Going Green with Milagro Co-Housing

Milagro is an award-winning co-housing community of 28 energy efficient, passive solar, adobe homes on a 43-acre site in the Tucson mountains. In an effort to create a more sustainable community, a number of green features were incorporated into the design of Milagro. The homes were clustered to preserve more than ¾ of the property in its natural state, leaving 35 acres of open space for community residents to enjoy. Energy efficiency was one of the goals of the development. To achieve this, the housing units were built with adobe brick and metal roofs that are well insulated. The units are also oriented to take advantage of passive solar principles and each house is equipped with a solar hot water heater. And in the Sonoran desert, who really needs a clothes drier? Many residents save energy and even time by using a traditional clothesline. Combining design features with sensible use of power, residents can spend less than $50 per month on power bills. 

The landscaping features permaculture design and an emphasis on native plants. Wetlands and an underground irrigation system for wastewater recycling are utilized in the community, as well as rainwater harvesting. The total use of potable water can be as little as 50 gallons per person per day, compared to most individuals in Tucson who use at least 150 gallons of water per person per day.

Both the driveway leading to Milagro Co-housing and the shared parking lot are paved with permeable materials, reducing the amount of runoff and pollutants entering the stormwater stream. The community also owns an electric golf cart which residents share to transport heavy loads from the parking area to their homes. Other shared amenities include a community pool (solar heated), a common house, gardens and orchards, and a workshop with tools.

To learn more about Milagro Co-housing, visit http://www.milagrocohousing.org/

Learn from more Community Models


Other Co-Housing Communities in Tucson

Stone Curves

Sonora Co-Housing

Dancing Rocks Permaculture Community


Education and Resources

Pima County Green Building Program

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

EPA Smart Growth Website

EPA helps communities grow in ways that expand economic opportunity, protect public health and the environment, and create and enhance the places that people love. This site has information related to smart growth including: research, tools, partnerships, case studies, grants, and technical assistance.

EPA WaterSense Program
WaterSense makes it easy for Americans to save water and protect the environment. Look for the WaterSense label to choose quality, water-efficient products. Explore links to learn about WaterSense labeled products, saving water, and how businesses and organizations can partner with WaterSense.

EPA Energy Star Pogram
Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

U.S. Green Building Council, Arizona Chapter

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Community Partners

The Sonoran Institute

The Sonoran Institute promotes community decisions that respect the land and people of western North America.

U.S. Green Building Council, Arizona Chapter

The distinguishing characteristic of the USGBC Arizona Chapter is a focus on green building techniques, technologies and philosophies appropriate to the arid bio-region that encompasses the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

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