The Community of Civano
Nichols was a Commissioner for Tucson/Pima County Metropolitan Energy Commission (1993-2001). Participated in early Civano inception for energy and solar standards. Commissioned to write Tucson's Sustainable Energy Standard with a broad spectrum from the energy community (“SES”; first tested at Civano) and later to review model, custom and commercial plans for compliance with SES. ANE, Inc. also evaluates annual energy and water performance to comply with Civano SES and IMPACT Standards.
The Civano project demonstrates the marketability of sustainable community development on a large scale at affordable prices. This 820 acre traditional neighborhood development utilizes technology--materials and methods--to reduce natural resource usage substantially below current levels. The result is lower emissions and lower long term resource costs. The property is southeast of Houghton and Irvington Roads, with its central office at 10520 East Seven Generations Road.
Civano is a direct implementation of a new development pattern allowing people to meet economic needs while maintaining social values and ecological harmony. At build-out, Civano will be home to more than 5,000 people and will provide the commercial space for light industry, offices, and retail businesses. Commercial, cultural, and civic activity clustered in the village center is intended to foster a small town ambiance. Half the population and two thirds of the jobs are envisioned to be within a five minute walk of Civano's "downtown".
Civano's master plan anticipates construction of about 2,000 homes and apartments using significantly lower natural sources than conventional homes within a broad price range. This goal recognizes both the public policy intent of the Civano plan and the economics of the competitive market area, issues for which The City of Tucson invites innovative approaches..
Businesses in Civano provide jobs for some residents, reducing the need for automobile travel and its attendant air pollution. The vision is to create one job for every two housing units, although not all jobs will be held by Civano residents. Civano hopes to attract businesses engaged in renewable resource fields, such as photovoltaics (solar electric energy). Civano buildings meet stringent materials and energy use/performance standards.
Harvested and reclaimed water irrigates vegetation and conserves precious potable water. Extensive walking and biking paths reduce auto usage for internal circulation and create a livable community. As the population grows, alternate fuel vehicles such as natural gas trams are intended to support local travel with less pollution.
The City of Tucson was a catalyst in the State's auction of the property to a private master developer, with cooperation involving the State Land Department, the development community, utilities, financial institutions, and advocates for energy conservation and next generation neighborhood design. The City's Office of Economic Development had lead responsibility and worked closely with an advisory group of interested parties and an interdepartmental team of public agencies to get the project off the ground.