Solar Village Breaks Ground in Tucson’s Inner City

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Tucson, AZ –Builders, utility executives, and government officials broke ground December 3 on Tucson’s Armory Park del Sol, a development that offers the nation’s cities an exciting model for sustainable, affordable inner city housing that incorporates solar energy and other advanced technologies.

Armory Park del Sol is a cooperative venture of John Wesley Miller Companies, Global Solar Energies and Tucson Electric Power Company, a sister company to Global Solar. The development is also a national demonstration project of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), a presidential industry-government initiative created to spur technological innovations to significantly improve the affordability, quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance of nation’s existing and future housing stock.

“We are blending old historical architectural values with the latest in technology,” said Builder John Wesley Miller. “Armory Park del Sol incorporates just about everything that people say they want to see in infill and redevelopment projects,” he said.

When completed in an estimated three years, Armory Park del Sol will consist of 99 single-family homes on 14 acres, priced from $90,000 to $200,000 and higher for custom homes, all incorporating cutting edge technologies. Every home, which will range from 800 to 1,8000 square feet, will be designed to complement those in the neighboring historic area. Each dwelling, however, will feature a solar hot water systems and solar off-peak electric generation. Armory Park del Sol is a participant in President Clinton’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative.

“By utilizing Global Solar’s state-of-the-art photovoltaic technology in the construction of each home, we hope to reduce dependence on commercially produced electricity by at least 75 percent ,” said James S. Pignatelli, Tucson Electric Power chairman and CEO.

Other standard energy efficiency features include dual pane windows and thermal mass storage principles in the building envelope, augmented by ultra efficient surround insulation — all which ensure stable interior heating and cooling.

The homes will be equipped with the latest water saving technologies, including two water mains, one for household use plus a second to make reclaimed water available for landscape and yard irrigation. When combined with the use of native vegetation in landscaping, water consumption is expected to be reduced by approximately 65 percent compared to typical Tucson homes.

The Armory Park del Sol project also will incorporate sustainable high-density urban infill development techniques in an effort to preserve open spaces. The community will feature extensive walkways to encourage pedestrian traffic, reducing the negative effect of vehicle emissions on the environment.

“Armory Park del Sol embodies the very essence of what the PATH program has set out to accomplish,” said Susan Wachter, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research. “It preserves and builds on the good of the past while using new technologies to revitalize a community. Armory Park del Sol illustrates that historic preservation and affordable 21st century living are compatible. The keys are good planning and wise selection of technology,” she said.

PATH is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to HUD, federal agencies participating in PATH include U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Labor and Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Housing Finance Board, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Private sector members include leaders of the home building, product manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries.

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