Scottsdale partners with ASU to address Sonoran Desert concerns

Posted 7/7/20

For the next three years, Arizona State University experts will work with Scottsdale to address ways to create a “cooler and more sustainable urban environment.”

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Scottsdale partners with ASU to address Sonoran Desert concerns

Posted

For the next three years, Arizona State University experts will work with Scottsdale to address ways to create a “cooler and more sustainable urban environment.”

Effective July 1, the city entered a flexible Master Intergovernmental Agreement with Arizona State University Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solution Services, which was approved on consent at Scottsdale City Council’s June 30 meeting.

The agreement allows a maximum of $300,000 during the IGA for research to develop sustainability policies, plans, and strategies to implement recommendations for Scottsdale.

The resolution detailed how the city and ASU share a common interest in advancing sustainability initiatives, increasing energy efficiency, reducing harmful emissions and waste, according to a city staff report, along with finding innovative solutions to Arizona’s environmental, social and economic challenges to serve the state’s communities better.

Although $300,000 is designated for the contract’s duration through June 30, 2023, up to $100,000 will be allocated each year.

The report noted that the adopted fiscal year 2020-21 budget includes funds for up to $100,000 for services under the agreement, citing the annual and three-year cap can be reduced or eliminated based on fiscal limitations.

City Council accepted and prioritized a strategic plan in April 2019 to “preserve and enhance environment through energy, green building, solar, solid waste and water initiatives,” the report said, detailing how the city formed the Scottsdale Environmental Advisory Commission to oversee efforts.

A recent goal of the SEAC included addressing the local urban heat island effect, which includes urban forestry and shade plans, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Earth Day events that was to be celebrated on April 22 but was canceled due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Scottsdale identified urban growth areas in its proposed 2035 Draft General Plan that described how certain parts are expected to become more densely populated areas of the city, which could increase the heat island effect, stated the report, noting that the city does not have predetermined guidelines to mitigate.

Since Scottsdale does not have the staff or resources to address the issues, experts were sought and the partnership entered between the ASU Rob and Melani Walton Sustainable Solutions Services consulting group, which has provided positive environmental outcomes from Phoenix to Tempe, according to the report.

The group will initially focus on reducing the urban heat island effects of Scottsdale’s urban areas by creating urban forestry and shade plans with strategies to decrease energy efficiency through energy conservation building codes including renewable energy strategies.

Meanwhile, the Scottsdale Office of Environmental Initiatives will serve as contract administrator for the agreement; lead a multi-departmental “Green Team”; and provide regular updates to the SEAC and City Council, the release said, adding that future funding can be requested.

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