Land Use in Arizona - US | Lookaway Zine

Written by Kyle Bruder
Published on Jul 01, 2021
Last updated on Jul 19, 2021

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Earthships

Earthships were made world famous by the town Taos, NM, yet Arizona is, AFAIK, also a great place for this type of tech. Many have been built and a new spate of luxury style versions can be found for sale online.

Earthships stay a constant comfortable temperature throughout the days, months and years. The are inexpensive to build. They are extremely water efficient. Food plants, even tropical ones, can grow year round inside. Some are even compatible with leech fields so if allowed by your county, may not require a septic tank. These attributes make earthships an excellent choice for living the Southwest US.

🌐 Earthship Biotecture - Michael Reynolds
Michael Reynolds came to Taos, New Mexico after finishing Architecture School in 1969. At the time Taos was still the “Wild West” with a pioneer spirit and no building regulations.

🌐 No Windows, No Problem: An Above-Ground ‘Underground’ House for Sale in Arizona
The deserts of the Southwest are a sandbox for fascinating homes, from Earthships to rocky architectural wonders. So when we found this home for sale in the town of Rio Rico—a house made of three circles and no windows—we weren’t surprised.


Rammed Earth Construction

Like earthships, rammed earth homes take advantage of thermal mass to beat the heat. The advantage of rammed earth is, in most cases, you can use the dirt that is already on your property. Just add lime!

🌐 Rammed Earth Solar Homes Inc.
With his loyal crew, Quentin Branch has been building rammed earth projects for 40 years – from patio walls to highway sound-barrier retaining walls, and from guest homes to a 38,000-square-foot television studio named one of the 18 top architectural achievements in Arizona.

🌐 Rammed Earth Works
Rammed Earth Works is the original rammed earth builder in the United States, having built hundreds of high profile residences and commercial projects since 1976. You could say we wrote the book on Rammed Earth, which we did with The Rammed Earth Experience by David Easton, firs…


Energy

There are many remote areas of AZ that will not have access to LNG or electric infrastructures. Large scale residential, commercial and industrial operations should take place in well established areas. Remote dwellings should take advantage of local natural resources in the consumption of energy such as firewood or solar panels.

The sunshine is plenty in the AZ so solar is an obvious choice keeping in mind that the wind and dirt will corrode your units and they will need to be upgraded more often than some other areas of the US. Large scale arrays will get expensive so it's best to start small and scale down your usage.

Diesel, gasoline, or LPG generators are a must for off grid living. Properties that use electric well pumps will require more amps and watts than the typical residential solar array can provide.

Consider using battery systems to store unused generated energy. One way to do this cleanly and cheaply and on a large scale is to use all-iron battery assemblies. These are massive energy bays that are commonly housed underground or on a trailer.

🌐 Open source all-iron battery for renewable energy storage
The price of renewable energy is dropping rapidly. Energy storage will be needed to take full advantage of abundant but intermittent energy sources. Even with economies of scale, the price is prohibitively high for a lithium-ion battery pack capable of storing tens of kilowatts …


Water

Arizona recieves a good amount of rainfall most years. It has its own localized monsoon system. In short when it rains, it pours. Flash flooding should be taken into account when making planning land usage. The rainfall is an excellent source of water for your property if it is properly collected, stored and used.
Despite being a desert, many communities have and use well water.

🌐 Monsoon - Arizona State Climate Office


Public Data

In most US states, rules about land use are mostly set at the county level. However, there may be state and city laws (and even neighborhood ordinances). Generally speaking, the more localized rules take precedence over state law.

To find out how you can use your land in AZ, consult your county office. They are required to both keep records and make them public. For construction, in some cases, the county may need to come out and test your land and the land surrounding it before allowing certain construction or extraction.

🌐 Public Data - BLM - AZ
Search results containing publicly available data pertaining to Arizona, released by the Bureau of Land Management (US).

🌐 Assessor Offices - Arizona (Property Tax Assessments & GIS Maps)
Looking for Arizona property tax assessments, tax rates & GIS maps? Quickly access records from 20 Assessor Offices in AZ.


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