Sustainable Clarkdale

Sustainability Alliance - Silver certificationSustainable Development Guidelines (PDF) were adopted at the regular Town Council meeting on October 9, 2018.

The guidelines pertain to commercial, industrial and multi-family development and are informed by the Town of Clarkdale's General Plan and Sustainability Values, adopted in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Here is an interesting, 20-minute lecture that explains some of the concepts found in the draft guidelines.

Sustainable Development Guidelines PowerPoint Presentation (PDF) briefly explains the concepts and how the guidelines relate to the 2012 General Plan and the Town of Clarkdale's Sustainability Values, adopted by voters in 2013.

Clarkdale respects its location in this arid desert region, so naturally, matters relating to water use and conservation top the Town of Clarkdale's priority list. Stroll through Centennial Plaza and take in the water harvesting contours and native, drought tolerant species. Know that rainwater is harvested from the roof of the Clark Memorial Clubhouse and is stored in sub-grade cisterns totaling 5,100 gallons. We encourage residential greywater system installation, and our wastewater treatment facility is producing grade A plus effluent, suitable for construction and other non-potable uses. But Clarkdale's approach to sustainability goes beyond water conservation. Clarkdale was one of the first communities in the Verde Valley to partner with APS to become an "Arizona Solar Community" (View the Solar Usage for Water and Electric and Geothermal Usage (PDF)). Our Zoning Code protects our dark, rural skies, and the Clark Memorial Clubhouse is the only historic municipal facility in the State of Arizona heated and cooled by a geothermal heat pump.

Centennial Plaza, Clarkdale Arizona

Native, Drought Tolerant Vegetation

Go for a hike and look at the wide variety of things that grow in our desert without supplemental watering. Using these low-water-demand plants to beautify your property is called Xeriscaping (many think it's "Zero-scaping" because it sounds roughly the same).

While supplemental irrigation is occasionally necessary to establish new vegetation, continued surface watering can actually work against the health and longevity of your landscaping. When plants get accustomed to water at regular intervals on the surface, they have little incentive to do the hard work of digging deep into the soil where their established neighbors find moisture. Once your desert plantings are established, it's a good idea to wean them off of additional water. Think of it as tough love for your plants.

Southwest Wine Center, Yavapai College, Clarkdale CampusWater Harvesting

This comes in two flavors: Active and passive. Say "water harvesting", and most people think of rain barrels and down spouts - This is an example of active water harvesting. (Yes: It is legal, and most municipalities in our state encourage it.) But rain water can be used for much more than just landscaping. Rainwater is high-quality, atmospherically-distilled water, without all the minerals and heavy metals commonly found in Arizona's groundwater. It is routinely brought to drinking water standards by the same filtration methods used to treat groundwater. Numerous homes in Arizona, including a few in Prescott, are supplied entirely by rainwater.

Passive water harvesting involves the use of berms, swales and sunken gardens, raised pathways etc. in order to slow down surface water, which gives it an opportunity to sink beneath the surface and nourish root systems, and to effectively create a sponge out of the soil, instead of allowing it to erode top soil or evaporate.


Greywater is used water from household sources other than toilets. When the appropriate soaps and detergents are used, landscape plants actually thrive on the dirt, oils and soaps that come from household water. It's easiest to implement a greywater system during the design phase - before construction - but for existing homes, the easiest way to do this is called "Laundry to Landscape".

Solar Energy

Here is another category that is divided between active and passive designs: Again, most people think first of the active variety: Solar (photovoltaic) panels that appear on so many rooftops, and solar collectors, which collect radiant solar energy to heat water or air. Passive solar is not as easy to recognize because it's not an externally mounted piece of equipment. Passive solar design entails a good combination of solar orientation, glass, thermal mass and well-placed shade elements. This approach does require some engagement by the building occupants, but properly designed, built and used, it can eliminate the need for expensive mechanical systems. View Solar Usage for Water and Electric and Geothermal Usage (PDF)

Clarkdale Metals Building - Benefits of  Natural LightingDay Lighting

It only makes sense to take full advantage of the free, clean solar energy that is delivered to our area almost 300 days per year. Using the Sunday's light to illuminate our buildings during the daytime not only makes sense, a growing number of studies (x) say it also contributes to better health, happiness and productivity.

(x) National Renewable Energy Laboratory study

Additional Information

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