture

The School of Environment + Natural Resources 2 complex (ENR2) located on a former asphalt parking lot address’s grand challenges in environmental sciences by integrating across the boundaries of biology, physical science, resource management, and international resource issues. This horizontal integration speaks to the urgent need to address complex issues in the environment with interdisciplinary science strategies linked to real world solutions. The ENR2 landscape is a high-performance landscape that operates as a space for respite and an outdoor learning laboratory for sustainable design in the southwest. The landscape demonstrates sustainable strategies of climate control, urban wildlife and pollinator habitat, air cleansing, water harvesting as well as human comfort. Incorporated into the site is a 52,000-gallon storage tank capturing 260,000 gallons of condensate and rainwater runoff throughout the year reducing the use of potable water to zero.


Award of Distinction 

Santa Cruz River Heritage Project

Submitted by: City of Tucson Water Department

The Santa Cruz River played a central role in the history of the Tucson region, sustaining communities with reliable access to surface water for thousands of years. In the early 20th century, groundwater pumping for agriculture and urban growth put extreme stresses on the river, leaving the riverbed in Tucson completely dry for most of the year— but that changed with Tucson Water’s Santa Cruz River Heritage Project, a forward-thinking program using recycled water to revitalize an urban river.  

The Santa Cruz River Heritage Project (SCRHP) releases up to 2.8 million gallons per day of recycled water into the Santa Cruz, creating a stream of flowing water south of Sentinel Peak to downtown Tucson.

Benefits of the project include:

  • Development of an urban riparian habitat that encourages the return of native plant species and endangered wildlife
  • In-channel aquifer recharge to increase water levels in the area’s groundwater basin and obtain recharge credits 
  • Improved recreational opportunities and views for bicyclists, walkers, joggers, and equestrians on the adjacent section of “The Loop” trail.
  • Improved flood protection o Enhancement of nearby historical and cultural community projects 
  • A “green” driver of economic development and tourism


Crescordia Winner

Lower Salt River Riparian Restoration Project

Submitted by: National Forest Foundation

The Salt River is a major artery for city water supplies, and on the Tonto National Forest, the Lower Salt River Recreation Area boasts a well-loved destination spot for thousands of visitors each year. Yet the health of the River has degraded over the last several decades. The purpose of this project is to restore an 11-mile stretch of the Lower Salt River by removing exotic plant species, planting over 500,000 native plants, and developing educational and volunteer opportunities. Benefits include protecting water supplies, enhancing the sustainability of the riparian area, and increasing quality of recreation opportunities. The effort also focuses on youth experience and hands-on citizen science. In our first year, we removed invasive species in 120 acres of riparian habitat. 

Project Highlights:

  • Engaged over 250 individuals, spending over 1000 hours restoring the site in 2018.
  • Engaged over 200 high school students through the Arizona Audubon’s River Pathway Program.
  • Planted 150,000 native trees, including a variety of willows, cottonwoods, mesquite, palo verde, and ironwood.
  • Eight funding and implementation partners, each bringing strength to project success.


South Mountain Park and Preserve Improvements

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation

In 2015, the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department organized a team to provide an evaluation of the city’s prized park, South Mountain Park and Preserve.  Existing conditions of the numerous facilities were looked at, including the historic facilities constructed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp, to determine the best course of action to renovate, rehabilitate, and/or restore said facilities.  Cost estimates were also developed to help guide decision making as a 5-year plan was developed to give South Mountain Park a much need facelift.  The transformation began in Fiscal Year 2016/2017 and will conclude in Fiscal Year 2020/2021, just in time for South Mountain Park’s 100-year birthday in 2024. 

As part of this evaluation, a list of criteria was developed as a design guideline for the park’s facilities:

  • Preserve the park’s natural desert environment.
  • Restore the park’s historic facilities.
  • Implement improvements to enhance the overall park experience.
  • Educate the public about the park.


Award of Distinction

Washington Park

Submitted by: Arizona Trail Association

The Arizona Trail Association and their partners rehabilitated of a stretch of the abandoned Colonel Devin trail near the Washington Park trailhead in order to move a mile of the Arizona National Scenic Trail off of a utility corridor. The new alignment both highlights and protects a lush, old-growth riparian woodland along the banks of the headwaters of the East Verde River.

Project Highlights:

  • 2 - 44’ steel bridges span the East Verde River
  • 2 – 12’ puncheon footbridges span the creek
  • 1 mile of new trail provides an alternative to substandard utility roadbed
  • New signage provides interpretive opportunities and wayfinding
  • A revitalized trailhead at Washington Park invites visitors to experience a vibrant and unique riparian landscape

Healthy Communities: Public Policy & Plans


Greater Phoenix Metro Green Infrastructure Handbook: Low-Impact Development Details for Alternative Stormwater Management

Submitted by: City of Scottsdale in collaboration with the ASU Sustainable Cities Network and member communities

The Greater Phoenix Metro Green Infrastructure Handbook: Low-Impact Development Details for Alternative Stormwater Management is a collaborative project of Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network (ASU SCN) Green Infrastructure (GI) Workgroup. The Handbook development team, led by the City of Scottsdale, included the ASU SCN, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, and teams from seven Valley cities.

The Handbook provides ten standardized technical details and specifications for low-impact development (LID) strategies designed specifically for the Valley.  The details include rainwater harvesting gardens, bioswales, chicanes, and more.

Project Highlights:

  • Valley wide collaborative project with ongoing public education and advocacy
  • LID/GI details which increase rainfall infiltration, groundwater recharge, and stormwater harvesting for landscape
  • Green techniques to treat the first flush stormwater pollutant loads
  • The Handbook is free and publicly available at https://sustainability.asu.edu/sustainable-cities/resources/lid-handbook/

Development of the Handbook was funded in part by the City of Scottsdale and subsidized by grants from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.

The Green Infrastructure Handbook provides the much-needed introduction of standardized technical details and specifications for the Valley’s green infrastructure, helping the design and construction industries implement these details with consistency and quality throughout the Phoenix Metro area.


Resource Innovation Campus Master Plan

Submitted by: City of Phoenix

The City of Phoenix recently finalized a Resource Innovation Campus Master Plan with the assistance of HDR Engineering. The Campus Master Plan sets the framework for all the land uses of the 130-acres of City owned land surrounding the 27th Avenue Transfer Station. The creation of an Eco-Industrial campus for co-location of uses dedicated to resource recovery is rare in the United States, and the City of Phoenix aims to dedicate the campus toward the growth of a circular economy that fulfill’ s the city’s goal of diverting from the landfill 40% of the solid waste generated by the City by the year 2020, and zero waste by 2050. The City’s circular economy hub, the Resource Innovation Campus, will realize economic development benefits through the attraction of new innovators of manufacturing processes and conversion technologies that utilize discarded wastes as source materials. The City’s significant investments into the campus, such as the installation of water mains and plans for future infrastructure (sewer, stormwater, roads) distinguishes the campus as an attractive option for interested tenants.

Project Highlights:

  • Dedicates 13 unique parcels for lease ranging from 2.05 to 5.83 acres with flexibility to combine
  • Sets the framework for incoming tenants and demonstrates infrastructure availability
  • Eco-industrial resource recovery campus adjacent to a transfer station
  • Monumental step toward the Goal of 90% solid waste diversion for the City of Phoenix


South Phoenix Village Single-Family Infill Redevelopment Project

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department

The Infill Redevelopment Project brought 121 energy-efficient, affordable homes ranging in size from 1,314 to 1,690 square feet to the neighborhood at 24th to 32nd streets between Broadway and Roeser roads.

Project Highlights: 

  • 15.00 SEER A/C
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Proper placement of insulation
  • LED light bulbs
  • Energy-efficient appliances


Crescordia Winner

Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations

Submitted by: Pima County Government

Pima County’s Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations (SAPCO) is an internally-focused framework that guides our path toward sustainable operations. Equipped with ambitious objectives, measurable targets and easily integrated actions, its purpose is to address the climate challenges of today in the hopes of securing a better tomorrow.

Pima County prioritizes cross-departmental and cross-jurisdictional collaborations in SAPCO’s development and implementation

  • The Plan is an expansive and multi-faceted initiative, covering nine different sustainability focus areas
  • Annual Sustainability Report Cards are produced to quantitatively measure the County’s performance towards SAPCO’s targets
  • The updated 2018 SAPCO upholds the U.S’s commitment to the Paris Agreement through mitigation and adaptation measures
  • In our FY2014-2018 Plan alone, the County avoided more than 64,000 MtCO2e emissions; installed more than 6 MW of renewable energy; added 42 fully-electric vehicles; decreased the number of tobacco users by more than 40%; established or maintained nearly a thousand acres of natural habitat with County renewable water, and more. All in all, we improved 19 of the 25 target and sub-target areas.  

By taking responsibility to mitigate our emissions and adapt to a different climate future, Pima County is focused on protecting our community, local economy, and regional environmental integrity while providing a model for others to join us in this work.        


Award of Distinction

Sustainable Tourism Plan

Submitted by: Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Sedona’s stunning landscape and amazing cultural amenities inspire people everywhere, including artists, hikers, and those seeking renewal. Falling in love with Sedona is easy. The community wants to be sure we aren't loved to death.  With great tourism success, comes great civic responsibility.   In 2016, Sedona undertook the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Assessment scoring highly in 33 out of 41 criteria, placing Sedona as the second destination in the country to undergo such an assessment and positioning Sedona as a World Leader in Sustainable Tourism Management. The Four Pillars of the Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP) focus on balancing and enhancing residential quality of life, protecting our fragile lands, creating memorable visitor experiences and growing a strong economy. Balancing the Plan’s four pillars will be key to Sedona’s future: environment, resident quality of life, quality of the economy, and visitor experience.

Project Highlights:

  • The STP is the first community-developed sustainable tourism plan in Arizona. 
  • The Plan is a response to community concerns about overcrowding and congestion affecting the Sedona environment and resident quality of life.
  • These concerns match a trend in popular domestic and international travel destinations regarding the impact of increasing tourism levels.
  • The STP is the product of an 18-month community-wide effort  involving more than 1,000 residents, stakeholders and visitors. 

Conducted by Arizona State University’s Center for Sustainable Tourism, only two schools of its kind in the USA, and Nichols Tourism Group.


Award of Distinction

Flagstaff Climate Action & Adaptation Plan

Submitted by: City of Flagstaff

The Flagstaff Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is a strategic roadmap to guide the Flagstaff community in building resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to protect the well-being of residents for decades to come. The CAAP demonstrates Flagstaff’s leadership in tackling climate change, the greatest challenge of the 21st century. Plan goals cover three key areas: mitigation – to reduce our contribution to climate change by reducing Flagstaff’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050; adaptation – to prepare for change and build resiliency; and equity – to ensure the costs and benefits of climate action are equitably distributed. Plan highlights include: - Two foundational documents: a Climate Profile to broaden understanding of anticipated local climate changes, and a Vulnerability Assessment linking climate change to downstream effects on broader systems like public health, economic well-being, housing, and quality of life. - A planning process that emphasized community actions by incorporating ideas and feedback from over 1,000 residents. - An emphasis on equity throughout plan development and implementation to prioritize under-served communities that will be most affected by climate change. - 165 specific climate actions that the City, residents, and businesses will take to achieve Flagstaff’s climate goals.

Healthy Communities: Sustainable Communities & Workplaces


50th Street Station

Submitted by: Valley Metro

The 50th Street Station was designed and installed to expand light rail transit access, with substantial considerations given to riders with disabilities.

The station benefits the economic vitality of the community by providing increased access to the 55 businesses in the nearby industrial park. Its unique design features, which cater to the needs of the disabled community, enhance the connection to critical resources at Ability360. Greater access to light rail also provides transportation choices that benefit regional air quality by reducing emissions from vehicles.

The station provides access to an alternative means of travel that prevents an average of 98,000 tons of greenhouse gases emissions and over 2,000 tons of criteria air pollutants annually.

Project Highlights

  • Designed to serve Ability360, an independent living center for people with disabilities and employers in the area
  • Valley Metro’s first station built with new technology and access features that enhance the safety and rider experience for the disabled community
  • First light rail project funded entirely by the Phoenix voter-approved Transportation 2050
  • The first infill project added to an existing light rail line in Arizona


Shelter Medicine & Community Wellness

Submitted by: Midwestern University

Each year, more than 50,000 animals are taken into shelters in Maricopa County alone, often due to illness or cost of care. Many more animals live with families that cannot afford to keep them healthy, and many others live on the streets, both of which can pose significant health risks to neighborhood residents.

These problems and others potentially impact the sustainability of healthy and humane communities in Arizona through overpopulation, zoonotic diseases that can spread between animals and humans, hardship for pet owners with limited funds, or simply the breaking of the human-animal bond. 

In 2015, Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine initiated programs to provide medical and surgical services to address these needs in under-served communities in Arizona. Taking a One Health approach, the programs bring together students, faculty, and local partners to teach communities that the health of people, animals, and the environment are integrally connected, and to demonstrate how we can work together for a more sustainable future for all.

The MWU programs provide:

  • Free vaccines, spay/neuter, wellness, and other veterinary care for pets in under-served areas through its grant-funded Mobile Clinic and Pop-Up Unit
  • Partnerships with local shelters and rescue organizations to provide free spays/neuters at the University’s teaching hospital (Companion Animal Clinic)
  • Partnerships with local police and municipalities to provide diagnostic data for animal abuse cases and assistance with statewide animal disease outbreaks and herd health
  • Veterinary graduates trained in the One Health model, now filling long-standing open shelter medicine veterinarian positions in Arizona


Stronger, Longer

Submitted by: St. Luke’s Home

In 10 short years, 20% of Arizona’s population will be 65 or older; nearly 30% will be living on annual incomes of $25,000 or less. Without action today, these Elders are doomed to substandard housing, inadequate care, poor nutrition, unaffordable prescriptions, missed doctor’s visits, increased mental health issues and multiple trips to emergency rooms.

Providing quality care and housing for Elders requires essential investment to prevent greater economic challenges. 10,000 people are turning 65 daily, through 2030.  By ignoring the needs of today’s Elders, we face a future that includes excessive Elder reliance on far more expensive emergency room care and increasing dependence upon government.

For the past hundred years, St. Luke’s Home has served the most vulnerable populations.  Currently, we partner with the University of Arizona, making St. Luke’s unique as the only academically partnered Eden assisted-living community for low-income Elders in the Nation.

Our project “Stronger, Longer” ensures funding to provide services related to:

  • Mental Stimulation
  • Physical Activity
  • Quality Nutrition

As an Eden community, we improve the well-being of Elders and care partners by transforming the communities where they live and work.  Our project can change Arizona’s future and move Arizona forward by making Elders “Stronger, Longer.”

Healthy Communities: Parks & Trails


Award of Distinction 

Maricopa Trail

Submitted by: Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department

In 2000, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors formed the Maricopa County Trails Commission and unveiled their desire to develop a regional trail system. The vision for the main loop of the trail (Phase One) was to connect the majestic open spaces of Maricopa County’s regional parks via a non-motorized trail system. By 2004, the Commission had fleshed out a comprehensive plan, which was adopted by the Board.  

Phase One, which became known as The Maricopa Trail, was identified as a high priority project for Maricopa County. The blueprint for the trail was designed to capitalize on existing right-of-ways, such as canals, parks, utility corridors, and flood control projects. The intended users for the trail consist of hikers, cyclists, and equestrians – regardless of age and physical abilities.  

Project Highlights:

  • To ensure the progress of the Maricopa Trail was kept at the forefront on the department’s Capital Improvement Plan, the Board provided a dedicated funding source for the trail project. 
  • Partnerships with state agencies, communities, and county departments helped to reduce construction costs and accelerated the completion time by utilizing existing trail segments, right-of-ways, utility corridors, and flood control projects. 
  • Last year, the department celebrated the completion of Phase One of the Maricopa Trail, the 315-mile loop that connects the regional parks to local cities, towns, Tribal communities, and federal lands.


Beautification Brings Butterflies

Submitted by: City of Scottsdale, Operation Fix It

The purpose of this green initiative was to transform an aging 9.4 acre neighborhood park Scottsdale Rotary Park - into a butterfly garden and upgraded recreational space for the community.  

In November 2018, through an extensive collaboration effort, $10,000 in grant funding was provided by the Scottsdale Neighborhood Advisory Commission to purchase park trees Scottsdale Parks and Recreation provided the manpower to provide new ADA compliant public paths, install necessary irrigation and re-purposed  public art and benches within the site; and non-profit, Operation Fix It organized  125 private sector volunteers from Republic Services into contributing 312 service hours to paint ramadas and public restroom facilities, plant 80 trees along the various walking paths and install 125 plantings in order to create Scottsdale’s first butterfly garden. Certified by the North American Butterfly Association, this sustainable project will create a pollination habitat, to help with the production of fruit and seeds necessary for sustaining our local food production. 

Project Highlights:

  • Internal and external collaboration of stakeholders
  • Provides hands on learning opportunities about our pollinators and the plantings.
  • Identified, attained and utilized grant funding 
  • First certified, educational pollination garden in Scottsdale.
  • Project “Beautification Brings Butterflies” is reducing our carbon footprint and aiding in pollinator conservation.


Mansel Carter Oasis Park

Submitted by: Town of Queen Creek

Queen Creek’s Mansel Carter Oasis Park offers 48-acres of fun, creating an experience that encourages play for all. Beyond sports courts and ball fields, the park offers a shipwrecked themed splash pad, an elevated playground with a climbing wall, a fitness loop, connectivity to the Town’s wash trail system, and a wheel-friendly plaza. Opportunities for play on the inclusive designed equipment are possible thanks to a partnership with Banner Ironwood that extends the accessible surface, allowing people of all abilities to play alongside one another. 

Important efficiencies are also incorporated throughout the park. The 5-acre fishing lake is stocked through a partnership with AZ Game & Fish, providing the only community fishing lake in Queen Creek. Wastewater credits are used to pump recovered water into the lake, which is then used to irrigate the park; the splash pad water also drains into the lake. All lighting at the park uses LED technology, requiring less electricity and eliminating spill into the surrounding area. 

Project Highlights:

  • Queen Creek’s first inclusive playground 
  • Scenic fitness loop with built in cardio and body weight exercises
  • Lake uses recharged/recovered water and in lieu programs
  • Partnerships with Banner Ironwood Medical Center and Arizona Game and Fish


Award of Distinction

Restoration of Arizona’s State Parks Heritage Fund

Submitted by: Arizona Heritage Alliance

For the last decade the Arizona Heritage Alliance has been fighting to reinstate the State Parks Heritage Fund which was eliminated from statute in 2010 during budget negotiations, after 20 years of successful projects. That’s a decade of lost income, $100 million, to Arizona’s communities.

This last legislative session, the Arizona Heritage Alliance Legislative Task Force has been working closely with our Sponsors to restore the Fund and to bring it back in a responsible and deliberate manner.

… And We Did It! We Finally Did It! SB1241, state parks board; heritage fund, was signed by Governor Ducey. SB1241:

1) Re-establishes the Heritage Fund consisting of legislative appropriations, grants and donations.

2) Requires the Arizona State Parks Board to:

1) Establish criteria for the use of monies in the Heritage Fund.

2) Establish and revise the grant application process.

3) Review and evaluate grant applications.

3) Requires monies in the Heritage Fund to be used as follows:

1) 50% on parks for outdoor recreation and open space development, restoration or renovation.

2) 30% on historic preservation.

3) 10% on non-motorized trails.

4) 10% on outdoor and environmental education.

4) Excludes Heritage Fund monies from being used to acquire property.


Phoenix Preserve Conversion

Submitted by: City of Phoenix

For many years, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has been acquiring land, either through purchase or donation, for the sole purpose of creating additional preserve land to add to the already largest preserve land acreage owned by a city nationwide. In the spring of 2018, an additional 2,553.55 acres of natural desert land was added to City of Phoenix preserve land designation.

As the land is now designated preserve, all the land restrictions found in the City of Phoenix Charter, Chapter 26 Mountain Preserves, apply to the land. The land will be restricted for specific community use (mountain trails, trailheads, community education, etc.) and preserved in its natural desert state. The new preserve land is located throughout the city limits. Some is found in the northwest part of the city and some is centrally located and will provide many locals and visitors to the city the opportunity to experience the natural desert without having to leave city limits. The following areas were converted to preserve in the Spring of 2018:

  • Deem Hills – 968.24 acres
  • Ludden Mountain - 441.9 acres
  • Casa De Montañas – 66.87 acres
  • Pitcher Hill – 55.92 acres
  • Buffalo Ridge – 171.89 acres
  • Union Hills – 491.55 acres
  • Camelback Mountain (Echo Canyon) – 357.18 acres

Technology Innovation


Signal Butte Water Treatment Plant

Submitted by: City of Mesa

For cities to grow and thrive in Arizona, water utilities must keep up with the demands of the booming economy. To continue to meet the need for safe and reliable water services in the third largest city in Arizona, the City of Mesa Water Resources Department brought the new $126 million Signal Butte Water Treatment Plant online in the summer of 2018. 

Project Highlights:

  • As one of the largest capital projects in Mesa’s history, the Signal Butte Water Treatment Plant serves rapidly growing southeast Mesa and adds another 24 million gallons per day of capacity to the water system.
  • This new asset provides a clean, safe and economical choice in Mesa’s drinking water and sustainable supplies for the future.
  • The new plant allows the city to utilize Colorado River water delivered through the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal and conserve finite groundwater supplies.
  • State-of-the-art systems like ozone disinfection and onsite bleach generation ensure the water quality produced exceeds quality standards set for the project.

MesaAZ Smart City - Facility Automation @ Red Mountain Library Project

Submitted by: City of Mesa

Mesa’s Smart City Strategic Plan is a blueprint for growing smarter.  The Plan’s pillars use technology to decrease operational costs, improve service efficiencies, and foster inclusiveness and engagement.  The Plan’s foundation is protecting the environment, creating sustainable options, and modernizing essential infrastructure.  Technological advancements, paired with data driven insights, create a powerful platform that enhance the quality of life for all people.

One of the Plan’s key programs - Facility Automation – is being tested at the Red Mountain Library.  Facility Automation uses smart infrastructure to produce data that informs advanced control systems.  This data-based technology improves operations, supports resiliency at the library and realizes energy efficiency. 

Facility Automation controls the heating and cooling system (HVAC).  Smart sensors, controls and a robust energy management system (EMS) optimize equipment performance.  The EMS “learns” - using data to run  equipment better!   Technicians remotely check equipment performance.  Engineers analyze data - real-time.  Library staff can make adjustments immediately. 

Project Highlilghts:

  • Facility Automation monitors and controls HVAC, lighting, security, and life safety systems.  It is showing positive results, averaging 22 percent energy savings monthly, and the trend is getting better!  At a cost of 0.85 cents per kWh and a savings of 447,000 kWh since the EMS installation, it has saved the Library about $38,000 to date, or more than $1,200 monthly.  Savings are re-invested in Library programming.
  • Lessons learned from the Library project will be applied to future projects.   
  • Mesa’s Smart City Strategic Plan is not about technology – it’s about people.


Haven Home Automation and Renewable Energy Initiative (HAREI)

Submitted by: Mattamy Homes

The Haven Retreats Home Automation and Renewable Energy Initiative (HAREI) is designed to promote a modern paradigm for residential developments that address global matters such as clean energy and integrative technology. In partnership with technology leaders, Mattamy Homes’ HAREI is empowering local homeowners to evaluate their carbon footprint by modeled real-time data, affordable clean energy opportunities and home automation tailored to suit their lifestyle. This initiative enables homes to meet these metrics without conspicuous designs, restrictive usability or learned behaviors—the home continues to function in the background of everyday life.

Project Highlights:

  • Identifies and partners with technology leaders that integrate renewable energy and home automation while focusing on the lifelong impact on the home-owner and surrounding community.
  • HAREI’s  Home-Automation is entirely voice activated, removing platform complexities and technical competence.
  • The project’s real-time metrics are constructed around a typical individual, evaluating habitual routines and identifying opportunities for energy generation.
  • Collects and quantifies real-time data for public education and future incentives.  


PLAI: Park and Land Asset Inventory

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation

The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department manages and maintains 184 flatland parks, 29 pools, and 32 community centers to serve its 1.6 million residents. The data associated with these amenities is immense, and was unmanageable and inaccessible before the creation of the Parks and Land Asset Inventory (PLAI) database. The PLAI project is a spatial-based solution that utilizes ESRI’s technology to collect, maintain, and display information about Phoenix parks and assets. The project has benefited both the Parks Department and Phoenix residents by providing more accurate and accessible information about our parks and amenities.

PLAI set out to accomplish the following:

  • Create a single source of information for the Parks Department
  • Automate production of reports, statistics, metrics and models
  • Increase operational efficiency for internal park resources
  • Improve seamless customer service to the public by providing on demand, immediate, 24/7 access to accurate, current Parks information


Auto Visual Monitoring Program

Submitted by: City of Buckeye

All cities in Arizona with a population over 50,000 are required to implement federal Clean Water Act activities.  These cities must monitor outfall locations, where stormwater exits the man-made storm systems and flows to natural surface waters, to ensure pollution sources are controlled.  This includes wet weather monitoring, physically observing the stormwater discharge from the system and recording pollution observations. 

The activities require the city to respond when a rain event occurs, recording the first flush of stormwater exiting the storm system.  The challenges of this action includes staff monitoring rain events, responding when it rains, arriving to the outfall during the first flush, and recording the appropriate information.  This is dependent upon the rain falling in the correct location, and in significant enough quantities to cause a flow.  

The City of Buckeye, with suggestions from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, has started an innovative use of existing technology that includes:

  • Use of existing inexpensive equipment,
  • Eliminating the need for staff to be emergency storm-watchers,
  • Reducing overall resources needed for compliance activity,
  • Creating a highly reproducible program with applications in environmental health and quality.


Infor Public Sector (IPS) Mobile Implementation Project

Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

The Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (RWRD) operates and maintains the sanitary sewer system within Pima County, Arizona. Until recently, the Conveyance Division utilized paper work orders and maps to address issues stemming from the 3,500 miles of sanitary sewer lines and 75,000 structures that comprise the sanitary sewer system. Earlier this year, the Division rolled out an upgrade to their Asset Management System, Infor Public Sector (IPS), by implementing their Mobile System. Tablets were issued, and training sessions were scheduled for all staff utilizing the system. Data and statistics mined from the system have shown positive impacts by highlighting high maintenance locations. RWRD’s environmental footprint has been greatly reduced by the inclusion of electronic work orders/maps, while real-time GPS services have shortened response times. Administrative workloads have been reduced by 65 percent, and management now has updated tools to more effectively oversee daily work activities in order to meet departmental goals. 

Project Highlights:

  • Introduction of Infor Field Inspector (a mobile-friendly field application)
  • Utilization of customized dashboards to track/manage service requests
  • Utilization of a streamlined work order application which keeps data consistent/accurate
  • Map and GPS integration for geographic orientation


Government at the Speed of Business: E-Permitting and Compliance Reporting

Submitted by: Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) created an online permitting and reporting portal, called myDEQ, to better protect public health and the environment while moving at the speed of business in Arizona. Previously, ADEQ was manually processing over 28,000 permit transactions each year and reviewing thousands of paper reports. By transitioning services online, myDEQ:

Helps simplify complex rule interpretations for permittees.

Allows users to easily report compliance data.

Enables ADEQ to notify customers of compliance status more quickly; and if a violation occurs, encourages the facility take timely action to address the issue.

Reduces staff hours spent on paper documents, reallocating resources towards proactive efforts to protect public health and the environment.

Since 2015, ADEQ has placed 60 services on myDEQwith a goal of another 74 by 2022.

Benefits of the services already online include:

  • Reducing permit application processing times by an average of 95 percent.
  • Increasing compliance rates by 60 percent.
  • Reutilization of over 100,000 hours of ADEQ staff time to focus on additional mission related activities.
  • An estimated annual economic benefit of $145 million to businesses in Arizona.


Crescordia Winner

Arizona Water Watch

Submitted by: Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) established a citizen science based program, called Arizona Water Watch (AWW), which offers residents and visitors the opportunity to help ADEQ monitor and protect our state’s waters. This program facilitates collaboration between ADEQ scientists, local entities, and the public to gather information that is used to update flow patterns, address water quality issues and identify waters for future study. AWW applies innovative ideas through multilevel volunteer opportunities ranging from sending information and photos through a mobile app to collecting weekly water samples. For field work, volunteers are trained annually using creative tools like a felt cloth stream, animated micro video lessons, and visually friendly guides to help make science fun and approachable while ensuring high quality data are collected.

To date, AWW has: 

  • Trained over 30 citizen science groups, which have volunteered over 2,200 hours, saving the State $55,000.
  • Gathered over 13,000 data points and 900 flow records from volunteers.
  • Consolidated answers from over 15,000 questions and 1800 photos submitted through the mobile app.
  • Delisted two streams and one parameter on the State’s impaired waters list based on a review of submitted data.

Art in Public Places


Nature-Themed Playgrounds

Submitted by: Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department

In 2009 the County approved the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation System Master Plan that envisioned County Parks and playing a critical role in connecting and reconnecting people with nature.  That vision launched an effort to rebrand the parks as conservators and promoters of the County’s rich Sonoran Desert natural heritage.  One vital component of the plan and vision was to ensure these parks truly represented our unique environment, which included our playground structures.  

In 2014, the Board approved funding for improvements to five regional parks, which allowed the department to work closely with the vendor to:

  • Create artistic playscapes that utilized a blend of traditional play experiences with custom play sculptures that interpreted the desert landscape and blended with the park environment. 
  • Develop nature-themed structures that allow for unstructured free play, which is a critical youth development element that is missing from the lives of many young people in today's busy lifestyle.
  • Create artistic and functional pieces that appeal to the recreation experience of children and add to the aesthetic beauty and interest for people of all ages.
  • The outcome was astounding! The newly renovated, customized playgrounds now feature:
  • Rattlesnake, Gila monster, hummingbird and Bald Eagle slides, mountain lion climber and arch boulders, fallen cacti balance beams, climbing boulders with a spider web netting stretched between them and much more allowing children to enjoy the sensation of interacting with nature. 
  • The playgrounds also feature large shade structures to keep families cool while they play.


Walk in the Park — Estrada Park

Submitted by: City of Tempe Arts & Culture - Public Art

Walk in the Park is a fully integrated artwork that creates a connection between the landscape of Estrada Park and the surrounding neighborhood. The artwork is imbedded into the fitness and play areas within a 7.3-acre park located in south Tempe. Artist Mary Shindell was inspired by the site-specific botanical elements in the neighborhood to create patterns in the fitness path and play areas at the park. The artwork is a result of a collaboration between multiple departments in the City of Tempe including Arts, Parks, Fire, Engineering, and Neighborhood Services. The artwork is meant to engage visitors with the amenities in the park an encourage healthy activity outdoors.

Project Highlights:

  • Handmade, artist designed lithomosaics in the pathway
  • Artist designed fitness surfaces
  • Artist designed rubber ground surface in the play area
  • Artwork designs related to the botanical elements in the adjacent neighborhood and park itself


The Earth Thermometer

Submitted by: Spray ‘Em Away Monster

The Earth Thermometer is a 13-foot-tall stainless-steel sculpture on a concrete foundation representing the Earth’s continents. The thermometer is marked in increments of 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but with just two numbers appearing on the surface: 98 degrees and 32 degrees. The reflective surface allows for the object to be interactive with modern life shaping the health of the planet. The thermometer is angled to suggest a fragile nature between life and out planet to promote its care. The sculpture's lighting indicated the temperature, which can range from -40 to 120 F.

The piece intends to address climate change my emphasizing the temperature between healthy human bodies and freezing water. The relationship between human activities affecting global warming is marked at 98 degrees Fahrenheit, with the 32-degree marker indicating the importance of water for our survival.

Project Highlights:

  • Commissioned by Trait Development, developers of Emerald Center
  • Artist, Ted Troxel, brings 25 years of experience working in the Arizona art industry to the project
  • Tempe Public Art promotes artistic expression, bringing people together to strengthen Tempe’s sense of community and place.
  • Bollinger Atelier provided final design and fabrication services.


Neighborhood Roots

Submitted by: City of Glendale Office of Arts & Culture

A community awaits a library - Over 1,300 people attended the opening! A public art program builds on the excitement, engaging community, designing a process to create integrated artworks. An artist evokes the rich natural and agricultural historical roots of the area to give beautiful ripe fruit to the future. 

Neighborhood Roots - Sugar Beets to Cotton and Beyond, by artist Pete Goldlust, at the Heroes Regional Park Library, Glendale, AZ, consists of three integrated art elements: A stainless steel wall sculpture, sandblasted glass, and a terrazzo floor. A companion mural, Fiction is Freeing, graces the children’s area. The artwork sought to knit dynamic imagery into the building and relate the building to the location. 

Images celebrating local flora and fauna are woven with whimsical design into an undulating latticework of line drawings, welcoming visitors into and through the library.

Project Highlights:

  • Sugar beets and cotton, two early cash crops of Glendale’s Yucca District
  • Local creatures like the Colorado Pikeminnow that swam in the waterways
  • Representing the unexpected, a pierced scallop shell - a trade item originating near the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California
  • Fiction is Freeing adds for the children a diverse community of quizzical birds and fish


Grant Road Phase II Improvement Project, Public Art and Landscape/Streetscape Design

Submitted by: Kaneen Communications

“Unity,” a 15-foot tall steel sculpture, is the centerpiece for the public art, landscape and hardscape project for the Grant Road Phase II Improvement Project. Created by artists Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead, “Unity” reflects the community engagement and professional collaboration essential to the success of this project.  This dramatic artwork is enjoyed by motorists, pedestrians, transit riders and bicyclists traveling Grant Road – one of the City’s major corridors.  

The City of Tucson Transportation Department extended the theme of “Unity” within the project area with these integrated elements:

  • Rebar “Ocotillo” fencing protects pedestrians in the median
  • Sail-like bus shelter offers shade 
  • Recycled boulders and desert-adapted plants  
  • An innovative stormwater harvesting system with curb cuts, rock check dams, concrete weirs, and detention basins
  • A beautiful plaza with colored concrete sidewalks, benches, and pedestrian bridge

“Unity,” along with the Sonoran Desert hardscaping and landscaping, is the first project to implement the City of Tucson Green Streets Active Practice Guidelines. Water harvesting infrastructure converts the previous flood nuisance into an amenity for passive recreation. Costing $153,900, “Unity” was funded through the City of Tucson’s One Percent for Art program, administered through the Arts Foundation of Tucson and Southern Arizona.


Award of Distinction 

Odor Control Station 72, Arts and Security Improvements

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Water Services Department

“Veiled Mountain” is a public art project demonstrating how art and engineering can be combined to enhance a neighborhood Water Services Department facility. The purpose of this project was to combine the site’s need for security and protection from sun damage with an aesthetically pleasing community feature. The property adjacent to the site is owned by the Maricopa County Flood Control District and is accessible to the public for recreational uses. The artist’s concept of two steel canopies consisting of curved I-beams and square columns mirror the shape of Arizona’s iconic mountains in the horizon behind the project. The project also uses gabion walls, intricately fabricated fencing, and rolled steel beam canopies to shade and secure the site for local residents.

Project Highlights:

  • Partnership between Phoenix Water Services Department and Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture
  • Built with Water Services Department Capital Improvement and Percent for Art Funds
  • Collaboration by local artist Kevin Berry, Brown and Caldwell and Felix Construction


Award of Distinction

Valley Metro Public Art Program for Gilbert Road Extension

Submitted by: Valley Metro

Artwork at each Valley Metro Rail station is designed to reflect and connect with the places we live, providing symbolic links between neighborhoods and public transit. The Gilbert Road Extension continues this tradition of celebrating neighborhoods by providing shade, improving comfort and enhancing safety in creative ways. Renowned artists Matt and Maria Salenger, John Nelson, Hans van Meeuwen, and the team of Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt drew inspiration from local flora and fauna, ordinary household items, and everyday activities to create landmark sculptures, vivid poetry and playful screens. Art elements blend seamlessly with station architecture contributing to the overall cohesive design.

Project Highlights:

  • Two landmark artworks enhance the pedestrian experience at the Gilbert Road Park and Ride Plaza
  • The landmark “M” sculpture announces the beginning of the light rail extension
  • The shade canopy incorporates Biophilic design principles to utilize principles of nature into the built environment
  • Station artwork and light-pole banners bring color and storytelling to the new transit corridor


Sewcial 16th St. & Bethany Home Public Art Project

Submitted by: Jones Studio, Inc.

The program called for a public art component to bolster the unique neighborhood identity. The $95,000 fabrication budget supported through the City of Phoenix’s Neighborhood Services ‘Fight Back’ grant was won by a coalition of local business owners. The artists proposed custom transit shelters and street furniture designed with patterns tied to the neighborhood’s history.

The new shelters have an increased roof height from the standard that expands over the sidewalk to provide maximum shade. The vertical column structure and seating are pushed as far back from the curb as the right-of-way allows, which also updates the bus shelters to meet current requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and doubles the seating capacity.

During installation, a couple driving by applauded the installation team and shouted “We love it; it’s beautiful!” while bus riders immediately settled into new furniture and shade canopies.

Project Highlights:

  • Bolstering identity of place through reinterpretation of the neighborhood’s Mid-Century modern patterns and designs. 
  • Encouraging bus ridership with unique urban experiences at transit stops.
  • Public art contributing to improved safety and user comfort.
  • Daily kinetic play of sunlight and shadow ‘sewing’ together historic character of the streetscape.


Crescordia Winner

7th Avenue Streetscape

Submitted by: Canary, a Gould Evans Studio

The 7th Avenue Streetscape is a rotating public art exhibition comprised of six large existing panels that regularly feature local Phoenix artwork. As part of the Phoenix Office of Arts + Culture Public Art Program, and in collaboration with the Poet Laureate and Public Works department, six poems were selected to be displayed as the latest streetscape exhibition. Six local designers were paired with the designated poets to create dynamic illustrations for each poem. The narratives focus on sustainability to increase public awareness for reuse, recycling and social consciousness. The resulting exhibit creates an urban gallery with commentary on sustainability through race, climate and the local environment.

The 7th Avenue Streetscape public art exhibition:

  • Inspires sustainability through combined poetry and illustration displayed in a public transit area of Phoenix 
  • Poem selection and design process were made in collaboration with Poet Laureate Rosemarie Dombrowski, City of Phoenix Office Arts and Culture and the Public Works department
  • Draws attention to the importance of recycling and helps promote the City’s goal of reducing household waste by 40% by 2020 
  • Opening was held during Poetry month and on Earth Day, celebrating how the arts can contribute to environmental awareness. 


Downtown Links Phase II, St. Mary’s Road/6th Street, Interstate 10 (I-10) to Church Avenue Improvement Project

Submitted by: HDR Engineering, Inc.

Improving, Upgrading and Connecting Our Community

Downtown Links, Phase II – St. Mary’s Road/6th Street, I-10 to Church Avenue Improvement Project is a half-mile section of roadway that is a key connection to Tucson’s center of growth, downtown Tucson. 

The Downtown Links Phase II Project is associated with many tangible improvements such as improving capacity, increasing safety, reducing congestion and providing easier connections for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists among unique central city neighborhoods, downtown, the University of Arizona and to Interstate 10.  It is important to realize the impacts this project has had on the look and feel of our community. 

The project adds value to our community by: 

  • Setting a new standard in Tucson for implementing innovative and thoughtful construction and landscaping sustainability practices
  • Creating 8-foot sidewalks pattered with different joints and finishes for decoration
  • Adding a new plaza area complete with benches for relaxation and incorporating passive rainwater harvesting and adaptive desert landscaping
  • Installing southern Arizona’s first protected bike lanes with flexible delineators, along with other bicycle and pedestrian safety enhancements

Environmental Education & Communication


The Economic Impact of Arizona’s Rivers, Lakes and Streams

Submitted by: Audubon Arizona

In order to conserve and protect the waterways we care about, Audubon wanted to make the economic case for why their demise—due to drought, diversions, and a changing climate—would be so devastating for Arizona. Audubon Arizona commissioned a report with the purpose of evaluating the economic contributions of water IN our rivers, lakes, and streams. Upon release of the report, titled The Economic Impact of Arizona’s Rivers, Lakes, and Streams: How water-based outdoor recreation contributes to statewide and local economies, over 20 media hits were generated statewide.

Project Highlights:

  • Outdoor recreation along Arizona’s waterways generates $13.5 billion in economic output and supports 114,000 jobs statewide. Annually, 1.5 million Arizona residents participate in outdoor recreation along water.
  • The study elevated the importance of outdoor recreation along water as an industry—demonstrating that its economic output is higher than that of mining and golf.
  • The study broke the economic contributions down by county. Having locally-relevant results allows communities to better understand the economic impact of their local waterways, providing an incentive to preserve these special places.
  • The study demonstrated the top five outdoor recreation activities along Arizona’s rivers, lakes, and streams are picnicking/relaxing, trail sports, fishing, water sports, and wildlife watching.


Arizona Water Watch

Submitted by: Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) established a citizen science based program, called Arizona Water Watch (AWW), which offers residents and visitors the opportunity to help ADEQ monitor and protect our state’s waters. This program facilitates collaboration between ADEQ scientists, local entities, and the public to gather information that is used to update flow patterns, address water quality issues and identify waters for future study. AWW applies innovative ideas through multilevel volunteer opportunities ranging from sending information and photos through a mobile app to collecting weekly water samples. For field work, volunteers are trained annually using creative tools like a felt cloth stream, animated micro video lessons, and visually friendly guides to help make science fun and approachable while ensuring high quality data are collected.

To date, AWW has:

  • Trained over 30 citizen science groups, which have volunteered over 2,200 hours, saving the State $55,000.
  • Gathered over 13,000 data points and 900 flow records from volunteers.
  • Consolidated answers from over 15,000 questions and 1800 photos submitted through the mobile app.
  • Delisted two streams and one parameter on the State’s impaired waters list based on a review of submitted data.


Crescordia Winner

2019 Ten Across Water Summit

Submitted by: University City Exchange at Arizona State University

The US Interstate 10 corridor provides the most compelling window on the future of the country, one which presents the challenges of the 21st century in the highest relief. This singular transect strings together many of the most pressing societal, economic, urban and environmental topics of our time. A project spanning the entire continent, Ten Across engages this region as a living laboratory for resilience and innovation.  

March 26-28, 2019, Ten Across participants traveled from across the country to join the second annual 10X Water Summit (10XW2) in Phoenix, Arizona. 10XW2 was an atypical water conference. While addressing science, policy, economy and environment issues related to water, this summit was intentionally positioned around this existential topic as a leading indicator of how society will address resilience issues of enormous scale. The Phoenix summit framed the 2019 conversation within the immediacy of the latest Colorado River Drought Contingency negotiations and the examples of collaboration and innovation required for this southwestern region to navigate safely into the known future. Takeaways from this Phoenix driven summit markedly shape the work and direction of 10X as the project travels to Houston for 10XW3 in 2020. 


Choose Tap!

Submitted by: Scottsdale Water

Scottsdale Water’s Choose Tap! campaign aims to improve customer understanding of tap water quality and increase consumption of tap water as a safe affordable alternative to bottled water. By increasing awareness about drinking water quality standards and the environmental impact of one-time-use water bottles, the utility works towards a culture of environmentally sustainable behavior for Scottsdale citizens.

Project Highlights:

  • In just three months of operations, the water trailer has distributed 11,575 gallons of water, which is equivalent to 74,054 one-time use water bottles. The original 20 bottle filling stations, which include an automated bottle-fill counter, have filled over 61,437 bottles!
  • People have a choice between tap water and bottled water. Tap water is the affordable, safe, environmentally sustainable choice
  • Improving access to cold tap water when on the go in Scottsdale is key to encouraging customers to choose tap water over bottled water. The tap water needs to taste good, be available in convenient locations, and be distributed from clean, appealing dispensers.


City of Phoenix “Oops”/”Shine On” Program

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Public Works Department

In February 2018, City of Phoenix Public Works Department (PWD) launched a new pilot educational program to increase Phoenix’s waste diversion rate and reduce the contamination in collected recyclables. Taking cues from other U.S. cities who have experienced success and with help from the organization -- The Recycling Partnership - PWD launched the Oops/Shine On! 5-week pilot program to 1,400 households in central Phoenix. Using clearly labeled and very visual Oops/Shine On! tags attached to recycling containers, residents learned the right way to recycle to reduce contamination. PWD staff saw an increase on Shine On tags issued, from 12% in week 1 to 28% by end of week 5. 

Since the pilot, the Oops/Shine On! program has expanded to other parts of Phoenix, showing favorable results. Improvements to the initial pilot has been added, such as technology enhancements and conducting load audits to better understand an area’s waste diversion rate.

Ultimately, this engaging program aims to contribute to the City’s overall goal of a 40% waste diversion rate by 2020 and to stimulate new economies by being a good source of clean recycled materials to be made into new products. 


Queen Creek Recycling Center Education

Submitted by: Town of Queen Creek

The Town of Queen Creek offers a free recycling drop-off center for residents. Due to contamination, not all materials were able to be recycled, sorting machinery was being damaged and the area was becoming an eyesore. The Town implemented an educational campaign that uses fun messaging that resonates with residents and enforced the hours of the drop-off center.

The results were overwhelmingly positive, bringing a fresh look to the recycling center and increased compliance. Less plastic bags are contaminating the bins, more materials are being recycled due to increased space in the bins and residents are more informed about the recycling process.

Prior to the campaign, the Solid Waste Inspector spent approximately 2.5 hours each week cleaning the recycling center due to overflow and illegal dumping. Currently, it takes 30 minutes or less, an 80% reduction. Additionally, plastic bag contamination has reduced by 50% and cardboard box overflow has decreased by 75%

Project Highlights:

  • Increased education about recycling
  • Improved the overall look of the recycle center, instilling a sense of community pride
  • Reduced the amount of staff time cleaning the recycle center by 80%
  • Primary issues, plastic bag contamination and cardboard box overflow, were both reduced, 50% and 75% respectively.


Tucson One Water Exhibit

Submitted by: University of Arizona School of Architecture

Can a desert city achieve future water self-sufficiency without sacrificing either livability or growth?  The answer to this question lies in new visions for our current cities that integrate alternative water sources and inspire a public toward acceptance, adoption, and action.  Tucson One Water: A Vision for a Water Independent Downtown was a public exhibit in downtown Tucson that took on this design and community education challenge.  From April-May 2019 the exhibit displayed visions for a water independent and livable desert city by year 2050 through 40 posters, 2 videos, a physical model, and a handful of community engagement activities. 

The One Water Exhibit educated three community groups:

  • Five government expert mentors from Tucson Water, Pima County Regional Flood Control, and Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation,
  • Over 350 citizens from across Tucson, and
  • Ten architecture students who will be the future professionals creating the integrated design solutions to retrofit the urban water system for alternative sources.


Commit to One Day Ozone Campaign

Submitted by: Maricopa County Air Quality Department

To address the potential economic and health risks associated with ground-level ozone, the Maricopa County Air Quality Department developed a campaign to increase community awareness of the issue and influence behaviors. Featuring a cast of out-of-this-world creatures, the “Commit to One Day, Help Keep Ozone Away” campaign was a lighthearted way to address a serious problem and encouraged residents to become “creatures of new habits.” The campaign carried a simple message to encourage modifying daily activities at least one day a week, such as driving less, riding public transit or bike, or refueling after dark. Residents and businesses could make a great impact on reducing ozone concentrations and help keep the air clean.

Project Highlights:

  • Development of campaign webpage: cleanairmakemore.com/ozone
  • Advertising (reaching 68.6 million impressions): radio, billboards, social media posts, television PSAs, digital online ads, and freeway signs
  • Outreach materials: flyers, community newsletters, op-ed articles, promotional giveaways, and presentations
  • Clean Air Make More mobile app alerts


Greater Phoenix Metro Green Infrastructure Handbook: Low-Impact Development Details for Alternative Stormwater Management

Submitted by: City of Scottsdale in collaboration with the ASU Sustainable Cities Network and member communities

The Greater Phoenix Metro Green Infrastructure Handbook: Low-Impact Development Details for Alternative Stormwater Management is a collaborative project of Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network (ASU SCN) Green Infrastructure (GI) Workgroup. The Handbook development team, led by the City of Scottsdale, included the ASU SCN, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, and teams from seven Valley cities.

The Handbook provides ten standardized technical details and specifications for low-impact development (LID) strategies designed specifically for the Valley.  The details include rainwater harvesting gardens, bioswales, chicanes, and more.

Project Highlights:

  • Valley wide collaborative project with ongoing public education and advocacy
  • LID/GI details which increase rainfall infiltration, groundwater recharge, and stormwater harvesting for landscape
  • Green techniques to treat the first flush stormwater pollutant loads

The Handbook is free and publicly available at https://sustainability.asu.edu/sustainable-cities/resources/lid-handbook/

Development of the Handbook was funded in part by the City of Scottsdale and subsidized by grants from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.

The Green Infrastructure Handbook provides the much-needed introduction of standardized technical details and specifications for the Valley’s green infrastructure, helping the design and construction industries implement these details with consistency and quality throughout the Phoenix Metro area.


Award of Distinction

Design Empowerment PHX

Submitted by: The Sagrado

Design Empowerment PHX is promoting a culture of collaboration in Phoenix through restorative community design practices that empower South Phoenix residents to control the evolution of their environment to reflect their values, culture, identity, and well-being.​ ​We are transforming the standards for design and development in Phoenix by connecting, educating, inspiring, and empowering community through design ownership and self-taught design enlightenment.

Project Highlights (March - July 2019):

  • Launched the first Design Empowerment ‘Toolkit’ and youth workshop series to six South Phoenix teens and witnessed dramatic increase of youth self-advocacy in daily life
  • Created and presented to the Transit Oriented Development Steering Committee a health equity-driven park rendering synthesizing ideas contributed by approximately 36 local youth for the Central & Broadway lot
  • Collaboratively designed and painted a community mural with approximately 20 Phoenix residents and artists in the alley behind the Sagrado Galleria, realizing youth vision of South Phoenix pride through hands-on design application and creative placemaking 
  • Strengthened a culture of collaboration and network of interdisciplinary community relationships to influence design and development and introduced a concept map of the South Central Corridor “community cultural chakras” to further strengthen this network


Sustainability Champion


Bulk Trash Program Updates

Submitted by: City of Buckeye

Sustainability is most properly defined as efficient use of resources to achieve the best possible impact to the environment, the community, and to businesses.

The City of Buckeye has been collecting residential bulk trash for many years, and has experienced both successes and failures with the service.  Success includes implementation of a beneficial service, while failures include safety issues, hazardous wastes contamination, and missed pickup and related customer complaints.  All of these failures take significant resources to resolve.

Staff have attempted various efforts to address these failures. Monitoring has occurred to record placement, violations, and resources used to perform bulky trash collection events.

By updating process, the City has:

  • Decreased complaints
  • Decreased resource use
  • Increased safety
  • Increased cleanliness

Through this activity, we have added successes including: removal of hazardous waste from the waste stream, significantly reduced escalation of customer complaints, increased customer satisfaction, removed questioning of miss pickups and late placements, and increased worker safety.  All of these equal reduce internal cost to the city.  Process improvements have increased sustainability by achieving the best possible results for the community, the environment, and the cost of service.


Sustainable Tourism Plan

Submitted by: Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Sedona’s stunning landscape and amazing cultural amenities inspire people everywhere, including artists, hikers, and those seeking renewal. Falling in love with Sedona is easy. The community wants to be sure we aren't loved to death.  With great tourism success, comes great civic responsibility.   In 2016, Sedona undertook the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Assessment scoring highly in 33 out of 41 criteria, placing Sedona as the second destination in the country to undergo such an assessment and positioning Sedona as a World Leader in Sustainable Tourism Management. The Four Pillars of the Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP) focus on balancing and enhancing residential quality of life, protecting our fragile lands, creating memorable visitor experiences and growing a strong economy. Balancing the Plan’s four pillars will be key to Sedona’s future: environment, resident quality of life, quality of the economy, and visitor experience.

Project Highlights:

  • The STP is the first community-developed sustainable tourism plan in Arizona. 
  • The Plan is a response to community concerns about overcrowding and congestion affecting the Sedona environment and resident quality of life.
  • These concerns match a trend in popular domestic and international travel destinations regarding the impact of increasing tourism levels.
  • The STP is the product of an 18-month community-wide effort  involving more than 1,000 residents, stakeholders and visitors. 

Conducted by Arizona State University’s Center for Sustainable Tourism, only two schools of its kind in the USA, and Nichols Tourism Group.


Award of Distinction 

The Future Is What We Make It

Submitted by: Honeywell International, Inc.

At Honeywell, we strive to make the world safer, more environmentally friendly, and less energy intensive. Our sustainability strategy is now embedded into the daily work of our employees. This strategy is enabled by the commitment of our senior executives, translated into actionable projects by our robust management operating system, and is made possible by our culture of continuous improvement driven by leadership and engagement from employees in every part of the organization.

From 2016 to 2018 the Honeywell Aerospace sites in Arizona completed 452 sustainability projects with a total impact of:

  • Carbon savings of 26,517,937 pounds per year
  • Energy savings of 87,152,712 Kbtu per year
  • Water savings of 9,903,839 gallons per year
  • Hazardous and non-hazardous waste savings of over 80,570 kilograms 

These projects have lasting positive impacts on our communities by reducing hazardous waste generation, reducing waste sent to landfills and reducing our use of natural resources.


Award of Distinction 

ON Semiconductor’s Top Notch Reclamation Center

Submitted by: ON Semiconductor

The ON Semiconductor Reclamation Center (OSRC), located at ON Semiconductor headquarters in Phoenix receives all scrap manufacturing materials from our 22 factories and most subcontractors globally. Our global reclaim objectives reflect our commitment to environmental sustainability and resource conservation while optimizing our network, protecting our intellectual property, and maximizing and recapturing profits.

Project Highlights:

  • In 2018, approximately 1,150,000 metric tons of scrap materials and 822 kilograms of precious metals from the OSRC were processed, sorted and sold for re-use.
  • The reclamation of these materials recouped more than $29 million USD. 
  • The 100,000 pounds of plastic that is shipped annually to the OSRC is burned and turned into electricity through a partnership with a local recycling company.  

Recent ON Semiconductor recognitions include Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Company designation for the past four years (2015-19), being named Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies in 2017 and 2018 as well as becoming a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices in 2018.


LEA-Architects, LLC

Submitted by: LEA-Architects, LLC

LEA Architects, LLC (LEA) have been sustainable champions for well over 4 decades in the Valley of the Sun.  Founded in 1975 with focused environmental stewardship goals in architecture, education and government,  LEA today is a nationally recognized architectural firm with special expertise in sustainable innovative architecture.  LEA is led by father-son architects Larry Enyart, FAIA, LEED Fellow and Lance Enyart, AIA, LEED AP, who champion award-winning sustainable architecture to national private and public clients. LEA has demonstrated accomplished environmental stewardship with consistent sustainable award-winning strategies in aviation, education, private organizations and public safety projects at all levels.  LEA has collectively received over 150+ national and regional awards for design, innovation, energy efficiency, and environmental excellence.  Arizona Forward and Valley Forward have recognized LEA over the years with 8 Crescordia, 10 Merits and Awards of Distinction.  LEA was proudly named the AIA Arizona Sustainable Firm of the Year in 2012 with over 25 years of sustainable projects.


Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations

Submitted by: Pima County Government

Pima County’s Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations (SAPCO) is an internally-focused framework that guides our path toward sustainable operations. Equipped with ambitious objectives, measurable targets and easily integrated actions, its purpose is to address the climate challenges of today in the hopes of securing a better tomorrow.

Project Highlights:

  • Pima County prioritizes cross-departmental and cross-jurisdictional collaborations in SAPCO’s development and implementation
  • The Plan is an expansive and multi-faceted initiative, covering nine different sustainability focus areas
  • Annual Sustainability Report Cards are produced to quantitatively measure the County’s performance towards SAPCO’s targets
  • The updated 2018 SAPCO upholds the U.S’s commitment to the Paris Agreement through mitigation and adaptation measures

In our FY2014-2018 Plan alone, the County avoided more than 64,000 MtCO2e emissions; installed more than 6 MW of renewable energy; added 42 fully-electric vehicles; decreased the number of tobacco users by more than 40%; established or maintained nearly a thousand acres of natural habitat with County renewable water, and more. All in all, we improved 19 of the 25 target and sub-target areas. 

By taking responsibility to mitigate our emissions and adapt to a different climate future, Pima County is focused on protecting our community, local economy, and regional environmental integrity while providing a model for others to join us in this work. 


City of Peoria Energy and Sustainability Initiative

Submitted by: Ameresco, Inc.

The City of Peoria partnered with Ameresco, Inc. to implement efficiency measures that will result in significant energy savings over time. This energy efficiency and renewable energy project enhances Peoria’s sustainability initiatives and provides solar covered parking canopies at multiple city facilities.

Project Highlights:

  • Projected utility budget savings
  • Interior and exterior lighting retrofits throughout 13 city facilities
  • Solar photovoltaic installed on parking canopies and on the ground at 8 sites throughout Peoria
  • Fiscally conservative financial innovation, via the use of CREBs (clean renewable energy bonds)

Through the combination of LED lighting retrofits and the addition of photovoltaic solar, two City buildings (Sunrise Library and Fire Station 191) have been enabled to become net zero (in terms of electricity consumption) buildings.

The project exemplifies the City of Peoria’s commitment to being fiscally responsible and to the generation of safe, reliable, and long-term affordable power that achieves a balance between high-quality, long-term, low-cost energy, and the environmental impacts of providing those energy resources.

This project enabled guaranteed energy expense savings over the next 20 years, which created the budget capacity to self-fund upfront project capital costs.



Crescordia Winner

Scottsdale Water

Submitted by: Scottsdale Water, City of Scottsdale

Water Sustainability through Stewardship, Innovation and People is Scottsdale Water’s vision and the defining statement of the organization. The utility is a long-time leader in the water industry and a sustainability champion, continually seeking out opportunities to share its breadth of experience and knowledge with the water industry as a whole.

The Advanced Water Treatment Plant at the Scottsdale Water Campus was the first Arizona facility to implement indirect potable reuse and has replenished local aquifers with ultrapure water for over 20 years.

In 2020, Scottsdale Water’s Conservation Office will mark 40 years of helping Scottsdale residents and businesses be more water wise.

A leader in energy management, Scottsdale Water holds the state’s second largest allocation of renewable hydropower generated from Hoover Dam, representing approximately 12.7 percent of the annual energy use at the Scottsdale Water Campus, and is the largest participant in the APS Peak Solutions for Business demand reduction program.

Scottsdale Water launched the Choose Tap! campaign aimed at increasing consumption of tap water as a safe, affordable alternative to bottled water. The centerpiece of the campaign is the Water Trailer, providing chilled tap water at city events, and 20 bottle-filling stations installed around the city.


Lake at Mansel Carter Oasis Park

Submitted by: Town of Queen Creek

Queen Creek’s Mansel Carter Oasis Park offers 48-acres of fun, creating an experience that encourages play for all. Beyond sports courts and ball fields, the park offers a shipwrecked themed splash pad, an elevated playground with a climbing wall, a fitness loop, connectivity to the Town’s wash trail system, and a wheel-friendly plaza. Opportunities for play on the inclusive designed equipment are possible thanks to a partnership with Banner Ironwood that extends the accessible surface, allowing people of all abilities to play alongside one another. 

Important efficiencies are also incorporated throughout the park. The 5-acre fishing lake is stocked through a partnership with AZ Game & Fish, providing the only community fishing lake in Queen Creek. Wastewater credits are used to pump recovered water into the lake, which is then used to irrigate the park; the splash pad water also drains into the lake. All lighting at the park uses LED technology, requiring less electricity and eliminating spill into the surrounding area. 

Project Highlights:

  • Queen Creek’s first inclusive playground 
  • Scenic fitness loop with built in cardio and bodyweight exercises
  • Lake uses recharged/recovered water and in lieu programs
  • Partnerships with Banner Ironwood Medical Center and Arizona Game and Fish


Coconino County’s Innovative Materials and Systems Pilot Program

Submitted by: Coconino County Community Development

Coconino County’s Innovative Materials and Systems Pilot Program is a policy approach for driving sustainable building innovation in our community. The Pilot Program provides rural residential owner-builders who have projects that are difficult to permit prescriptively under building codes, the option of seeking an exemption from the requirements of building plan review and inspections. Projects that utilize recycled, innovative, and natural building methods are often required to get additional engineering to demonstrate their safety compliance, adding costs to the project. Using recycled and local materials in construction reduces the negative impacts of transportation, and it also decreases construction waste going into the landfill. 

This new Pilot Program was recently adopted by the Coconino County Board of Supervisors in June of 2019, but we already have several projects who are interested in participating, including:

  • A new Earthship home utilizing recycled and earthen materials, solar energy, and water and conservation. 
  • An off-grid adobe home that’s incorporating recycled materials throughout.
  • Economic development support for businesses who align with the Pilot Program goals, such as Super Insulated Green Building Technologies or AP Sawmill who utilize local ponderosa pine for building.
  • Several people are interested in repurposing shipping containers into small and affordable homes.


Pollution Reduction Programs

Submitted by: Maricopa County Air Quality Department

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department carries out three major pollution reduction programs yearly. At little to no cost to residents, the Fireplace Retrofit Program improves public health by retrofitting wood burning fireplaces with either a pollution reduction device or natural gas log set.  The Propane Fire Pit Program provides a $75 voucher to county residents to purchase an outdoor propane fire pit.  Both of these programs aid significantly in reducing smoke pollution during the winter months.  Lastly, the Mowing Down Pollution Program is a voluntary residential lawn and garden device exchange program that offers up to $200 in vouchers toward the purchase of a new electric lawn mower or garden device after recycling an existing working gasoline device.  This program aims to combat emissions from gasoline which contribute to the formation of ground level ozone.

Project Highlights:

  • The Fireplace Retrofit Program has retrofitted 673 fireplaces and saved 6,455 pounds of smoke emissions.
  • The Propane Fire Pit Program has redeemed 2,000 fire pit vouchers and saved 6,000 pounds of smoke emissions.
  • The Mowing Down Pollution Program has deemed 1,337 lawn mowers and garden devices and saved 51.85 tons per year of ozone precursors and dust emissions.


Crescordia Winner

Restoring Water in the Desert

Submitted by: Intel Corporation

Technology innovator and Arizona manufacturer Intel Corporation has committed to restore 100% of the company’s global water use through collaborative projects that restore water to watersheds that benefit the communities in which Intel operates. To achieve this ambitious goal, announced in 2017, Intel is engaging local community, nonprofit, and conservation organizations to identify and fund projects that aim to address local water issues and support the well-being of communities and the environment.

Since the goal was announced, Intel has funded seven projects in collaboration with nonprofits to support Arizona watersheds. Once completed, these projects will restore close to half a billion gallons of water to the environment each year.

Project Highlights:

  • Addresses a critical environmental issue while balancing the need for jobs and economic development;
  • Builds on the 5 billion gallons of water Intel has already returned to Arizona’s water supply from its operations;
  • Goes above and beyond regulatory and compliance measures, encouraging other corporations to adopt this practice;
  • and, demonstrates collaboration with multiple partners to achieve the ambitious goal.

Arizona nonprofit partners include The Nature Conservancy, the National Forest Foundation, Trout Unlimited, and the Arizona Land and Water Trust.

Waste Reduction


Crescordia Winner

City of Mesa Household Hazardous Materials Facility

Submitted by: City of Mesa

Opening in October 2018, City of Mesa’s Household Hazardous Materials Facility collects items such as cleaners, automotive fluids, pool chemicals, tires, and appliances to keep materials from contaminating the environment, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and solid waste vehicles. These items are typically referred to as household hazardous waste, but Mesa chose to focus on reuse and recycling, using the word “materials” instead. 

The Facility helps to reduce waste with programs like the following:

  • Approximately 30% of all materials collected for disposal are in good enough condition to be reused and are placed into the Swap Shop, where Mesa residents can shop for free!
  • The Facility has partnered with B&B Appliances to ensure good condition appliances are repaired and resold instead of going to scrap.
  • The Facility has a robust latex paint remixing program and has made significant donations to organizations in need.
  • The Facility recycles many other materials such as used oil, electronics, and batteries.  

Mesa previously held four events annually to collect materials. It is clear the Facility better serves residents, with projections showing more than double the number of residents served annually. An astounding 350,000 pounds of materials were collected in the first six months of operation.



Award of Distinction 

SMART Program

Submitted by: City of Tempe

Tempe’s SMART program is designed to reduce waste and save money. The rising costs of managing waste and recycles has been a challenge as market pressures force cities to adjust their solid waste operations. Tempe Solid Waste Services evaluated market conditions and the public’s interest in recycling to develop the innovative waste reduction program that incentivizes residents to make conscientious decisions about what they throw out and what they recycle using the “Right-Sizing” options for their trash containers.

Changing household waste reduction behaviors has made a positive community impact. As of June 2019, the program has distributed 2,692 smaller trash containers and saved participating residents $14,339 in 12 months. Combined with the green waste can option, the city diverted 900 tons of trash and 908 tons of green waste from the landfill.

The SMART program has raised the level of awareness among the community to manage their household waste more efficiently and effectively. The program underscores the city’s values for environmentally sustainable policies to reduce waste.

Project Highlights:

  • Offers a resident the option of right-sizing their trash containers
  • 7-percent of residential customers are using the SMART program
  • The city has diverted 1808 tons of waste from landfills
  • Building community culture of reducing waste


Arizona Forward

3800 North Central Avenue

Suite 1030

Phoenix, AZ  85012

602.240.2408


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