“As we move into the 21st century and celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday we can reflect on the history of Pinal County and those who have served as the Board of Supervisors,” according to the Pinal County 1891 Courthouse Renovation Project webpage at www. pinalcountyaz.gov.
Restoration efforts include many factors that will help the 1891 second Pinal County Courthouse become a green building, Ms. Murphy said.
Jeff Swan, who is the architect for the project, outlined seven key parts of making the courthouse a green building.
Efforts include adding additional insulation to the building; replacing original singlepane window sashes with low-e dual pane performance glass; restoring the original wood frames and trim, sealing windows in closed position and sealing them air tight; installing low-flow plumbing fixtures; installing a chilled water HVAC system controlled by an energy management system; installing energy-efficient lighting, sensors and similar items conforming with the international energy conservation code; salvaging original building materials to the greatest extent possible for continued use; and landscaping exterior grounds with low-water-use (xeriscape) plantings, Mr. Swan said.
All of the above efforts relate to the energy efficiency and sustainability that is being incorporated into the renovation and historic preservation project.
This month, builders have been putting in the windows, Ms. Murphy said. They stabilized, patched and rebuilt frames and retrofitted them with dual-pane glass.
The county is also looking to use environmentally friendly furnishings.
“As far as furnishings go, we are furnishing and carpeting — to the extent possible — with materials using recycled materials or post-consumer fiber materials,” Ms. Murphy said.
The county also extends its green building efforts to other buildings in the area.
Building codes adopted by the county act as the standards by which facilities built in the county should be constructed, Ms. Murphy said.
“Before the term ‘going green’ became popular, the Pinal County Building Safety Department (had) been working with property owners on various housing styles that conserve energy,” according to the county’s going green – building safety website at www. pinalcountyaz.gov. “In the past decade our building safety inspectors have signed off on several alternative methods and materials for homes such as straw bale construction or rammed earth developments,” it states.
According to the website, Pinal County encourages the use of gray water for golf course and outdoor irrigation and some homeowners are making the choice to irrigate with gray water, as well.
Aside from the courthouse restoration project, Pinal County has made other strides to become a greener county.
In June 2011, Pinal County partnered with the city of Coolidge, The town of Florence and Central Arizona College and created the Central Arizona Regional Transit System, a regional connector bus running between Florence and Casa Grande in two hour cycles, five days a week, Ms. Murphy said.
According to Ms. Murphy, the regional transit system contributed to the green effort in the following ways:
- During the first year of operation, the CART bus carried more than 25,000 riders from all socioeconomic categories to destinations along this corridor.
- In the same first year, it carried more than 12,000 students to and from Central Arizona College. This is a service for students who can then use the travel time to participate in social networking.
In December 2011, the Sustainable Pinal Citizen Task Force, which consisted of nine members that were appointed by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors and was created to focus on specific areas and make recommendations, wrote a report entitled Sustainable Pinal – It’s Where You Want to Be. The report discussed the specific topics and recommended adoption and implementation of those recommendations, according to Pinal County’s Going Green webpage, http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/ Residents/GoingGreen/Pages/Home.aspx.
The complete document can be viewed through a link on the webpage.
As a result of the task force, Pinal County made many “green” changes.
According to the website, county buildings feature energy-efficient lighting and HVAC equipment totaling savings of more than $1 million; the county’s average energy savings as a result of energy efficient retrofits and replacements was calculated at nearly $30,000 per month; ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel is used in the county’s heavy equipment; and there are 18 vanpools, which eliminate thousands of single vehicle commute trips, serving a variety of county buildings throughout the region that cut air emissions, fuel consumption, tire wear and more.
The website also states future efforts the county is making to help continue the green initiative.
For example, the county has adopted a 15-point Growth Planning Initiative that has several components that impact the future development with sustainability in mind – through preservation, conservation, energy efficiency, appropriate land use, water use, air quality and more; Pinal County has adopted the 2007 International Energy Conservation Code as published by the ICC, which provides guidelines for more energy-efficient construction; and the Pinal County Board of Supervisors adopted the Open Space and Trails Master Plan that seeks to link people and population centers with the parks, trails and open space they value so much.
A list of more efforts is available on the webpage, however, the county is working on updating it and the last three bullets on the page were out of date as of press time, Ms. Murphy said.
Editor’s Note: Nora Heston is the news editor for the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent.
By Nora Heston