AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Cesar Chavez Library

The library, shown at night in this photograph, borders an artificial lake and is built into the topography of the land.
Photo credit: Bill Timmerman


  • Location: Laveen, AZ
  • Climate Region: 2B: Hot - Dry
  • Building type(s): Library
  • New construction
  • 25,200 ft2 (2,340 m2)
  • Project scope: a single building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed January 2007

The Cesar Chavez Library is integrated into a park made of mounded earth adjacent to a large constructed lake—a remnant from mid-20th century water attitudes. Unlike climates that will have rain every week, the desert is a unique circumstance that requires special consideration of water as well as energy conservation. The limitations imposed by the site, and these values, developed the innovations to be discussed in later measures.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2008. It was submitted by Line and Space, LLC, in Tucson, Arizona. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

The desert environment presented several challenges that created opportunities for green building strategies.

  • Extensive overhangs protect the building from solar heat gain and glare.
  • Window walls provide daylighting and views to the outdoors.
  • Roof-top rainwater collection provides water for irrigation, and low-flow fixtures indoors limit potable water use.
  • To lessen cooling needs, the building was built into the site and bermed with excavated earth.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by City of Phoenix, Local government
  • Typically occupied by 26 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 6,400 visitors per week, 1 hour per visitor per week


Integrated team, Green framework, Simulation, Commissioning, Performance measurement and verification, Operations and maintenance, Transportation benefits, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Efficient irrigation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Massing and orientation, Insulation levels, Glazing, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Durability, Benign materials, Recycled materials, C&D waste management, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Ventilation effectiveness, Thermal comfort, Indoor air quality monitoring

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Last updated: 4/22/2008

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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