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October 10, 2016

A new way to fund highly efficient buildings provides the resources for two of ASU's newest buildings

As the new Student Pavilion rises on ASU’s Tempe campus, much is being touted about its green qualities. “Net zero energy,” “zero waste’” and “90 percent project diversion,” proclaim fabric posters on the fence surrounding the construction site. 

The building is designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum ranking, the highest ranking of efficiency by the U.S. Green Building Council. It also will be ASU’s first “net zero energy building,” meaning it will use no more energy than can be produced on site annually. 

But there is another side to the greening of new building construction at ASU.

The bonds used to fund the construction of the Student Pavilion and the Biodesign C building are “green bonds.” These bonds are a relatively new finance instrument that allows investors to invest directly in projects identified as promoting environmental sustainability on ASU’s campuses, said Joanne Wamsley, vice president of finance and deputy treasurer.  

This is the second time green bonds have been used to fund ASU building construction. The first, in 2015, provided the funding for the Beus Center for Law and Society, the new building on the downtown campus that houses the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and other organizations. 

Wamsley said ASU’s green bonds have enjoyed strong investor interest from insurance companies, investment companies and individual investors.  

“These bonds call attention to our on campus sustainability efforts,” Wamsley explained. “They show that sustainability is a core value of the university.”

For the Student Pavilion, to be a net zero energy building means it will showcase the university’s goals for carbon neutrality and sustainable systems, Wamsley said. 

The Student Pavilion will be a 74,650-square-foot student-centric facility. On the first floor of the building will be event space for up to 1,200 people, which can be reconfigured into three smaller spaces. The second floor will include space for student government and student organizations, and the third floor will include classrooms and house other academic functions.

construction on ASU building
The new 74,650-square-foot Student Pavilion, rising on the Tempe campus just northeast of the Memorial Union, will provide new event space, office space for student government and student organizations, and classrooms. The goal for the structure is to be a net zero energy building and be certified LEED Platinum. Construction began in March and is expected to be completed next August. Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

 

Green features of the building include:

  • Water efficiency achieved through water-efficient landscaping, bioswales — landscaping features used to collect and filter stormwater — for landscape irrigation and purple pipe installation for future interior reclaimed-water use.
  • Energy and atmosphere strategies including implementation of full rooftop photovoltaic solar cells, high-efficiency HVAC system, chilled beams and a high-performance building exterior.
  • Materials and resources, including use of recycled and regionally sourced materials and a 90-percent-plus construction waste diversion from landfills.
  • Indoor environmental quality will be achieved using low-emitting materials, LED energy-efficient lighting, interior day lighting and solar tubes to draw in natural daylight.

The Biodesign C building, which recently began excavation just east of the Biodesign complex, will be a multi-functional research building that will add about 188,000 square feet of space. It will include a mix of wet and dry lab space, lab casework and research support space. The five-story-plus-basement building will promote research “neighborhoods” that foster collaborative research and maximize opportunities to advance ASU research.

Green features of Biodesign C include:

  • Water efficiency achieved through design measures to reduce water usage of laboratory equipment, as well as the indirect water usage associated with building cooling.
  • Energy and atmosphere strategies like advanced HVAC and energy-recovery systems designed to optimize energy performance, chilled beams and a high-performance building exterior.
  • Indoor environmental quality will be achieved through use of low-emitting materials, high-performance laboratory fume hoods and energy-efficient lighting with daylight and occupancy controls.

The building is being designed to meet, at a minimum, LEED Silver certification.

In all, Wamsley said the recent green bond sale to fund these buildings provided about $160 million, making both buildings 100 percent funded through the green bond sale.

Associate Director , Media Relations & Strategic Communications

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ASU alum fashions a new path

ASU alumnus has designs on the fashion world — and on @PHXFashionWeek.
October 10, 2016

Mechanical engineer finds inspiration in design, Native American culture; will show his collection at Phoenix Fashion Week

There’s really not a polite way to say this — Loren Aragon’s house is a mess.

Not far from the entrance there are several racks of handmade garments, raw fabrics and dress forms. Sewing machines, pattern paper, thread, pincushions, measuring devices, cutting tools and two draft tables dominate what was once the dining and living areas. 

His Maricopa residence has been this way for the past year.

That’s about the time he decided to turn his fashion-design hobby into a full-time vocation.

Which might come as a surprise: The Arizona State University alumnus received his degree in mechanical engineering in 2004, but the call of the creative drew him back to the arts.

“My study and practice as a mechanical engineer further fuels my artistic passion and abilities as an artist,” said Aragon, who is from the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Sixty miles west of Albuquerque, the pueblo is known for its pottery and long ancestral line of artists.

“My work is a result of a combination of my artistic vision and technological discipline.”

In June, Aragon was one of 15 artists selected by Phoenix Fashion Week to attend its Emerging Designer Bootcamp. Over a four-month period, he learned the ins and outs of the fashion business, including branding, messaging, margins, profits, team building and public relations.

“We have about 40 different things we teach them in those four months, and then they are tested in real time,” said Brian Hill, executive director of Phoenix Fashion Week. “Loren has great designs, which is the baseline for everything.”

This week Aragon will unveil his spring/summer 2017 collection at the Talking Stick Resort in the East Valley, where hundreds of retailers and an estimated 6,000 people will see a dozen of his new designs. Fashion Week takes place Oct. 13-15.

Aragon’s company is called ACONAV, which represents the Acoma and Navajo tribes. The latter is in tribute to his wife and business partner, Valentina, who hails from the Navajo Nation.

The brand’s mission is to represent part of the Native American culture in high-end fashion, with the idea of evoking the empowerment of the female spirit. Their work is resonating with many in the fashion world.

“ACONAV clothing is beyond description and is different from anything else out there,” said Taté Walker, editor of Phoenix-based Native Peoples Magazine. “The passion, the care and culture infused within each piece are prevalent in every stitch.”

Two years ago Aragon and his wife left good-paying corporate jobs to devote their full-time efforts to ACONAV.

“There’s a lot of 20-hour days and all-nighters,” said Valentina, who runs the business-operations side while her husband is the creative force. “We haven’t hosted any dinner parties in a while because there’s nowhere to sit.”

That devotion caught the attention of Hill, who has become one of Aragon’s biggest cheerleaders.

“He’s all in,” Hill said of Aragon. “Loren should be doing this full-time because he’s that talented. He’s bright, focused and he has the talent to get to the top.”

Aragon has spent the past two decades trying to get to the top. In high school and college he started a greeting-card company, designing one-off cards and selling them at craft shows for pocket money and tuition. He was also gifted mechanically and pursued an ASU degree in mechanical engineering.

His artistic side was pushed aside for several years as he pursued a successful career testing vehicles and designing military seats and training weapons — pushed aside, that is, until an August 2008 visit to the Santa Fe Indian Market. He was amazed by the amount of contemporary Native American art for sale and sensed a movement was afoot.

“Native American art is traditionally basket weaving, rugs, pottery and silversmith jewelry,” Aragon said. “When I walked around I discovered graphics, painting, photography and sculpture. People were taking their culture and putting it on their art in a lot of different ways. I wanted to find a way to do that, too.”

Aragon was inspired by that visit and renewed his dedication to his once-dormant company. He branched out into illustration, jewelry and sculpting, and he even created a line of street wear. That eventually morphed into women’s couture evening wear when he created a traditional dress with a modern twist.

The polychrome-patterned dress, which he still keeps at home and loans out for special occasions, won first place at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 2013. Since then, orders for his work steadily came in through street fairs, trade shows and his website.

Most of Aragon’s collections display the influences of the pottery designs of the Acoma people with traditional elements as highlights to modern looks. He uses mostly high-end silks and cotton sateens because “they give off a symbol of elegance.”

Aragon hopes Phoenix Fashion Week will be the launching pad for brand success, as each piece of clothing is “an extension of my life, love, creativity and prayers.”

His hope is to eventually have a brick-and-mortar store with a studio, where patrons can buy made-to-order bridal wear, evening attire and cocktail dresses.

Valentina says that idea is appealing on many levels.

“I’d like to host a dinner party again in my lifetime,” she said. “For once I’d like to wake up and not see a dress form or rack of clothes in my entryway.”

 

 

Phoenix Fashion Week

What: A series of runway shows at the leading fashion-industry event in the Southwest.

When: Oct. 13-15. The ACONAV show will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15.

Where: Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way, Salt River Reservation (near Scottsdale).

Details: phoenixfashionweek.com.

 

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Reporter , ASU Now

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