Sustainability: Green Homes in Scottsdale

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Since 1998, more than 1,300 homes have been certified as green homes in Scottsdale. A lecture will be held on whether green homes in the city should become the standard. Anthony Floyd of Scottsdale’s Green Building Program will tell us more.

TED SIMONS: Tonight's look at Arizona sustainability focuses on green homes in Scottsdale, where more than 1,300 residences have been certified green since 1998. Joining us now is Anthony Floyd of Scottsdale's green building program. Good to see you again, thanks for joining us.


TED SIMONS: We've had you on talking about these kinds of things before. We're talking about Scottsdale's green building program. What is that?

ANTHONY FLOYD: The green building program is a set of environmentally responsible standards for energy efficiency, better indoor environmental quality for our health, low-impact building materials, water efficiency and essentially treading lightly on the earth to reduce our impacts in terms of long-term sustainability.

TED SIMONS: And we talked about 1,300 some odd residences in Scottsdale that are now considered green. What does a residence have to be to be considered green?

ANTHONY FLOYD: I'll make one slight distinction. There is a LEED rating system, not too long ago, you had a guest talking about that, that's a market-based program. Our program is based upon the Sonoran desert. We're not in California or the northeast or the southeast. We're actually in a desert. And so we want to use materials that are local, regional materials and we want to be able to survive in our hot desert environment, to be able to have cool air conditioning and efficient use of resources to create a cool environment.

TED SIMONS: Whole-systems approach through design, through building materials, everything from like living fences, what's a living fence? What are those things?

ANTHONY FLOYD: It's quite traditional and common in Mexico but it's taking ocitillo the branches and wiring them together and burying them in the ground for six inches and they become alive again. They go dormant but when they get some rain it's a live fence.

TED SIMONS: And you're also seeing home developers actually supplying vegetable gardens and these sorts of things? Talk to us about that.

ANTHONY FLOYD: There's a new development that's in the planning phase, and it's an infill development along Shea road and they're proposing to have vegetable gardens for the community. It's a number of lots and they're talked about also having a microgrid to go off the grid, collect water for rainwater harvesting, reuse graywater for irrigation, so yeah, there's a lot of things happening. We're trying to make this a standard. We're even working with the building codes to elevate and we have a lecture this Thursday and we're calling it, can building codes become green? And essentially, we're trying to take all of those green building principles that we have learned from 98 and incorporate it into a standard.

TED SIMONS: That's a sensitive dynamic? It's one thing to encourage and cheerlead on. It's another to require.

ANTHONY FLOYD: Well, actually, the industry has taken a lead on this.


ANTHONY FLOYD: Absolutely amazing. Yes, if you look at water sense fixtures, it's like the energy store of energy, water sense, if you go to any home depot or Lowe's, all the standard fixtures are high-efficiency. All the major manufactures are doing it already and there's many examples of that.

TED SIMONS: I noticed also there's an emphasis on universal design for aging in place. What does that mean?

ANTHONY FLOYD: That means that you accommodate your restrooms, the walls to accommodate reinforcement to hold grab bars so you may not have the grab bars in there now but you accommodate by putting the substrate and the structure in the wall so you can accommodate for that and the spacing of the studs so later, you can put that it. Allowing enough space in a restroom, in a bathroom so you have a five-foot turning diameter so you could turn a wheelchair around. The height of your knobs and handles, all of those things, just thinking about the width of your doorway, having a minimum of 32-inch clear through all your doors, bathroom, closet, all of those things really are building in the infrastructure for aging in place.

TED SIMONS: And everything from more reflective roof material to cooling paving material. These sorts of things involved as well?

ANTHONY FLOYD: That's right. And it's becoming standard right now and that's why we're really promoting this. Permeable paving as well as emissivity, accounting for those characteristics. It's not just reflectivity, it's emissivity, the ability for material to emit heat, so it doesn't hold and absorb it.

TED SIMONS: We think of Scottsdale, various areas of Scottsdale but there's some high-end areas of Scottsdale, as well. Are you seeing them out there, the ranches and north?

ANTHONY FLOYD: Oh yes, We have some wonderful custom homes and great talented designers and local architects who have embraced this and they're using it as a driving force for a design esthetic for a region.

TED SIMONS: The Scottsdale green building program, good luck to you, it sounds like you got things rolling out there. Thanks for joining us.

ANTHONY FLOYD: Thank you very much.

TED SIMONS: Tuesday on "Arizona Horizon," learn about awards that honor efforts to support Arizona's court system. And we'll hear about pragmatic solutions to the extinction of species. That's at 5:30 and 10:00 on the next "Arizona Horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

"Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

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