Tucson Celebrates $3.5M Grant to Develop Southwest Building Codes

Published on June 12, 2024


The City of Tucson, as part of the Resilient Southwest Building Code Collaborative, secured a competitive $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support communities in creating climate-resilient building codes tailored to the Southwestern United States. President Biden's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funds the grant and is one of 27 projects funded through this DOE program. The funded initiative, The Resilient Southwest Building Code Collaborativewill leverage guidance from organizations such as the New Buildings Institute, the International Code Council, plus technical assistance from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, to help communities in the Southwest strategically address issues such as extreme heat, drought and water supply challenges, and wildfires through a regionally adapted model building code.     

"Climate change doesn't follow jurisdictional boundaries. By working together with our partners across the Southwest, we can address the complex challenges of accommodating growth in our region while also stewarding our natural resources and protecting our communities from the extreme heat, drought, and wildfires," said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.   

City of Tucson Chief Resilience Officer Fatima Luna and the City's Climate Action Team are responsible for implementation of the Tucson Resilient Together Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. This grant will provide critical support to help implement different goals in our plan. The plan recognizes the built environment's role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The Resilient Southwest Building Code Collaborative advances equity goals by providing resources to community organizations coordinated by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Phoenix for focused work with frontline communities.    

"Sustainability and resilience are critical for our future. The grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop climate-resilient building codes highlights this importance. It not only helps us preserve our environment but also ensures our communities become safer, more equitable, and better prepared for the challenges of climate change," Luna said.    

The Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation (RECI) grant is a partnership between the City of Tucson and more than three dozen organizations that collectively developed the goals and outcomes of the Resilient Southwest Building Code Collaborative. The Southwest Collaborative was formed following a November 2022 convening of eight Arizona and New Mexico communities and now includes nine technical partners, nine community benefit partners, and a dozen jurisdictional partners including numerous Arizona and New Mexico cities, the Arizona Governor's Office of Resiliency, and the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department.    

"I am thrilled to be a part of developing a first-of-its-kind regional resilience code that will help Tucson build the vibrant and resilient community of the future," said Leslie Ethen, City of Tucson's sustainability manager and collaborative project coordinator. "To have so many incredible partners as part of this Collaborative highlights both the need for and the value of this work."    

This federal investment, administered through various DOE programs, supports updated building energy codes while addressing climate resilience, energy equity, environmental justice, and workforce development. For partner details, project updates, and opportunities to become involved, visit the Resilient Southwest Building Code Collaborative website. You can also learn more about DOE's Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation program

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