Old ASU building transformed into Global Institute of Sustainability

Tempe, Ariz. It is fitting that Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability, the first degree-granting institution of its kind in the United States, should be housed in a sustainable facility. The renovation of ASU's former nursing building into a sustainable facility primarily focused on upgrading the fire, life safety, HVAC and lighting systems; asbestos

Tempe, Ariz. — It is fitting that Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability, the first degree-granting institution of its kind in the United States, should be housed in a sustainable facility.

The renovation of ASU's former nursing building into a sustainable facility primarily focused on upgrading the fire, life safety, HVAC and lighting systems; asbestos abatement; and making the elevators, stairways and restrooms ADA compliant. However, university officials envisioned even more sustainable improvements for the building, so when an additional $3 million became available from ASU's capital budget, architects from Lord, Aeck & Sargent and Gould Evans Associates collaborated to make the building sustainable inside and out — as visible proof of the institute's mission.

Among the Institute's energy conservation strategies, water-saving strategies were a main focus for the design team, which specified waterless urinals, low-flow toilets, timer-based faucets and automatically monitored landscaping irrigation. Storm water runoff is controlled by pervious paving surrounding the site. The renovated, 48,806-sq.ft. building is anticipated to save 18.7% on energy use and 50.3% on water use compared with the original building's baseline usage.

“ASU officials had a vision for salvaging the old nursing building, which is located at a prominent intersection on Cady Mall, the main north-south walkway on the Tempe campus,” said Elba St. Romain, a Lord, Aeck & Sargent architect who served as project manager for the renovation. “Their vision set the tone for the design team's decisions. Our team was tasked with finding the right balance of upgrades that would give the building a visible educational component, make it energy and water efficient, and give ASU the most bang for its buck.”

The most visible energy efficient component of the building is a renewable energy source: six wind turbines mounted on the roof's eastern edge and powered by thermal updrafts. Each turbine works 24 hours daily and, when the wind blows, provides 1,000 watts of power to the Arizona public service grid.

Still to be added to the roof next year is a 24-kW photovoltaic solar array, which is a part of ASU's plan to install solar cells on the rooftops of campus buildings, eventually providing 7.4 megawatts of power to its Tempe campus, which will be the largest such array in the United States.

The facility has five floors and houses administrative, admissions, private faculty and graduate student offices, conference rooms, open areas, classrooms and research labs. The institute is pursuing Silver LEED certification for the facility from the U.S. Green Building Council.