Realty Executives Phoenix

Denise van den Bossche 602-980-0737

Associate Broker, Realtor & Team Leader (602) 980-0737

Denise van den Bossche 602-980-0737

Associate Broker, Realtor & Team Leader

Realty Executives Phoenix

Scottsdale Green to join Blue Zone Initiative

Scotsdale to be the Greenest Blue Zone

The City of Scottsdale is leveraging its leadership in green building certification to become the nation’s Greenest Blue Zone. Scottsdale led the nation with its establishment of one of the first Green Building Departments. Established in 1998, Scottsdale's residential Green Building Program was the first in the state and the fifth in the nation, one of only five cities in the country to offer homebuilders green building certification. It was specifically designed for desert living. By 2023, Scottsdale became one of only a few nationwide to mandate 'green' building code requirements for both residential and commercial. 


Green Building Certification criteria includes environmental stewardship, sustainability, and systems and design elements which benefit the health and well-being of building occupants. Many of these “Green” metrics overlap with those used in ‘Blue Zone,’ a newer certification which defines regions of the world where people have been found to live longer lives. Blue Zones focus on healthy lifestyles and healthy communities, and it was no surprise when Scottsdale kicked off its Blue Zones initiative in January.

Cultivating Longevity and Well-being

‘Blue Zones’ share common characteristics that contribute to the well-being of residents, including a sense of community, a heavily plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and strong social connections.  In comparison, green buildings are focused on the health of the building occupants and minimization of the building’s ecological footprint in a sustainable fashion for future generations. Design of the building typically uses a community collaboration called a “Charette.” The green building tenants of health and community align seamlessly with the principles of blue zones.

Scottsdale Possesses Blue Zone Elements

 Blue Zones emphasize walkability in communities, which aligns with Scottsdale’s 400 miles of well-maintained hiking trails, considered one of the top 15 hiking destinations in the nation. In addition to the hiking, biking, and horseback riding accessibility, Scottsdale in known for its parks, sports, art galleries, museums, restaurants, over 200 golf courses and hundreds of destination events. With 299 sunny days per year, average temperatures of 72 to 80 degrees, and low rainfall, Scottsdale has some of the best year-round accessibility to enjoy outdoor activities. Nearby is Tonto National Forrest, with full lake marinas, camping and fishing. Within a short drive are snow sports like downhill skiing and the beaches of California and Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and more.


Blue Zone attributes include happiness and purpose, and numerous studies list Scottsdale as one of the happiest and healthiest places to live in the nation. Last month Wallethub named Scottsdale as the best place for job seekers. Scottsdale is extremely low risk for natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, hailstorms, tornados, wildfires or power grid failure. Scottsdale also enjoys a low cost of living and rare traffic congestion relative to its size. Young and vibrant, the median age of Scottsdale is 47.9, with median household income of $97,409 According to the 2021 census.

What a Luxury Green Home in Scottsdale looks like

10500 E. Lost Canyon Lot #34 was certified by the Scottsdale Green Building Department in 2008. It is currently listed for sale for $5,600,000. 

Lost Canyon is a guard gated community in the McDowell Sonoran Mountain Preserve just north of the 101 loop near last week's WM Phoenix Open. It is secluded with just 35 lots ranging from 6 to 10 acres, and chances are you have never heard of it. The design guidelines closely resemble a Charette. The developer describes the environment as “a natural amphitheater of desert foothills, ravines, washes and rock outcroppings enhanced by an established Sonoran desert landscape with minimal alteration.”  Building envelopes are pre-defined to protect views, natural drainage, and undisturbed desert.

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is more than 30,500 acres of perpetually preserved open space with more than 160 miles of hiking, and is the largest urban preserve in the U.S.


The 5-Bedroom home on lot #34 was an early certification under Scottsdale’s Green Building program. Below are some of the criteria architect Gordon Rogers focused on:

  • High Energy Efficiency. High SEER equipment with heavily insulated walls, roof, doors, windows, foundation systems; sealed insulated ducts, recessed lighting; task lighting; passive ventilation; ceiling fans; roof radiant barrier; exterior air infiltration barrier; minimum solar heat gain coefficient glass; diagnostic blower door test confirming tight house seal.
  • Minimum impact on site; natural desert vegetation; non-permeable walkways and driveways; home orientation to maximize efficiency; rain sensor shut-offs; 90% xeriscape; no chemical herbicides or pesticides within building footprint
  • Indoor Air Quality. Calculated Air Exchange coefficient; Interior finishes & adhesives minimizing VOCs (volatile organic compound); Zoned air with independent temperature control for all habitable rooms; Minimal duct leakage measurements; Whole house filtration system; Central vacuum system with outside exhaust; Sealed combustion water heater and fireplace; Heat recovery ventilators (or air-to-heat exchanger); Passive radon ventilation system; No cooktop combustion of fossil fuels; Domestic sustainably sourced materials with non-toxic binders; Exposed substate materials sealed with formaldehyde-blocking finish
  • Recycling center; Recycled and certified sustainably sourced material content; Smart wiring system; Roof prep and electrical rough-in for future solar photovoltaic power; Roofing with minimum 25 year manufacturer warranty; Reflective roof surface; Integrally colored stucco of fiber cement. More information on certification metrics available upon request.


The collaboration between certified green buildings and blue zones is a powerful approach to creating sustainable, health-focused communities.  Humans spend the majority of each day working, playing and learning indoors, so green buildings should be an important component of Blue Zone consideration. In 2023, Scottsdale became one of only a few municipalities nationwide to mandate 'green' building code requirements for both residential and commercial construction. Extending the leadership Scottsdale has already demonstrated in its green building program into the Blue Zone initiative will undoubtedly make Scottsdale the Greenest Blue Zone on the planet


About the Author:. Denise van den Bossche is the Listing Agent of 10500 E. Lost Canyon #34, a Scottsdale Certified Green Home. She is a REALTORÒ and Associate Broker with Realty Executives. Denise was the State Chair of the Arizona U.S. Green Building CouncilÔ in 2008, and maintains a Legacy LEED (Accredited Professional) APÒ. More information at


#BlueZones #Scottsdale #GreenBuildings #LostCanyon #ArizonaRealtors #LuxuryHomes #ArizonaListings

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Denise van den Bossche 602-980-0737

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