Arizona State University
sun devil stadium

Construction Zone January-February 2022

Feb. 22, 2022
Sustainability initiatives

Stadium overhaul receives LEED Gold certification

The renovation of Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University in Tempe has received LEED Gold certification for its environmentally friendly renovation.

The five-year renovation effort incorporated several sustainable design considerations that helped earn the 55,000-seat stadium a Gold rating. Stadium staircases follow the contours of the adjacent butte and blend with the landscape, and strategically placed trees provide shade. Native, low-water-use plants help filter water runoff during rain. Parts of the stadium near the adjoining buttes offer scenic views and enable prevailing winds to cool the stadium.

Contractors diverted 98% of all on-site construction waste from landfills, and more than 63% of the wood used is Forest Stewardship Council-certified. Roughly 25% of the materials used in the renovation were made with recycled content, and more than 14% of the building’s materials were produced and extracted within 500 miles of the stadium.

More than 250 compost and recycling bins have been placed throughout the stadium, and the facility has increased available bicycle parking. It remains easily accessible via buses, neighborhood circulator shuttles and light rail.

Arizona State says it now has 66 LEED-certified building projects: seven LEED Platinum, 34 LEED Gold, 24 LEED Silver and 1 LEED-certified. New ASU construction sets LEED Silver as a minimum rating, with LEED Platinum as the goal.

Wisconsin elementary achieves net zero energy milestone

An elementary school in Fitchburg, Wis., is the state’s first Net Zero Energy school in the state and the largest net zero verified education project in the United States.

Forest Edge Elementary opened in 2020 in the Oregon (Wis.) district; it is a 126,580-square-foot facility designed and built to use no more energy than it produces.

Among its sustainable features:  90 geothermal wells that extend more than 400 feet into the ground and feed electric water-source heat pumps that heat and cool the building; a solar array on the school roof with 1,704 panels that produce 646 kilowatts of energy; and electrochromic glass that tints exterior windows in response to conditions to control solar gains and improve students’ comfort.

A 125-kilowatt battery has been installed to store some of the energy when the solar panels produce more energy than the school needs. If there is excess energy the school will not need, it can sell the energy back to the local utility.

The school has learning tools to help students learn about sustainability. Viewing areas showcase the green roof and solar arrays, educational environmental graphics describe elements of the school, and monitors display a real-time energy dashboard that display the school’s ongoing energy performance.

“Our investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability will save the district approximately $60,000 annually,” says district business manager Andy Weiland.

According to data collected by the New Buildings Institute, as of Oct. 1, 2021, Forest Edge was the largest verified net zero education facility in the nation and one of only 74 net zero verified public projects in the United States.

Solar installation project to save millions at Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) is planning to install solar energy systems on four of its campuses across the state.

The university says the installations on its main campus in Marion, Ind., as well as its campuses in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Merrillville, will result in the largest deployment of solar for one educational entity in the state of Indiana "Renewable energy, specifically solar, is the best path forward for our university to contribute regionally and be a responsible community leader," said John Jones, vice president of operations for IWU-Marion. "It will also assist in controlling the cost of education so we can stay competitive for the students we serve." The university projects that it will save more than $30 million during its service agreement with Sun FundED, its partner in developing, financing and operating the solar installations.

"Solar is a powerful tool to mitigate the rising energy costs for our facilities,” says Nancy Schoonmaker, executive vice president, and chief financial officer for Indiana Wesleyan University. “The timing couldn't be better for this partnership and for IWU to go solar."         

Renovated Nashville high school gets LEED Gold

The $89 million renovation of Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tenn., has received LEED Gold certification in recognition of its environmentally friendly and sustainable design.

The upgrade of the 28-acre campus, which is the longest continuously operating high school in the Metropolitan Nashville district, is expected to be completed this spring. The work encompassed a complete renovation of the main building, constructed in 1954, as well as construction of a three-story tower that houses the library, cafeteria, a small gym and classrooms.

The design includes sustainable elements such as water fixtures that reduce water usage by more than 30%; a neighborhood recycling center for the community; views to the outside in 90% of the classrooms; and a 32% more efficient mechanical system.

“It is very difficult to achieve any level of LEED certification, let alone LEED Gold, on a project that mixes renovation with new construction,” said David Proffitt, executive director for facilities, maintenance and construction in the Metropolitan Nashville district.  

Two “Tommies” recognized for sustainability

Two residence halls that opened in 2020 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., have received LEED certification for their environmentally friendly design and construction.

Tommie East Residence Hall, a five-story, 260-bed facility received a LEED Platinum rating, and Tommie North, a five-story 480-student facility for first-year students, received a Silver rating.

“We are committed as a campus – whether it's in our educational programs, facilities, operations, policies, how we live and learn in and outside of the classroom – to sustainability,” says St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan.

Among the sustainable elements at Tommie East: energy efficiency above industry standards; electric vehicle charging stations; collection of compostable waste; an irrigation metering system; high-efficiency appliances and low-flow water fixtures; access to bicycle and public transit; an underground rainwater infiltration system; more than 8,000 square feet of vegetated roof area; and carpet made from recycled content.

Tommie North also incorporated numerous sustainable design strategies: three electric vehicle charging stations; 179 secured bike rack locations for student and faculty use; 77% of all construction waste diverted to recycling facilities; 45% water use reduction in comparison to the baseline design model; 21% energy use reduction in comparison to the baseline design model; All building finishes meeting requirements for low volatile organic compounds; and use of local material providers for rebar and stone to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.

University Vice President of Facilities Management Jim Brummer says St. Thomas has more than 547,000 square feet of space, representing 20% of the space on the St. Paul campus, that is LEED certified.

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