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SCinIC | Site Visits & Tribe Updates | Cocopah Indian Housing and Development Site Visit

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Cocopah Indian Housing and Development Site Visit «

April 23, 2012

CIHAD staff members. meet with the SCinIC technical team. CIHAD multifamily building scheduled for renovation. Site plan of CIHAD multifamily housing buildings and community center scheduled for renovation.

The sun, heat, and wind in the desert climate of southern Arizona are hard on housing. The Cocopah Indian Tribe Reservation south of Yuma, near the border with Mexico, seeks to stabilize and to strengthen its community by ensuring that its housing is safe and in good condition. Stable, decent housing will allow all tribal members who wish to live on the reservation to find suitable housing and to become homeowners, if they choose. Consequently, the Tribe has created the Cocopah Indian Housing and Development (CIHAD) to upgrade and construct the necessary infrastructure, rehabilitate existing units, and expand the supply of affordable housing units for sale or lease to tribal members.

By lowering utility costs and increasing durability of the housing, CIHAD can increase the sustainability of its housing stock and help its tenants save on expensive air conditioning bills. Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) team members visited the Cocopah Indian Tribe on April 1–3 to discuss strategies for helping CIHAD to rehabilitate existing all-electric multifamily housing units and a community center to become net-zero energy buildings. A net-zero building uses a renewable energy source to generate as much energy as it consumes. Most net-zero energy buildings are grid-connected and net-metered.

CIHAD’s initial plans call for immediately reducing the energy load. This may be accomplished by replacing lighting fixtures and lighting, adding occupancy sensors, upgrading to Energy Star appliances, shutting off appliances when not in use, improving insulation, and installing energy efficient windows. The incentives available through the local utility, APS (Arizona Power Service), for multifamily housing may help cut costs for making some of these changes. The SCinIC team will provide building modeling to help CIHAD make choices about installing efficient heating systems and explore the feasibility of solar as a renewable energy source.

The team also met in Phoenix on April 4 with the HUD Southwest Office of Native American Programs, the Phoenix Field Office, and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy to discuss the CIHAD project and learn more about incentives available to Arizona utility users for making their homes more energy efficient.