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ASU’s Metis Center awards top sustainability projects across the Valley

July 05, 2019

Arizona State University’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering recently named the first Sustainable Infrastructure Award winners. 

Seven projects that demonstrate cutting-edge infrastructure practices were honored. Each project, submitted by Phoenix-area infrastructure professionals in public, private, nonprofit and academic institutions, provides sustainable solutions to address environmental, social or emerging technology challenges, or changes in the growing complex environments where infrastructure operates. 

“We're delighted to showcase the leadership of the Phoenix community around sustainable infrastructure,” said Mikhail Chester, director of the Metis Center and an associate professor in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. “Our rapid growth and unique climate challenges result in innovation that should be recognized.”  

The Metis Center combines research, teaching, outreach and public service to learn how engineered and built systems are integrated with natural and human systems. The selected projects exemplify how Valley-area infrastructure experts are sustainably adapting to rapidly changing environments.

Nomination packages were reviewed by Metis Center faculty members from ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, The Polytechnic School – two of the six schools in the Fulton Schools of Engineering – and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society

The 2019 Sustainable Infrastructure Award winners are:

Arizona Department of Transportation: Laguna Creek Bridge Scour Remediation — ADOT used cutting-edge data collection and modeling to engineer sustainability and resilience into a highway bridge project that used dikes to address erosion from a meandering creek on the Navajo Nation.

AZTECEngineering Group Inc: PVGRAd — AZTEC Engineering developed a unique and proprietary simulation software called PVGRAd to design ground-based solar power systems by optimizing grading and steel costs.

Banner Health, Facilities Operations: Remote Operations Center — Banner Health drew on lessons learned from establishing a centralized Remote Operations Center to drive an enterprise-level energy program with an operational focus on achieving and sustaining energy savings at Banner Health facilities.

Hunter Contracting: MAR 5 and Gila River Interpretive Trail — As part of an ongoing effort to restore a healthy underground aquifer at the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR-5) site, Hunter Contracting constructed a 1-mile walking trail known as the Gila River Interpretive Trail, which allows for ample space for community activities and celebration, guided tours and leaves areas for native plant growth intact for the Gila River Indian Community and visitors.

SDB Contracting Services: ASU – PTS Vehicle Charging Stations — SDB Contracting Services installed more than 20 Chargepoint Level II Dual-Port charging stations at parking structures on Tempe, Polytechnic, West and Downtown Phoenix campuses, allowing for energy-efficient and reliable charging options for a wide range of electrical vehicles. The new stations also facilitate the addition of future stations without significant cost.

Stacy and Witbeck Inc./Sundt, a Joint Venture: Gilbert Road Light Rail Extension — The 1.9-mile Gilbert Road Light Rail project in Mesa, Arizona, consists of two stations, a park-and-ride and the nation’s first four-way roundabout across light rail tracks. The $184 million project will provide the ability to draw more light rail passengers from the East Valley and bring greater development opportunities to central Mesa.

Valley Metro: 50th Street/Washington Station — Valley Metro’s 50th Street/Washington Station — the first light rail project funded entirely by the City of Phoenix Transportation 2050 funds — benefits the community by providing transportation options to more passengers and supporting Ability360 goals, benefits the economy by increasing access to 55 businesses in the nearby industrial park, and benefits the environment by providing access to a shared transportation option that mitigates heat and promotes regional air quality.

To learn more about the 2019 Sustainable Infrastructure Award winning projects, visit

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