Announcements and New Resources
New Alternative Technology Advisory Group!
While building codes don’t prohibit the use of any method or material, approaches that fall outside the scope of the building code can be challenging for code officials to evaluate. To address the need for the further evaluation of alternative methods and materials, the Sustainable Building Program worked with the Building Division to develop an Alternative Technology Advisory Group (ATAG). ATAG is structured like Portland Oregon’s similar committee; it is comprised of building professionals who are interested in alternative methods and technologies who can help evaluate these materials for safety and code compliance. After reviewing existing research and codes on a selected alternative, the group will make recommendations to the Building Division. The Chief Building Official will then be able to refer to the group’s recommendation report in making determinations on individual projects utilizing the material or method. The reports will be made available to the public online. See more information about ATAG here and the bylaws for the group here.
The members of the 2020-2021 Alternative Technology Advisory Group are:
We thank them for their time and effort in serving on the committee!
New Substantive Policy for the Construction of Greenhouses
Coconino County Community Development has approved a substantive policy for the construction of greenhouses. This policy will allow for the construction of a greenhouse without a permit as long as it is 400 sf or less, built with lightweight framing, wall heights do not exceed 8 feet with a maximum roof peak of 15 feet, and no plumbing, electrical or mechanical is installed with the exception of a standpipe. See the full policy here.
Innovative Materials and Systems Pilot Program adopted by the Board of Supervisors as an Amendment to the Building Safety Code
The purpose of the Innovative Materials and Systems Pilot Program is to support community members who are interested in utilizing sustainable and innovative building methods, materials and designs in their rural residential dwellings and the use of such approaches has been identified as difficult to permit prescriptively.
This Amendment allows a Rural Residential Owner-Builder the option of seeking an exemption from the application of the currently adopted version of the Coconino County Building Safety Code, including the requirement for construction plan review and/or inspections under certain conditions. It is only available where the property upon which the construction will take place is located in either zoning district General (G) or Agriculture Residential (AR), and has a minimum parcel size of two and one-half (2 1/2) acres or more. Only one dwelling unit can be constructed on the parcel under this Program. This option is only available for new residential owner-occupied construction projects with no more than one (1) story, with a total construction area of 600 square feet or less, and acceptance into the Program is contingent upon the use of alternative building methods, materials, systems or design in the project..
See the full Amendment here. See information about the Pilot Program permitting process here. A flow chart of the permitting process can be found here. Download a packet with the application form and all other documents here.
For further information about the Program please call Nina Schmidt at (928) 679-8882 or Amanda Acheson at (928) 679-8853.
New Substantive Policy Statement for Earthbag Structures of Up to 750 sf
Coconino County Community Development has approved a substantive policy for earthbag buildings up to 750 square feet. This policy will allow earthbag structures, subject to certain limitations, to be permitted using the book Earthbag Building: The Tools, Tricks and Techniques as a prescriptive method. Engineering will not be required so long as the methods described in the book are adhered to. See the full policy here.
At the March Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, Project Intern Nichole Gregory gave a presentation on Coconino County's proposed Rainwater Harvesting for Domestic Use Code and the educational booklet she is developing to accompany it. Click on the image to the right to see her presentation.
Incentives for Green Realtor Certification
The Sustainable Building Program recently began an initiative to promote higher valuation of high performance and sustainable buildings within the local real estate market. We have been hearing from some contractors who are certifying their projects through the Program that the added investment in building high performance homes is not being reflected in appraisal values. One of the goals of the initiative is to increase the number of local real estate professionals that have green designation. If you are a realtor, consider green designation! Click here to see our incentives for green designation. Find more information on the National Association of Realtors Green Designation and EcoBroker certification on their websites.
Tad Moore- NAR Green® Designee
Being a Flagstaff native, I am passionate about helping my clients buy and sell homes in the community I love. Since 2006, I have provided my clients with outstanding expertise and professionalism, and always go the extra-mile to ensure their real estate transaction is one they can look back on fondly. I am always striving to help this great community in any way I can. Sustainable living is a big part of that. From water harvesting, to energy efficiency, to even smart home devices that help homeowners maximize the efficiency of what's already in place, I pride myself in educating my clientson the most current options that can help them be more conscientious about the positive impact we all can make in helping our fragile environment!
Sustainable Building Program Newsletter
The topic of the November/December newsletter was the Innovative Methods and Systems Pilot Program and the Alternative Technology Advisory Group. Subscribe to the newsletter to learn more about sustainable building topics, current happenings in the Program, projects that are going through the certification process as well as announcements of events related to sustainable building.
Subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter
Our Coconino Community College Special Project intern, Don Fisher, recently completed an Excel spreadsheet listing 254 books on sustainable building topics that are available at the Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library. As it is in spreadsheet format, the entries can be filtered by topic, name, date of publication, author and location. This can be done by clicking the dropdown menu on the heading and choosing the desired category or selection.
The spreadsheet can be found here.
Update to the Incentives Directory
One of our new Coconino Community College Special Project interns, Camille Clark, has completed the latest revision of the Sustainable Building Program's "Incentives for Sustainable Building" directory! This directory includes tax credits and rebates for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency measures and water conservation features for both new construction and retrofits, residential and commercial. It also lists mortgage products, programs for no interest loans for home maintenance and more. You can find the updated directory here.
Rainwater Harvesting Panel
On September 28th, the Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership hosted a well-attended rainwater harvesting discussion panel as part of the Flagstaff Festival of Science. The discussion included design, installation and maintenance aspects of rainwater harvesting systems for landscaping and potable use.
Presentations included those by:
- Julie Lied- A local homeowner who has 10,000 gallons of storage for collecting rainwater and treating it for their families domestic water needs.
- Amanda Richardson of the City of Flagstaff Stormwater section provided a brief overview of Low Impact Development methods used locally.
You can view their presentations using the links at the right.
New Sustainable Development Educational Booklet for the Residential Checklist
Check out the new draft Sustainable Development Booklet for the Residential Construction Checklist, a comprehensive guide to sustainable development in Northern Arizona!
The Booklet, written and designed by intern Nathan Hays, details the components of sustainable building listed in the checklist, explaining their relevance to sustainability, how they are accomplished and how points are assigned to those features for projects that are being certified through the Sustainable Building Program.
Sustainable Building Service Provider Directory
We recently began an update of the Sustainable Building Program's Resource Directory. The original directory has been broken into two parts: 1) a directory of sustainable building service providers called the "Sustainable Building Service Provider Directory," and 2) a directory of sustainable building products titled, you guessed it!, the "Sustainable Building Products Directory."
Find a draft of the updated Sustainable Building Service Provider Directory here.
The creation of a Sustainable Building Products Directory is a future project.
- Earthbag Substantive Policy for structures Up to 750 sf
- Substantive Policy on Residential Strawbale Construction
- Supplemental Guidelines for Residential Strawbale Construction
- 2015 IRC Appendix S for Strawbale Construction with Commentary
- Final Tiny House Permitting Policy
- Zoning Ordinance Update- Accessory Dwellings
- Substantive Policy on Roof Top Solar Installations
- Passive Solar Design Policy
- Updated Incentives Directory
- Sustainable Building Service Provider Directory
- New Sustainable Development Booklet for the Residential Construction Checklist
- Residential Integrated Pest Management Guide
- List of Books on Sustainable Building Topics at the Flagstaff City- Coconino County Public Library