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ASU team spreads green spirit at Greenbuild expo

November 24, 2009

A team of ASU students, faculty and staff displayed the university's green spirit at the 2009 Greenbuild Expo that took place Nov. 11-13 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The effort to provide an exhibit for the event resulted in a forest of "power plants," raving reviews and the honor of being named a Greenbuild Leadership level exhibitor.

The exhibit was developed by a team of five ASU faculty members - Darren Petrucci, director of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, architecture professors Jason Griffiths and Harvey Bryan and architecture faculty associate Phillip Horton, along with architecture faculty associate and Landscape Architecture professor Joseph Ewan. A team of five students led by Adam Tate, refined the design and constructed the trees.

ASU's 10-by-20 foot booth featured 14 steel "power plants" and one table, which incorporated several of the university's disciplines and programs, including engineering, construction, science and math, sustainability, design and multimedia. All of the construction was done in the school's shop.

"Each tree is a mini-environmental system and was designed to represent several aspects of sustainable research at the university," says Jason Griffiths, the assistant professor in ASU's Herberger Institute School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. "The tree provides a narrative on how all of the disciplines are interlinked and how these components function together."

The 8-foot trees were topped by a solar panel generating electricity and were fed by an IV (intravenous) drip bag filled with liquid nutrients. An LCD monitor touting ASU's sustainability projects also provided ambient sound effects that created a "natural" audio environment. The "blue elf" plants (produced in eco-friendly fashion) were donated.

"When it comes to sustainability, ASU has so many great stories to tell," says Erik Holsinger, who heads up the video production for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "Our booth videos highlight many real-world examples of ASU projects that have created positive change, both locally and around the world."

Promoting renewable energy sources, as well as low-environmental impact travel, approximately 20 architecture students helped transport the "power plants" on Valley Metro's light rail system.