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ASU 'LEEDs' the way: Green buildings shape university's vision

July 30, 2021

Arizona State University earns more recognition for sustainable construction that positively affects Sun Devils for years to come

ASU Sun Devil Stadium recently earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizing sustainable buildings and communities. The USGBC LEED rating system assesses the sustainability of structures based on their construction, design, maintenance and operations.

Buildings earn one of four ratings: LEED-certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold and LEED Platinum. In 2007, Biodesign Institute Building B was Arizona’s first-ever LEED Platinum rating, the highest level awarded.

ASU 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.

“LEED buildings provide a host of environmental benefits, from energy and water savings to reduced waste and maintenance,” said Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. “ASU’s environmental commitment ensures that Sun Devil community members will enjoy a built environment that is responsive to concerns about energy use, carbon footprint, waste reduction and other environmental concerns for years to come.”

Sustainable design principles such as LEED will help ensure that ASU continues to evolve into a unique hub for people to learn, live, work and play.

Stadium’s golden distinction

Several sustainable design considerations helped earn the 55,000-seat Sun Devil Stadium its LEED Gold certification. Fans enter the stadium via staircases that follow the contours of the adjacent butte and blend with the landscape, while strategically placed trees provide shade. Designers used native, low-water-use plants that help filter water runoff during rain. Parts of the stadium near the adjoining buttes offer scenic views and allow prevailing winds to cool the stadium.

The original concrete superstructure columns and beams support parts of the existing seating bowl. Contractors also 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 total materials used were made with recycled content, and more than 14% of the building’s materials were produced and extracted within 500 miles of the stadium.

Sun Devil Stadium now has more bicycle parking and remains easily accessible via Valley Metro buses, neighborhood circulator shuttles and light rail. These sustainable transportation efforts will enable fans to reduce game day automobile pollution.

Novus neighborhood gold

Sun Devil Stadium visitors find themselves in the heart of the Novus Innovation Corridor, a more than 10-million-square-foot development of sustainable offices, residences, retail stores and hospitality planned across 355 acres. Novus is a public-private partnership between ASU and the Catellus Development Corporation.

The Novus Innovation Corridor recently made Arizona history by earning the state's first-ever LEED-ND Gold certification. The LEED Neighborhood Development certification recognizes larger, community-based development that comprises green homes and commercial buildings for the greater community. 

“LEED certification has always been core to the development of Novus,” said John Creer, ASU vice president of real estate development. “ASU has a strong sustainability commitment; thus, we wanted the Novus design guidelines to embrace sustainable building practices that would earn LEED certification.”

The Novus Innovation Corridor is among the top 10 best-scoring LEED-ND projects ever and has also won several awards this year:

The Novus Innovation Corridor and Sun Devil Stadium join other ASU projects that achieved LEED certification during 2020. A reinvented Hayden Library, a STEM high school, the Beus Center (housing ASU’s renowned law school) and Greek Leadership Village (a collaborative Greek life community) will help learners of all ages fulfill their educational goals.

Hayden Library

Hayden reinvention scores platinum

In the heart of the Tempe campus, the Hayden Library reinvention project earned the university’s most recent LEED-Platinum certification.

The $90-million renovation lasted nearly two years. Hayden was built in 1966 and received a modern facelift with technology upgrades, and almost 50,000 square feet were added to support ASU’s busiest library. The building’s energy-efficiency features include:

In addition to its energy-efficiency attributes and LEED Platinum status, the Hayden Library has also received awards from AZRE magazine and the American Institute of Architects:

LEED across the enterprise

While the Hayden Library reinvention and Sun Devil Stadium are the most identifiable Tempe campus destinations, other university buildings scored LEED certifications for sustainable design.

The ASU Preparatory Academy STEM High School, which earned LEED Silver, includes two buildings on the ASU Polytechnic campus. It provides two wet labs, 10 classrooms and a makerspace to prepare students for college entry and graduation.

The Beus Center for Law and Society houses a top-ranked law program in a LEED Gold-certified building on the Downtown Phoenix campus. The building’s energy-efficient features include a comprehensive LED lighting system with daylighting and occupancy controls. The high-efficiency HVAC system uses chilled beams and AIRFLOOR cooling that battles the peak summer temperatures. The building’s sandstone facade and double- and triple-paned windows additionally reduce solar heat gain.

The LEED Silver Greek Leadership Village on the Tempe campus houses fraternity and sorority life with 27 connected chapter townhomes that allow individual house identity while fostering community. The village also boasts a 33,000-square-foot center with street-level retail and 450-person event space.

As ASU continues its commitment to construct more LEED-certified buildings that serve a host of occupants, it underscores the university as a sustainability leader, inspiring other institutions to follow its lead.

A variety of current and future campus visitors and students will benefit from these sustainable structures for decades to come and made possible by the insight of architects, ASU Facilities Development and Management, University Sustainability Practices, construction companies and developers.

Learn more about ASU’s past, current and future construction projects and follow Facilities Development and Management on Twitter at @ASUfacilities.

Written by Nathan Cushing, editor associate, ASU Business and Finance Communications Group.

Top photo: ASU's Novus Innovation Corridor. 

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July 30, 2021

The de Castro Lopes Francisco quadruplets are primed to take ASU by storm this fall

If three is a crowd, four is likely to be a bit overwhelming at times. Fraternal quadruplets Felipe, Jeremias, Matheus and Victor de Castro Lopes Francisco would probably agree. Growing up, the brothers had their share of sibling squabbles — on and off the soccer field.

But when they made the move from their native country of Brazil to Chandler, Arizona, at the age of 13, they felt lucky to have each other. Whether they were missing friends and family back home or struggling to adapt to their new surroundings — which also meant mastering a new language fast enough to keep up at school — they knew they could lean on one another.

This fall, that will still be true when all four embark on the next chapter of their academic journeys at Arizona State University. Jeremias, Matheus and Victor are all direct admits to the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Felipe will be pursuing a degree in civil engineering at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated with different buildings, roads and architecture,” Felipe said about his decision to be the odd one out. All of them, though, are looking forward to meeting new people, making friends and enjoying all that the college experience has to offer.

“Our cousin went to ASU and she loved it,” Victor said. “She told us about it so we wanted to learn more, and we really like everything about it: the campus, the programs and the diversity of people.”

“It’s also close to home and it is one of the greatest universities for preparing students for employment,” Matheus added.

As children in São Paulo, the brothers sometimes fought over shared birthday gifts or bristled at being mistaken for one another. But over the years, they learned to value their unique closeness, even when they had disagreements.

“Sometimes we fight, like any other siblings, but we got along pretty well,” Jeremias said. “Our fights are more like discussions.”

When the quadruplets moved to Arizona in December 2016, they spoke only Portuguese. Once they enrolled in Chandler High School, the race was on to learn English. It’s fair to say they succeeded, and with flying colors: Both Felipe and Matheus participated in the National Honor Society and all four rarely received anything but A's, a feat that was rewarded when each received a New American University Scholarship to attend ASU.

As first-generation college students, it’s not something they take lightly.

“My parents were very happy that we got into ASU because they always wanted us to pursue college,” Felipe said. “They were thrilled to hear that all of us got into ASU.”

While Felipe will be spending most of his time on ASU’s Tempe campus, studying to fulfill his dream of one day contributing to a stronger, more innovative American infrastructure, Victor, Matheus and Jeremias will be putting their noses to the grindstone at the Downtown Phoenix campus, indulging their shared desire to help people by pursuing careers in the health care field — and engaging in a little friendly competition every now and then.

“We brothers are always striving to outperform one another to be the best,” Matheus said. “But it’s enjoyable because we have each other’s backs and support one another’s decisions.”

Top photo: The de Castro Lopes Francisco quadruplets, (left to right) Felipe, Jeremias, Matheus and (seated) Victor. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News