Scottsdale plans green center for seniors - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Scottsdale plans green center for seniors

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Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:22 am | Updated: 5:05 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

June 22, 2004

Environmentally conscious architecture, engineering and technology will be showcased in a south Scottsdale revitalization project.

Energy efficiency and resource conservation are guiding principles in the blueprint for a planned 37,000-square-foot city-owned and operated senior citizens center, part of the estimated $35 million McDowell Village development.

City officials want the center to meet the most stringent environmental standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council, a national architecture and construction industry coalition.

"It’s a big opportunity to practice what we preach," said Anthony Floyd, coordinator of Scottsdale’s Green Building Program, which encourages private developers to be environmentally sensitive.

Adhering to the high standards in developing the estimated $12 million senior center might cost the city about 5 percent more than using conventional methods, but long-term savings will offset the upfront expense, said Chuck Skidmore, Scottsdale’s energy management engineer.

Solar energy generated at the site will provide at least 30 percent of the electrical power for the senior complex and a performing arts theater to be constructed next door. At times, the complex might run almost completely on solar power, Skidmore said.

Some of the system’s photovoltaic panels will be integrated into a long shade canopy, functioning as part of a design scheme using shading elements and window configurations to allow maximum use of natural light without significant heat gain inside the center.

Over time, the complex is expected to operate efficiently on about 20 percent less electricity than if powered by a conventional system, Skidmore said. "Over 30 years we should save $4 million in electricity,’’ he said.

Indoor air pollution will be reduced by use of construction materials and paints with the lowest chemical emissions and a ventilation system. Sensors will monitor indoor air for buildup of pollutants. Water conservation will be a priority in designing the complex’s landscaping, as well as the indoor plumbing system.

Aesthetics won’t be sacrificed to achieve the energy-saving and conservation objectives, said project manager Corey Lew.

The complex will sport a parklike pedestrian ambience, and "architecturally it will be dramatic,’’ Lew said.

"All of this is going to create a healthy environment that will give our seniors a quality experience,’’ said Tim Miluk, who will be the center’s administrator.

Ground breaking for the center is scheduled for July. Completion is expected by fall of 2005.

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