Still Pioneering: Sustainable Engineering in Arizona

Green Talk

October 6, 2007

by Brad Allenby for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Brad Allenby, Professor at Arizona State UniversityWhen I was younger and in charge of AT&T's Design for Environment program, I once suggested to a Bell Laboratories design team that we create a “sustainable telephone.” We all thought it was a great idea, until someone asked me what one was and how it differed from an “ordinary” telephone. Would it “save the Earth”? Or perhaps “achieve social justice”? That seemed a lot to ask of a simple telephone.

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Urban Heat Island Affects Phoenix All Year-Round

Green Talk

September 22, 2007

by Anthony J. Brazel for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Dr. Anthony Brazel, Professor at Arizona State UniversityThe monsoon may be the most talked-about weather feature of Phoenix in recent days, but another weather-related phenomenon going on in the Valley is in effect 12 months of the year. It's the urban heat island, or UHI, a phenomenon that makes the Phoenix nighttime low temperatures 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than temperatures in rural areas. The reason for an increasing UHI is the growth of Phoenix as we build out farther and farther into the desert valley.

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Outdoor Water Use Strains Resources

September 1, 2007

by Patricia Gober for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Patricia Gober, Professor at Arizona State University and Director of Decision Center for a Desert CityWater is the key resource for growth in a desert city like Phoenix. The Valley is blessed with a diverse portfolio of water sources, including the upland watersheds of the Salt and Verde rivers, the Colorado River Basin and, when surface waters are in short supply, a vast network of underground aquifers.

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Being Smart About Being Green

August 27, 2007

By Philip White
Arizona Republic: Environment

Photo of Philip White, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University Evidence that we each need to be more environmentally responsible surrounds us. Global warming is no longer just “a theory,” and the rate of species extinction increases precipitously as the growing human population expands its pressure on the Earth's resources.

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Alternative Pavements Ease Urban-Heat Effect

Green Talk

August 4, 2007

by Jay Golden and Kamil Kaloush for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Jay Golden, Assistant Professor at Arizona State UniversityPhoto of Kamil Kaloush, Associate Professor at Arizona State UniversityIn rapidly urbanizing regions such as Phoenix, pavements comprise the largest percentage of the developed urban fabric, more so than roofs and open space. During daytime, streets, highways and parking lots absorb and retain short-wave radiation from the sun.

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Monsoon is More than Just an Escape from the Heat

Green Talk

July 21, 2007

by Andrew Ellis for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Dr. Andrew Ellis, Professor at Arizona State UniversityJuly . . . the time of year when Arizonans study the horizon for a break in the monotonous weather pattern of late spring and early summer. After enduring our weather doldrums of May and June, a little hunger for some dramatic weather is expected.

But really, does the monsoon matter?

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A Greener Way to Hydrate

Green Talk

July 6, 2007

by Rod Groff for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Rod Groff, Program Manager at Arizona State UniversitySurviving summer in Phoenix requires near-constant access to beverages and increasingly consumers are choosing non-carbonated drinks, especially bottled water.

According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, U.S. sales of bottled water have spiked from 3.8 billion units sold in 1997 to 279 billion units in 2006. The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) single-use plastic bottles that are most common are frequently littered and have a lower recycling rate at 23% than any of the most common packaging materials according to a February report by the Consumer Recycling Institute (CRI).

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Calculate Your Carbon Footprint and Then Take Steps to Reduce It

Green Talk

June 30, 2007

by Harvey Bryan for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Dr. Harvey Bryan, Professor in School of Architecture and Landscape Architechure and the School of Sustainability, Arizona State UniversityThe subject of global warming is the focus of considerable national and international attention of late. Taking action, however, does not have to be so distant or dependent on governments. There is a lot an individual or household can do, such as measure its “carbon footprint.” This concept was created to measure the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that an activity releases into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming. Once your footprint is calculated, you can make changes to your behavior or lifestyle to reduce that footprint. Carbon footprinting can be undertaken at various scales: the units of measure are usually in pounds or kilograms of CO2 per year for the smaller scale or metric tons of CO2 for the larger scale. Value through the use of offsets has also been placed on CO2. Carbon offsets can be purchased from $6 to $30 per metric ton of CO2 per year from a seller who promises to use that money to neutralize or offset your CO2 emissions.

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ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability: Guiding Arizona's Long-Term Future

June 9, 2007

by Jonathan Fink for the Arizona Republic

Photo of Jonathan Fink, Julie Ann Wrigley Director of the Global Institute of Sustainability and University Sustainability Officer at Arizona State UniversityArizona is a state built on optimism – a welcoming land of dazzling landscapes, abundant sunshine, and seemingly limitless economic opportunity.

But lately there is a growing unease among our citizens, concern that the bounty that drew us here might be running out. The decade-long drought might turn into a 1930s-style Dust Bowl. The choking “brown cloud” of air pollution might never lift. Night-time temperatures might pass the century mark and keep on rising. Freeway construction might never relieve the growing load of traffic.

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