School of Sustainability News

Leaders discuss Arizona’s new energy plan at Solar Summit

February 24, 2014

solar-summit-keynote-william-harrisPolicy leaders, industry partners and energy experts gathered at ASU SkySong Feb. 20 to discuss the future of solar energy in Arizona at Arizona Solar Summit IV. The event featured the first public unveiling of the state’s new master energy plan, “emPOWER Arizona: Executive Energy Assessment and Pathways.” Gov. Jan Brewer signed the executive order on Feb. 18, making it the state’s first comprehensive energy plan in more than 20 years.

The Arizona Solar Summit – hosted by Arizona State University LightWorks, ASU SkySong and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and sponsored by NRG – provided the first opportunity for the public to learn about the master plan. Leisa Brug, Brewer’s energy policy advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, led a panel discussion on the plan and its goals. Brug said that Arizona is already ahead of other states in terms of energy policy, and the new master plan will help the state continue to be a national leader in the field.

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OKED leader has sunny outlook on sustainable energy in Arizona

February 20, 2014

office-knowledge-enterprise-development-sethuraman-panch-panchanathanSethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan discusses energy research in his latest column in The Arizona Republic. Panchanathan is the senior vice president for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

Panchanathan describes the importance of developing and advancing sustainable and affordable sources of energy. He provides examples of how ASU researchers are working in related areas, such as renewable fuels from algae and cyanobacteria, solar panels and photovoltaics, as well as the work happening with policymakers to ensure that our legal, social and economic systems can support renewable energy solutions.

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ASU panel finds common ground on climate change

February 19, 2014

climate-change-rescuing-policy-panelBuilding a more functional conversation among researchers, policymakers, citizens and industrial leaders is critical to address the global challenge of climate change, argued panelists at the “Rescuing Climate Policy” panel at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability on Feb. 5. Kristen Hwang, a journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, reported on the panel for Slate magazine’s Future Tense channel.

At the event, panelists argued that to prevent environmental wars and global unrest, the international community needs to work together to aggressively combat climate change and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

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Sun Devil Fans Eliminate Trash in 2OT Victory Over No. 2 Wildcats

February 18, 2014

By Lindsay Gaesser, SDA Media Relations

sun-devil-basketball-zero-wasteTEMPE, Ariz.—The Arizona State men’s basketball team wasted no effort in its double-overtime win against in-state rival Arizona on Feb. 14, and neither did the fans.  As a part of Sun Devil Athletics’ Zero Waste Initiative, a bipartisan crowd of 10,754 at Wells Fargo Arena achieved a waste diversion rate of 87 percent.

The Territorial Cup® matchup created 656 pounds and 708 pounds of recycled and compostable materials, respectively, while just 197 pounds of trash was sent to the landfill. Arizona State is reporting the rate as a part of the RecycleMania Game Day Basketball Challenge.

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Artificial leaf jumps developmental hurdle

February 18, 2014

Photo by: Michael Hagelberg

Photo by: Michael Hagelberg

In a recent early online edition of Nature Chemistry, ASU scientists, along with colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory, have reported advances toward perfecting a functional artificial leaf.

Designing an artificial leaf that uses solar energy to convert water cheaply and efficiently into hydrogen and oxygen is one of the goals of BISfuel – the Energy Frontier Research Center, funded by the Department of Energy, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University.

Hydrogen is an important fuel in itself and serves as an indispensible reagent for the production of light hydrocarbon fuels from heavy petroleum feed stocks. Society requires a renewable source of fuel that is widely distributed, abundant, inexpensive and environmentally clean.

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Resilience, Sustainability, and Social Justice

Thought Leader Series

February 17, 2014

A Thought Leader Series Piece

By David Eisenman

Note: February 20, 2014, is the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice. The goal of the observance is to remove barriers people face due to gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability. Dr. David Eisenman’s expertise is in public health and disasters.

In their book, “Resilience – Why Things Bounce Back,” authors Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy argue that it’s time for sustainability to move over and make room for resilience.

Suddenly it seems to me that the whole world is talking about sustainability and resilience. In the field of disasters – my field – both are important concepts, complementary to each other and worthy of action and resources.

But frequently missing from the discussion is one of the most important determinants of sustainability and resilience – social justice. Social justice is central to both.

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Wu delivers keynote at socio-environmental synthesis workshop

February 17, 2014

Sustainability scientist Jianguo Wu delivered a keynote presentation at a Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop, hosted in Annapolis, Md., by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in January.

The themes of the event, “Cities in Sustainable Resource Management” and “Surprise in Human Adaptation to Environmental Change,” were selected as examples of dynamic, complex socio-environmental problems that require the collaboration of disparate fields—from urban planning to oceanography and data science to human psychology—to begin to solve.

Dr. Wu is a Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science, and his research areas include landscape ecology, urban ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and sustainability science.



New Policy Immersion Program in Phoenix

February 17, 2014

SOTL-Phoenix[1]ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes has added a new location for its popular Science Outside the Lab program that began in Washington DC more than a decade ago. The event will be held Monday, May 19 through Friday, May 23, 2014. Applications are due by March 15.

The program introduces students to the relationships among science, technology and innovation policies, and the societal outcomes in places where important decisions are made. During the new one-week workshop—now offered in Phoenix—students meet and interact with decision makers who fund, regulate, and shape innovation and critique, publicize and study science, including patent attorneys, insurers, venture capitalists, city and state officials, lobbyists, consultants, regulators, journalists, and others.

Science Outside the Lab
The long-running Washington, DC science policy immersion program returns for the Summer of 2014. Graduate students in science and engineering who are interested in how decisions about science and innovation funding, regulation and policy are made will benefit from this program. Students with an interest in careers in science policy will also find this to be an excellent opportunity to learn about important fellowships and meet current science and innovation policy professionals.



Adapting to Climate Change in Nepal

February 17, 2014

netra.chhetriSustainability scientist Netra Chhetri leads an interdisciplinary team of scholars and practitioners working on a project in western Nepal to help farmers adapt effectively to climatic change. The team includes representatives from ASU, University of Hawaii, Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (a Nepali NGO), Regional Directorates of the Department of Livestock Services, Western Region, and the Regional Agriculture Research Station, Lumle (agricultural and livestock research and extension agencies of the Government of Nepal), and Agriculture and Forest University (a Nepali university).

Chhetri’s three-year project, Adaptive Pathways to Climate Change (APaCC): Livestock and Livelihood Systems in Gandaki River Basin, examines the adaptive capacity of farmers and livestock keepers vulnerable to climate and other livelihood stressors, and links this understanding to locally relevant climate adaptation methods in the Gandaki River Basin. His research advances understanding of how a society’s adaptive capacity to climate variability and change is shaped by the geographical region’s social, political, institutional and biophysical contexts. He commented, “We believe that carefully generated and user-driven knowledge enhances the capacity of farmers to adapt to the threat posed by climate and other ongoing changes.”



Solar energy leaders come together for 4th Arizona Solar Summit

February 17, 2014

azsolarsummitiv_feb20The Arizona Solar Summit brings together people and organizations to advance the solar industry on both the regional and national levels, creating a network to propel Arizona to national prominence in the industry.

The fourth annual Arizona Solar Summit, part of the 2014 Sustainability Solutions Festival, will focus on introducing innovative policies, programs and technologies that are critical to reshaping Arizona’s energy markets.

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Student finds her place at ASU, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives

February 17, 2014

lishewski_headshot[1]Ask Isabelle Lishewski what her favorite part of being a student at Arizona State University is and pat comes the reply, “Telling my Sun Devil story to a group of high school students and their families while walking backwards during a campus tour.”

The Toledo, Ohio native considers her Sun Devil story nothing short of a serendipitous journey thus far.

As a student worker at the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, Lishewski has been a participant, as well as witness to the hard work that has gone into organizing the first-ever Sustainability Solutions Festival. The event is one of WSSI’s eight programs designed to support sustainability research, develop solutions, build a global sustainability network, and groom the next generation of sustainability leaders.

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Archaeologists lend long-term perspective to food security and climate shock

February 17, 2014

food-security-climate-shock-archaeologist-peggy-nelsonWhat role does pre-existing vulnerability play for people who experience a climate shock? Does it amplify the effect of the climate shock, or is the effect negligible?

Four Arizona State University archaeologists are looking into this as part of an international team examining how people can be most resilient to climate change when it comes to food security.

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What ecosystem greeted the first settlers of the northern Caribbean?

February 13, 2014

Photo by: Nancy Albury

Photo by: Nancy Albury

Assembling a picture of past environments always involves detective work. The reward is a clearer understanding of how natural and human forces have changed environments in the past, giving insights to how modern-day environmental changes take place.

Working with especially elusive evidence, Janet Franklin, ASU professor of geography, is participating in an effort to understand the profound changes in plant and animal life that occurred on the oceanic islands of the West Indies since the end of the last ice age.

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ASU releases 2013 report on sustainability initiatives

February 12, 2014

Photo by: CFO Visual Communications

Photo by: CFO Visual Communications

The recently released 2013 Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund (SIRF) annual report chronicles $5.6 million in investments that support Arizona State University.

The investments included seven energy conservation projects and six student and campus-oriented projects at ASU. From lighting retrofits, to specialized recycling bins, to an urban garden at the Downtown Phoenix campus, SIRF funds thrive in some surprising places.

In addition to project details and descriptions of all SIRF projects financed in 2013, the report includes three Q-and-A interviews with ASU SIRF fund recipients who have put their sustainability ideas into action.

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ASU Health Services Building awarded LEED platinum

February 11, 2014

Photo by: Bill Timmerman

Photo by: Bill Timmerman

The Health Services Building on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus has earned a LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Health Services is the second ASU building to receive a platinum certification, which is the highest USGBC green building ranking under its LEED (Leadership in Excellence in Environmental Design) program. The Health Services Building is also the 38th ASU building to be LEED certified.

The Health Services Building underwent a major renovation and expansion that was completed in March 2012 by ASU’s Facilities Development and Management unit.

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Research reveals effectiveness of urban heat-reducing technologies

February 10, 2014

heatbubble.still002Life in a warming world is going to require human ingenuity to adapt to the new realities of Earth. Greenhouse-gas-induced warming and megapolitan expansion are both significant drivers of our warming planet. Researchers are now assessing adaptation technologies that could help us acclimate to these changing realities.

But how well these adaptation technologies – such as cool roofs, green roofs and hybrids of the two – perform year-round, and how this performance varies with place remain uncertain.

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ASU engineers to lead national solar energy technology projects

February 10, 2014

goodnick-holmanArizona State University engineers will lead two multi-university/industry research teams in support of a new U.S. Department of Energy program to develop technologies that use the full spectrum of sunlight to produce inexpensive power during both day and night.

The department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) recently announced allocation of $30 million in funding for 12 projects selected to conduct research for its Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program.

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ASU report contributes to water reuse policy dialogue

February 6, 2014

DCDC_WaterReuse_Final_225In an attempt to inform policy conversations around wastewater use in Arizona, Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) this week released a new technical report. The report, Water Reuse in Central Arizona was authored by Ariane Middel, Ray Quay, and Dave White and explores issues critical to water reuse, along with challenges and opportunities for the future.

Covering topics including existing and projected wastewater supply and demand, potential for increased competition and costs, the role of public perceptions, and industrial perspectives, the report highlights issues vital to the water sustainability of Arizona and presents a framework to address public policy issues.

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ASU hosts first GreenBiz U Forum

February 6, 2014

ASU community invited to learn current sustainability business trends

green-biz-u-simulcast-20140218For the first time, the annual GreenBiz Forum, a hallmark conference hosted by GreenBiz Group, is coming to Arizona State University as a shadow conference for students, faculty and staff, called GreenBiz U. Presentations at GreenBiz Forum, set to take place Feb. 18-20 in Scottsdale, will be simulcast for free on ASU’s Tempe campus during GreenBiz U.

GreenBiz Forum, which happens twice a year in various locations around the country, provides an in-depth look at today’s sustainable business challenges and opportunities.

“GreenBiz Forum brings together sustainability leaders from the world’s biggest corporations to discuss key trends and best practices,” says Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group. “We’re excited to bring this wealth of insight and inspiration to the larger ASU community, which includes tomorrow’s business leaders.”

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Bicycle Program Manager Joins Parking and Transit Services

February 6, 2014

New position created to encourage, facilitate cycling on and off campus

Bikes_4524

Arizona State University Parking and Transit Services announces Donna Lewandowski has been hired to serve as Bicycle Program Manager. Lewandowski, who is the first to work in this newly created post, begins her job duties on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014.

Lewandowski’s primary responsibilities will be to develop, implement and maintain programs and activities that encourage bicycle usage on and off campus. She will be the lead liaison in connecting bike commuters with services that can help them maintain their bikes and stay safe on the roads. Lewandowski will also assist cyclists with incorporating other modes of transportation that contribute to ASU sustainability goals into their daily commutes.

Lewandowski comes to ASU from Tucson Medical Center, where she served as a community outreach specialist since last March. She coordinated Safe Kids Pima County, a diverse community coalition for childhood injury prevention. Her duties included planning and executing community safety events aimed at children’s and women’s health, as well as developing grant application, fundraising and marketing materials for the Safe Kids coalition.

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Established in 2006, the School of Sustainability’s mission is to educate a new generation of scholars and practitioners and create innovative modes of scholarship by bringing together leaders, stakeholders, and people from multiple disciplines to develop practical solutions to the most pressing sustainability challenges.

 

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