Sustainable Clarkdale

Sustainability Alliance - Silver certification

Sustainable Development Guidelines
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 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" (click here to see our current solar installation map). 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.

swc0001-940x219Southwest Wine Center, Yavapai College, Clarkdale Campus
Water 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.
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 - 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 panels
Solar Panels on the roof of the Clarkdale/Jerome Elementary School

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.

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Clarkdale Metals Building - Benefits of  Natural Lighting

Day 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 Sun's light to illuminate our buildings during the daytime not only makes sense, a growing number of studies* say it also contributes to better health, happiness and productivity.
*National Renewable Energy Laboratory study (

The Town of Clarkdale's approved plant palette can be downloaded here.

Clarkdale's Sustainability Values, adopted according to the 2012 General Plan can be downloaded here.

Here are some more resources and information:
Friends of the Verde River Land and Water Planning Toolbox is a wealth of information, tools and volunteer opportunities.

Visit Citizen's Water Advisory Group  for educational opportunities, information and issues impacting our Verde River.

The Nature Conservancy's Verde River Page


Mike Gray, Project Manager
(928) 639-2502

PO Box 308
890 Main Street
Clarkdale, AZ 86324