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In a world confronting serious environmental challenges, designing and building sustainably is an imperative. Bike Ranch combines traditional designs and natural building materials with the most modern energy and water conservation systems to create a sense of place that is uniquely Tucson, a visual metaphor for the city’s past and future.

The Bike Ranch’s goal is to be a model for environmentally sustainable design, construction and function, and to be a Platinum Level LEED certified development and hotel. There are currently only three Platinum Hotel properties in the United States.

The EPA describes sustainability in the following way: “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

Site Plan

The primary goal is to preserve natural habitat and minimize our impact on the natural environment.

  • Develop within the existing disturbed area and limit encroachment into pristine desert areas.
  • Reuse existing building pads and roadways.
  • Site buildings to leave undisturbed important trees, vegetation and habitat.
  • Leave major washes undisturbed.
  • Cluster buildings to leave maximum amount of undisturbed natural open space.
  • Reduce parking to minimum allowable by code.


The primary goal is to minimize negative impact on the natural environment, including recycling a minimum of 90% existing building material, and to build structures of high quality construction that will endure far into the future.

  • Minimize dust creation.
  • Maintain natural topography of the site.
  • Reuse or recycle building material of existing houses.
  • Recycle appliances and equipment of existing houses.
  • Implement non-polluting construction practice; require recycling on site.
  • Minimize grading and trenching. Use observers in front of earth moving equipment and to check trenches before back fill.
  • Implement a sustainable purchasing policy for construction material: Purchase products that are wherever possible naturally sourced, regionally produced, contain recycled content, or are recyclable.
  • Use natural building materials: adobe, natural plasters, salvaged and certified sustainable wood
  • Use healthy natural fiber insulation.
  • Use alternative, permeable surfaces for driveways and parking and/or higher reflective surfaces that minimize heat island effect.

Building Design

The primary goal is to design a project with a high degree of aesthetics along with energy and water efficiency.

  • Use passive solar strategies as much as possible.
  • Implement a sustainable purchasing policy for construction material: Purchase products that are wherever possible naturally sourced, regionally produced, contain recycled content, or are recyclable.
  • Create a net-zero energy project using roof top solar collectors.
  • Use gas-fueled on-demand water heaters.
  • Use Multi Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) split HVAC system that utilizes energy recovery units and VRV heat pumps to maximize the building’s energy performance.
  • Collect AC condensate.
  • Use low level LED exterior lighting in accordance with Dark Skies Ordinance limits, with automated dimmers and shutoffs.

Landscape Design

The primary goal is to create a healthy, natural habitat for native plant species and animals.

  • Create non-disturb areas of pristine desert.
  • Create dedicated wildlife corridors.
  • Remove invasive foreign plant species: Rhus Lancea, Tamarisk
  • Use indigenous plant species that require little water and no fertilizer, and employ permaculture strategies to maximize the effect of rainwater and surface water.
  • Design decorative landscaping close to buildings that emphasizes drought tolerant plants.
  • Emphasize plant species that are food sources for wildlife.
  • Employ cisterns for roof top water collection and AC condensate collection.
  • Harvest grey water from laundry, bath, sinks and showers for landscape irrigation.
  • Create nursery area for multiplying native plant species.
  • Create an organic herb and vegetable garden.

Interior Design

Create a healthy, comfortable and responsive indoor environment.

  • Implement a sustainable purchasing policy for fixtures, furnishings, and equipment. Purchase products that are wherever possible naturally sourced, regionally produced, contain recycled content, or are recyclable.
  • Design to maximize access to fresh air and natural light.
  • Use natural breathable plasters with integral color.
  • Use natural woods, fabrics, and upholstery with an emphasis on salvaged, recycled and recyclable materials.
  • Use organic bedding and naturally made soaps and care products.
  • Use low or no VOC paints and coatings.
  • Use LED lighting.
  • Employ an automated smart system with occupancy sensors for lights and HVAC.
  • Use high efficiency plumbing fixtures: low flush or dual-flush toilets, reduced flow showerheads and faucets, Stand© or no-water urinals.
  • Use dashboards to monitor energy usage.
  • Capture energy from spinning cycles.

The goal is to create a positive, earth friendly, integrative environment for the enjoyment and participation of guests, staff and visitors of the Bike Ranch.

  • Implement a sustainable purchasing policy for all supplies. Purchase products that are wherever possible produced sustainably, contain recycled content, and are recyclable.
  • Promote and facilitate a cycling to work program for staff.
  • Use eco-friendly vans for guest transport.
  • Make available eco-friendly car for guest use.
  • Use green cleaning products.
  • Implement comprehensive recycling program.
  • Kitchen and menus will be designed around organic, regionally sourced, sustainable ingredients.
  • Fully educate staff on all sustainable aspects of the design and operations.
  • Fully implement program of guest education.


How You Can Help 

Approval of the Bike Ranch is before the Board of Supervisors on November 18th. We need your letters and your voice at the Board Meeting. Click here for more information…