Special to The Explorer

Two organizations are receiving grants from the U.S. Green Building Council to help build certified "green" homes.

The Community Partnership of Southern Arizona has received $3,688 to make the 10-unit Sonrisa Apartments certifiable to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

Habitat for Humanity received $1,000 to have one Habitat home LEED-certified. Pima County assisted both organizations with their applications.

CPSA, a Tucson-based nonprofit organization, has overseen publicly funded behavioral health services for persons with mental illness or substance use disorders in five Southern Arizona counties for the past 15 years.

"This is wonderful news and recognition," said Barbara Montrose, director of CPSA housing services. "CPSA is proud to be a part of the LEED for Homes program and to promote green affordable housing in Pima County."

Sonrisa Apartments will provide supportive housing for very-low-income young adults with a serious mental illness who are aging out of foster care. The apartments were designed with input from prospective residents to ensure the facility is customized to their needs, a release said. Requirements center upon energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, non-toxic materials, and environmental performance.

"We're able to implement these kinds of green changes in our building program through our partnerships with local programs like Pima County," said Michael McDonald, executive director of Habitat Tucson. "We recognize the value these standards add not only to our homeowners with utility cost savings and sustainable housing, but to our environment and to our community."

"Affordability and green go together," said Rich Franz-Ünder, Pima County's Green Building Program manager. "Green homes have lower utility bills which reduce the overall cost of home ownership, and healthier indoor environments which may also reduce healthcare costs."

For more information about the county LEED certification program, call (520) 740-6892.

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