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Sustainable, smart stadium coming to ASU in 2018

Innovations in sustainability and technology are about to enhance the fan experience at ASU Sun Devil Stadium

on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

ASU sports fans have a lot to look forward to for the fall 2018 season with the opening of the newly renovated Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. 

In partnership with both Intel and the ASU Zero Waste Department, new technology and sustainability innovations will make way for an a redesigned fan experience.

Alana Levine, assistant director of Arizona Recycling Coalition and creator of ASU's Zero Waste Initiative said she hopes to bring a sustainable and convenient system to the stadium, helping fans keep the games waste free.

Levine said fans and spectators alike can expect to minimize their environmental impact while partaking in typical game day rituals like buying concessions.

“We’ve really invested in the fan experience around zero waste, probably the most visible thing is all the new bins in the stadium,"  Levine said. "These bins only accept recycling and organics, you won’t see regular trash cans in the stadium."

Not only will the stadium adopt composting as a way to avoid waste, but concessions and product packaging also play a big role in keeping the stadium green.

“What we do to make this possible is that we tailor all of the products that are sold in the stadium to fit into the two streams of disposal available at the venue," Levine said. "Predominantly these packages are paper products.”

Levine also said the stadium uses a reusable souvenir cup to cut back even further into their own paper products. They offer free drink refills to fans who purchase the reusable container. 

Contributions to the Sun Devil Stadium Reinvention project came from departments all over the University, including from the athletic department and their assistant director Kate Janczewski.

“It’s been a very collaborative effort between athletics and the University Technology Office," Janczewski said. "I oversee our digital mediums and communication channels, so it’s part of my job to figure out ways that we can enhance the fan experience on game day.”

While working closely with the developers of these new technologies, Janczewski oversees the efforts to to make the sports experience more interactive for fans.

“We have put some new technology into some of the parking structures to be able to tell when they are at full capacity," Janczewski said. "In real time we can trigger an alert to fans through our app that tells fans which lots are full and reroute them to a new structure.”

Other new amenities the stadium will provide include updates about which concession stands or bathroom lines are the shortest, as well as which deals and coupons to look out for.

All of this is possible through a system which IT developers at ASU and Intel have collaborated to integrate into the stadium. It is based on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Assistant Vice President for IT development at ASU Chris Richardson explained what the system is and how it enhances the atmosphere on game day.

“The Internet of Things is really just the ability to connect something that’s currently not connected to the internet and collect data from that device that you’ve connected and do something useful with it," Richardson said. "Intel donated 44 sensors and some application centers to measure a number of different variables.”

Richardson said that this system has been implemented into the stadium to directly benefit the fans.

“There is a sound game that we did," Richardson said. "Based on the loudness variable, we collected the sound through sensors in the stadium to detect which section was the loudest, not only that but those who had our app could receive a push message congratulating them on winning, which is pretty powerful in showing the value behind these technologies.”

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