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Raising the bar with green buildings

October 2, 2017

Denis Hayes, coordinator of the 1st Earth Day, speaks with ASU audience about Living Buildings and what universities might do

Buildings account for 46 percent of all carbon emissions. They also account for 75 percent of all electrical use.

“This is breathtakingly important,” Denis Hayes told an audience at Arizona State University on Monday night.

Hayes, coordinator for the first Earth Day and president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to protecting and restoring the environment of the Pacific Northwest, discussed working in what has been described as the world’s greenest building.

The Bullitt Center in Seattle has met what is called the Living Building Challenge. A combination of a building standard and a philosophy, it’s similar to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, but performance-based.

LEED buildings can be “heroically disappointing,” Hayes said, citing a new Seattle City Hall that is LEED-certified but has more of an environmental impact than the old building it replaced.

“We need to move vastly farther and vastly faster,” Hayes said.

A Living Building must produce 105 percent of the energy it uses. It must capture its own water. It cannot have been built on a place where nothing has been built before. And it must not use materials from a banned “Red List” that are hazardous to human health or the environment.

The Bullitt Center has produced 60 percent more energy than it uses during the past three years.

“To which the basic question arises: What’s up, Phoenix?” Hayes said. “In Seattle we don’t even know what the sun looks like.”

He called the building the most comfortable office building in Seattle. Windows crack themselves automatically around 9 p.m., letting cool night air to circulate. At 7 a.m., they automatically close.

The water goal was to operate with as much impact as a Douglas fir forest on the same site. A study revealed it uses slightly less water. Composting toilets use a half cup of water per flush. A traditional low-flow toilet uses 1.5 gallons per flush.

All of this sounds expensive. The six-story building cost $355 per square foot, less than the median cost of construction of Class A office space in Seattle. One way this was achieved was to have no marble, no granite countertops, no expensive art and no parking garage. (Workers bike, take public transit or Lyft, or they park a block away.)

The idea in bringing Hayes to speak on campus was to spark ideas about possibilities, said Mick Dalrymple, directorDalrymple is also a senior sustainability scientist at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and an instructor in the School of Sustainability. of University Sustainability Practices at ASU.

“Most people don’t know what a living building is, so I wanted to elevate the conversation here and get people to think of a new idea,” he said. “I don’t expect that ASU is going to have some Living Building Challenge policy. It’s really made for design for the frontier buildings, people who really want to push the envelope.”

ASU Student Pavilion

The new Student Pavilion (and the newly renovated Orange Mall in front of it) hosted Denis Hayes on Monday evening. The Student Pavilion was designed to be ASU's first Net Zero Energy building. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Dalrymple and his University Sustainability Practices team help the university reach its ambitious sustainability goals. ASU owns the largest number of LEED-certified buildings in Arizona and built state's first-ever LEED Platinum building, the Biodesign Building B on the Tempe campus.

A Living Building earns certification after one year, during which all metrics are measured.

“It’s a pretty tough standard,” Dalrymple said. “It’s tougher than LEED. It’s not based on design. It’s based on actual performance.”

The water standard for a Living Building would be very tough to achieve in dry, sunny Arizona. But incorporating other standards is possible, Dalrymple said.

“There are a good number of people within ASU looking into the Living Building Challenge to see how we might be able to do a Living Building or at least is inspired by or aspires to the Living Building Challenge,” he said. “I am hoping we get one or two of them here; specifically I’m hoping that we go for it on ISTB7, and maybe on Waterworks, although on both of them it’s an extremely challenging standard to meet. I don’t know if it’s possible or not, but I want us to explore it and see how far we get. It’s really kind of an aspirational thing.”

Hayes cited the 50th anniversary of Earth Day approaching in 2020. A movement like that had to have incredible tailwinds, he said.

“And that begins at universities,” he said.

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability sponsored Hayes' visit, along with other partners. For more GIOS events related to Campus Sustainability Month, click here

Top photo: Earth Day coordinator Denis Hayes speaks about Living Buildings at ASU's new Student Pavilion on Monday evening. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU News

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Cronkite School, Facebook to collaborate on media literacy

Facebook joins Cronkite School to battle misinformation, enhance media literacy.
ASU j-school joins with McClatchy and Facebook to improve engagement with news.
October 3, 2017

The venture will work to battle misinformation and help the public find new ways of engaging with the news

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication today launched News Co/LabPronounce it "collab," like the first half of the word collaboration. , a collaborative lab aimed at helping the public find new ways of understanding and engaging with news and information. News Co/Lab’s initial funder is the Facebook Journalism Project, and McClatchy is its first news media partner.

The Facebook Journalism Project’s support is a direct outgrowth of the “News Literacy Working Group” that convened last March at ASU. The gathering included experts from around the world who seek innovative approaches to fighting misinformation. Dan Gillmor, director and co-founder of News Co/Lab, spearheaded discussions at the ASU-Facebook gathering to focus not only on the “supply side” of the news equation but also the demand side.

“The launch of News Co/Lab at ASU is a great step forward in accelerating the growth of news and media literacy,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships. “We are proud to work with the Cronkite School to establish this important effort to develop and expand innovative tools for news-literacy-friendly newsrooms.”

The lab’s first project, in collaboration with launch partner McClatchy, will help newsrooms work with their communities to develop innovations that increase transparency, engagement, mutual understanding and respect. Three McClatchy newsrooms will participate, with the Kansas City Star as the lead newsroom, and two to be announced later.

“We are delighted to partner with Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and Facebook to develop innovative ways to strengthen news literacy and build trust between citizens and newsrooms,” said Craig Forman, president and chief executive officer of McClatchy. “We know that local news is essential to thriving communities, and the results of this timely and important collaboration will guide not only McClatchy newsrooms, but also serve as a best-practices template for the media industry.”

The lab will be based in the Cronkite School, a national leader in journalism education. Eric Newton, lab co-founder and the school’s innovation chief, will work with Gillmor and other lab staff on projects. Cronkite News, the student-powered news division of Arizona PBS, will be a test bed for lab experiments.

Over time, the lab plans to work with a variety of partners, from educators, librarians and technologists to community groups and newsrooms of different types and sizes.

“The News Co/Lab aims to promote and accelerate the best work already being done, and to try out new ideas that can help in scalable ways,” Gillmor said. “Our long-term goal is to collaborate with anyone who wants to make critical thinking, honest conversation and reliable news part of our information ecosystem in communities of all kinds.”

"We deeply appreciate Facebook and the McClatchy Company for their support in launching News Co/Lab," said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School, university vice provost and Arizona PBS CEO. "The lab fits perfectly with the experimentation, innovation and engagement we practice at Cronkite News."