As the 28,000 attendees of the Greenbuild 09 conference depart from Phoenix today, I’m struck by how active and vibrant our green building community is in the Southwest. While some in other regions may question how green Phoenix could possibly be given our sprawl and heat, the fact is we are one of the leaders in green building.

Photo: Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Seeking LEED platinum, the Tempe Transportation Center embodies a holistic sustainable approach. Located next to a new Light Rail station (right), the building�s green building features benefit the aesthetics, the community and teamwork among the project participants.

The halls of the LEED silver Phoenix Convention Center were filled with companies and individuals from the Southwest who incorporate sustainability holistically into every aspect of their construction projects and their own business operations.

This spirit is reflected throughout the pages of this month’s special awards issue. As you flip through our Best of 2009 winners, you’ll see project after project that is pursuing LEED certification or incorporates multiple sustainable principles.


Sustainability is not a requirement for our awards, but the reality is, without a green building component these days, your project is going to be overshadowed by others that do incorporate sustainability – not because being green is trendy, but because sustainability is a holistic part of the entire project that benefits the community, serves the functionality of the building and inspires greater teamwork among the project team.

McGraw-Hill recently announced that the Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center won ENR’s national Best of the Best green building award. What hasn’t yet been announced is that Tempe Transportation Center was among the three finalists for the award. Last year, Arizona won the same category with ASU Polytechnic, and Papago Gateway Center was a finalist.

That’s four Arizona projects among the six finalists in the green building category of the national awards, all built with different project teams. If that isn’t a testimonial to the strength and depth of our local green building movement, I don’t know what is.

As William Turner, University of New Mexico’s director of capital projects said in last month’s issue of Southwest Contractor, “in today’s world, good design has to have a component of sustainability to it -- otherwise you didn’t really do good design.”