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Historic Arizona landmark celebrates 5th birthday of “Green” renovation and sustainable retrofitting by saving 700 metric tons of carbon dioxide from polluting the planet.

El Chorro Lodge Before Renovation


Desert Star Construction, a premier custom builder in Scottsdale, announced today that El Chorro Lodge, the first-ever LEED Gold Certified full-service restaurant in the state of Arizona, has produced over 1.1 million kilowatt-hours of energy since Valentine’s Day 2010. On that date, the landmark celebrated the completion of a renovation and technological retrofitting aimed at exceeding modern energy and operational standards while retaining its classic ambiance and design charm. February 18, 2015 marks the 5th anniversary of the official public reopening of the sustainably retrofitted and renovated El Chorro Lodge.

In aggregate, the energy savings achieved as a result of the 2010 renovation is equivalent to any of the following: annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1,666,667 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle; CO2 emissions from 78,767 gallons of gasoline consumed; or from 1,628 barrels of oil saved.

“We are thrilled with the end result that has enhanced the natural beauty of Paradise Valley as well as provided a sustainable source of economic return for the city,” stated Jacquie Dorrance, philanthropist and El Chorro Lodge owner. “We made the commitment early on to embrace and preserve the history and charm of this Valley icon, and I feel good about what we have accomplished in making El Chorro Lodge more relevant now than ever before.”

Despite significant wear and operational inefficiencies found throughout the property, Dorrance purchased El Chorro Lodge in 2009 and was joined by operating partners Kristy Moore and Tim Moore. Mark Candelaria (architect, AIA) of Candelaria Design Associates and Jerry Meek (builder) of Desert Star Construction were retained by Dorrance on Memorial Day 2009 to complete a multifaceted renovation by Valentine’s Day 2010. Together with Vallone Design (interior design), Berghoff Design Group (landscape architecture), and Creative Designs in Lighting (lighting design), the A-list luxury design/build team worked closely with the Town of Paradise Valley to expedite the project’s construction to completion within just five short months.

Sustainable building practices were introduced early on by Desert Star Construction with the goal for the entire renovation team to work together to achieve the state’s first LEED Gold certification for a full service restaurant. This led to the construction of three solar-panel-covered carports, two closed-loop, solar thermal water heating systems, and high-efficiency LED lighting fixtures with full automation capabilities to minimize lighting power densities based on needs and time of day. Many of the original materials were salvaged, preserved, and repurposed to enhance the restaurant’s interior and exterior design including the building’s original footprint and beam structure, the Old Classroom Bar fireplaces, and native plant material found throughout the property.

“The aim of sustainable construction and design is to achieve a higher degree of occupant comfort and control not only for the guests of the venue, but also for the organization as a whole,” stated Desert Star Construction President Jerry Meek. “Overall, the renovation has created a healthier environment while reducing the cost to maintain that environment, leading to greater productivity and an enhanced corporate identity that has proven it cares about the health of its occupants and the environment.”

El Chorro Lodge - Desert Star Construction