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APS awards three grants to ASU’s Herberger Instititute for Design and the Arts


January 14, 2015

Arizona Public Service Co. and Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts today announced that three research teams from The Design School at ASU have received more than $40,000 in grant funding from APS. The award recipients are working to develop innovative and forward-thinking solutions for sustainability challenges that, when the research projects are completed, will provide better materials and methods for commercial and residential design and construction in Arizona and across the nation.

“ASU’s researchers are developing creative solutions to very complex problems,” said Barbara Lockwood, General Manager of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance for APS, “and APS strongly supports their efforts to move Arizona forward as a leader in sustainable design. These grants will assist ASU’s teams with designing technologies that will serve our Arizona communities for many years to come.”

Tamara Underiner, associate dean for research in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, said of the grant recipients, “These projects are perfect examples of ASU’s commitment to use-inspired research, with design solutions to energy savings that have a wide reach – out from the university and into surrounding cities and homes. We’ll be seeing these innovations soon, and enjoying their benefits long into the future.”

The Arizona State University teams will each receive approximately $15,000 for their projects. The projects funded are:

• Energy Savings of a Hybrid Cooling and Storage System — This project leverages the massive effort undertaken by dozens of ASU and University of New Mexico students and faculty in designing, fundraising for and constructing the 2013 Solar Decathlon demonstration home called SHADE, which is now located at Phoenix’s Steele Park. The SHADE submission incorporated several innovative cooling technologies that have not yet been tested in Phoenix’s summer conditions. Specifically, the testing will involve a thermal storage technology that uses a bio-based phase change material (PCM) as well as a method of delivering energy to the PCM by way of hydronic capillary tubes. This project aims to show that these two technologies can deliver important energy savings to homeowners in the Southwest. Faculty leads: Harvey J. Bryan and Philip Horton.

• Green Roofs in Hot Arid Climates: Opportunities and obstacles to address urban heat islands and reduce energy consumption in Arizona — Green roofs are living systems designed to provide multiple ecological and resource benefits. Municipalities in the United States and abroad are using green roofs to enhance urban sustainability, yet they have not been widely researched in arid climates. This research fills that gap in our knowledge by using a case-control research design to quantify the performance of green roofs in hot, arid urban climates. The outcomes of this project will provide researchers and practitioners a better understanding of using green roofs in desert climates to address urban heat islands and reduce energy consumption. Faculty lead: Paul J. Coseo.

• Mainstreaming BetR-blok® — BetR-blok (better block) is a new composite building material made from recycled paper, natural cellulose and binders including fly ash. Besides diverting waste paper and fly ash from landfills, BetR-blok replaces wood – reducing deforestation. BetR-blok samples have been tested and approved for home building, but manufacturing it fast enough to be commercially feasible is a challenge. BetR-blok is made from a heavy mix that thickens very quickly. It cannot be conveyed or portioned inexpensively by current methods. This project will research, design and build an efficient device (tentatively called a BetR-batcher) to handle, measure and dispense the mix – cutting manufacturing time by an estimated 20-30 percent. Faculty lead: Donald Herring.


About APS
APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

About the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University is nestled in the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area, on the ASU Tempe campus.

The institute comprises the School of Art; the School of Arts, Media + Engineering; The Design School; the School of Film, Dance and Theatre; the School of Music; and the ASU Art Museum. Each discipline is nationally ranked. Each year, more than 50 National Merit Scholars and National Hispanic Scholars select the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts for their study.

The internationally acclaimed faculty of practicing artists and scholars is committed to educating students in a vibrant and multidisciplinary environment. Outstanding facilities give students the opportunity to practice and strengthen their craft. A centralized student advising staff offers support every step of the way, ensuring a successful and satisfying student experience.

With more than 300 sunny days a year, a thriving metropolitan arts community, more than 100 affiliated study-abroad opportunities and 4,700 thriving arts and design students, there truly is no better place to live, learn and cultivate artistic passion.



Media Contact:
Deborah Sussman Susser 
480.965.0478
deborah.susser@asu.edu