2019 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients
The highest honor of all project categories combined.
The coveted Crescordia – from a Greek term which means “to grow in harmony” – is the highest honor awarded in each category.
Award of Distinction
Finalists receive this award recognition.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.