Builders Prepare for a Warmer World

On a recent Friday in Phoenix, the thermostat hovered around 110 degrees, and developer Austin Trautman was bracing for a predicted 117 degrees the following day—blistering even for Arizona. After a cooler-than-usual spring, the region experienced “crazy swings” in weather, he says, with 3½ inches of rain in a single day, one-third of what the area typically gets in one year. This unpredictability affects the way Trautman develops home sites for his company, Vali Homes. “The traditional idea is to get water off the lot and into a storm drain,” he says. “We treat water like an asset rather than a liability and keep it on site. It turns out we don’t need much irrigation water if we plant the right things.”…read more