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Future ASU Tempe building has ambitious plans for sustainability, research

ASU programs are eager for the 2022 move into the ISTB 7 building


"ASU has made sure to provide places for its programs to flourish in the past, and the plans for ISTB 7 are no exception." Illustration published on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2019.

Since Michael Crow took over as president of ASU in 2002, the University’s presence has grown rapidly within Tempe, and the new $175,000,000, 258,000 square foot Interdisciplinary Science and Technology 7 building will significantly add to this. 

“It will definitely be a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building,” said Jason Franz, a manager of strategic marketing and communication at the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service. 

LEED certifications are the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

Since 2006, ASU has completed 33 certified LEED projects, ranging from silver, gold and platinum ratings, showcasing the efforts put forth by the University to continue expanding while also minimizing ASU’s carbon footprint. 

The Interdisciplinary Science and Technology 7, ISTB 7, building will be a high-performance research facility for ASU programs with additional public outreach and exhibit spaces. 

Although the building will not open until late 2021/early 2022, Energy Innovations Program Director Gerald DaRosa said the University already has plans to put solar panels on ISTB 7's roof.

Beyond just sustainability, Franz said ISTB 7 will not only be integrating new elements technologically, but also from a built environment standpoint as well. 

The new building will be completed on the corner of University Drive and Rural Road, placed near a light rail station. 

Franz said that public transportation will be an "integrated" part of ISTB 7. 

The University plans to incorporate the native canal running through the land into the design, which will create an atrium and public space for students.

In addition to the canal, the ASU Institute of Human Origins is furthering the public appeal to visit ISTB 7.

The Institute’s cast of "Lucy" is going to be on display 24 hours a day for the public to see, according to Julie Russ, assistant director at the Institute of Human Origins. 

Lucy is the bones of a hominid found in 1974 and thought to be over 3 million years old. 

Besides ambitious sustainability and environmental plans for the new building, it provides a myriad of benefits for the several programs that ISTB 7 will house.

“Currently, we’re scattered throughout four or five different buildings … the ability for our researchers to collaborate in one area where ideas come up naturally” is the most exciting prospect for the Institute of Human Origins, Russ said.

Russ also said the benefits will expand beyond collaboration as the Institute of Human Origins will have a new research collection lab and a brand new teaching lab. 

Franz also sees the massive potential of moving into the new ISTB 7, as the sustainability programs at ASU currently do not have a consistent laboratory space.

“This shift to having actual dedicated laboratory space to focus on solutions to the sustainability challenges, to planetary management challenges, to natural issues we’re investigating and looking to develop solutions for, that’ll be substantial change in terms of a facility for us," Franz said.

ASU has tried to provide places for programs to flourish in the past, and the plans for ISTB 7 are no exception.

“ASU has always been amazing in being able to provide our scientists with the space and technology that they need,” Russ said.

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