Sustainability – Primavera’s commitment to social and economic justice in the context of vibrant and revitalized neighborhoods has challenged the organization to integrate its neighborhood revitalization and community engagement activities. The strategy is to integrate community development and community engagement by strengthening resident leadership development and organizing across sectors with multiple community partners in targeted neighborhoods.
Primavera is committed to integrating green components into the organization’s strategic and operational plans with measurable outcomes for all lines of business, including emergency services, transitional housing, workforce development, property and asset management, homeownership promotion, education, preservation, neighborhood revitalization, and community engagement. Primavera’s dedication to “Go Green” reflects its commitment to building a more sustainable organization, and a more sustainable city, county, and state.
Since 2007, Primavera has developed Energy Star manufactured homes in the City of South Tucson and sells the new homes to first-time home buyers. Primavera’s water harvesting crew also finishes each property by designing and implementing a yard with water harvesting features that will utilize rainwater for the native plants. These Energy Star homes are defined by having effective insulation, high-performance windows, tight construction and tight ducts, and energy efficient heating and cooling equipment. All of the homes that have been replaced were distressed/blighted properties.
Neighborworks® Green Organization Designation
In 2013, Primavera joined 12 other NeighborWorks America Chartered Organizations as Green Organization Designees. The NeighborWorks Green Organization designation is recognition of our comprehensive commitment to sustainable operations. NeighborWorks America awards the designation to organizations that have met a set of green achievement criteria that covers an organization’s overall management and office operations as well as the programs of the organization that are covered by the NeighborWorks Green Organization Guidelines. Primavera has met the green achievement criteria in the following areas: homeownership education and counseling, new construction, single-family rehabilitation, asset and property management, owner and resident awareness, and community building and organizing. Learn more about the NeighborWorks Green Organization Program.
Las Abuelitas – Award-Winning, Platinum LEED Certified Buildings
Meeting Community Need
Several years ago, a delegation of grandparents and great‐grandparents raising grandchildren/great grandchildren through foster care or adoption met with Primavera to explain their need for accessible, affordable housing in a community setting. They had a vision of a housing community where residents could provide cooperative child care, cooperative programming for elders and children, play and meeting areas for families, and where they wouldn’t pay more than 34% of their income on housing costs. In Arizona, 60,000 children are being raised by grandparents or great-grandparents; 29% live in poverty; 62% of these grandparents are working or job hunting; and 21% of them have a disability. Kinship families frequently deal with a variety of issues such as incarcerated parents, health issues/medical crisis, financial stress, need to temporarily house additional family members, or even grandchildren having a baby.
Primavera began to research the need for this type of housing in Pima County as well as models of kinship family housing across the country. While there were very few models that exist, it was clear that the need was growing throughout the United States as well as locally. The seeds were planted and Primavera began to search for funding and land and to develop a plan of action to bring this vision to fruition.
Local and National Community Support
Las Abuelitas was made possible through key partnerships, including Pima County, with support from the leadership of the City of South Tucson, who donated the land, NeighborWorks® America, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization II and HOME programs, in partnership with Pima County, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Neighborworks® Capital, and Primavera donors. Poster, Frost Mirto, Inc. designed the project and Lloyd Construction Company, Inc. was the contractor. Poster Frost Mirto, Inc. designed the community and Lloyd Construction Co. was the contractor.
Construction started on November 7, 2012, and completed on November 27, 2013. The housing community provides 12 two and three bedroom rental units, and a community building to serve residents and the greater neighborhood with a large multi‐purpose room, computer lab, playroom/library, kitchen, office, and children’s art display area. Shared outdoor space comprises a playground and a “Common Green” sitting area. Directly adjacent to the property and also part of the project is a community garden with plots available for in the neighborhood residents, a public basketball play court, and a community orchard with citrus, pineapple guava, pomegranate, and fig trees.
In June 2014, Primavera’s Las Abuelita’s was awarded LEED Platinum Certification, the highest level of green building certification program from United States Green Building Council, a national organization that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices through their Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design designations.
Here a few key features that contributed to the LEED Platinum Certification:
- Metal shade structures that cover south‐facing windows, as well as patios and shared walkways, are abundant on the site. This shade reduces the amount of solar energy which falls on the buildings and site paving in the summer, keeping both cooler.
- Insulation values in every wall type and roof system for this project meet high standards.
- A closed‐loop glycol solar hot water system is incorporated into every unit, and it is anticipated that water heating for the residents should be cost‐free for the majority of the year.
- An advanced rainwater harvesting system collects water from 100% of the roofed area for this project. This water is collected in a series of interlinked cisterns which are tied to the irrigation system and provide water for the entire site.
- A photovoltaic system is incorporated on the roofs of some units, and at shade canopies that cover the parking area and a portion of the play area. Each unit is individually tied into its own series of panels that offset the on‐grid demand as well as reduce utility costs for the residents. The project makes the most of the PV harvested energy.
- All windows, appliances, and light fixtures in the project are Energy‐Star rated, and the mechanical systems for the units are highly energy efficient.
The result of all of these energy efficiency strategies is an exceptionally efficient building. The residential units have an average HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating of 2.25 with 4 of the 12 units scoring 0 or less. Find out more about HERS scores here.
Awards and Recognition
Since its development, Las Abuelita’s has been recognized for being a state-of-the-art community space. Awards include:
As well as the 2014 Residential Energy Efficiency Award by the State and Local Energy Report. Click here to see the article in the REEA magazine.
Solar Panels - Primavera Powered by the Sun
The Primavera Foundation’s premiere service site is now benefiting from harvested solar energy, thanks to two significant grant awards that have made it possible to install photovoltaic solar panels.
NeighborWorks® America and stimulus funds awarded through the Arizona Department of Commerce provided $140,000 in funding to support Primavera’s first wave of solar installation. The 39.95kW system now sits atop Primavera’s Jim and Vicki Click Training Center, 151 W. 40th Street, and will provide the organization with a tremendous cost savings of $76,783 over the next 10 years. These cost savings are being reinvested into the programs and properties, maximizing community resources and Primavera’s ability to serve southern Arizona.
NetZero Solar installed the 170 panels in February of 2011. Enphase Energy, the company that provided the microconverter technology for the panels, provides a real-time overview of each panel's output as well as summaries of the total amount of the carbon offset of the all the panels. Click here to see Primavera's production power.
Read the full article about the solar panels in a past Primavera newsletter.
Primavera also provides leadership to several resident and community gardens about using desert-friendly landscaping, harvesting water, and planting native and desert-friendly plants to maximize greenery and growth in our desert landscape. Visit Community Gardens to learn more.
Green Building Rehabilitation
The Primavera duplex, located at 138 and 144 E. 34th Street, was rehabilitated using standards from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is pending Gold certification, reflecting the organization’s commitment to affordable and sustainable community development. This rehabilitation includes environmentally friendly construction materials, ENERGY STAR™ appliances, greywater systems, and plumbing/electrical stub outs for future solar thermal installation.
“South Tucson is an area with a high number of foreclosed, vacant properties,” said Peggy Hutchison, Chief Executive Officer of the Primavera Foundation. “These empty houses can very quickly become a blemish on the block as well as a destabilizing factor for neighborhoods. We are delighted to be able to partner with Pima County, the City of South Tucson, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and several financial institutions to ensure affordable housing options for families, and sustainable investment in neighborhoods.”
Click here to see the specs from Primavera's Certified Green Building Consultant and contractor, BJ Benjamine.
Primavera hosted an open house for people to view the newest rehab. Download the flyer for the event, click here.
Homebuyer Post-Purchasing Education
In 2014, Primavera's Homeownership program started post-purchasing classes that included components on green cleaning, home repair, gardening, and other green, energy efficient, and low water use topics.