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How Barrett put the 'sustainability' in the sustainability house

The Sustainability House at Barrett has built-in sustainable features and encourages students to be environmentally friendly

Rooftop garden of Barrett's sustainability house in Tempe on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.

Barrett, The Honors College has marketed itself within ASU's School of Sustainability as a cultivator of student engagement and passion for sustainability. 

In 2022, ASU was ranked second in the world among universities for their implementation of the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Barrett's unique contributions to this effort are the Sustainability House at Barrett (SHAB) and the Barrett Sustainability Club (BSC). 

The Sustainability House is located in Barrett's connected Sage South and Sage North buildings. It was built with sustainable features including solar panels, laundry lines, a greywater reuse system and unique energy use modeling through a platform called Campus Metabolism. 

These are more than just environmental buzzwords. Shea Alevy, director of staff operations at Barrett, said in an email that all of these features are maintained and still in use. Alevy said that ASU offers its energy consumption data on Campus Metabolism, which is publicly accessible. Anyone can use the website to track energy consumption of any ASU buildings on all four campuses. 

SHAB has a unique level of access to their own consumption because Sage South and Sage North data is tracked by floor, not by the entire building, providing SHAB residents with a closer look at their own energy consumption. 

"The ability to review the utilities metrics at this granularity is a unique quality to SHAB and allows our students to have an immersive learning experience where they can identify the quantity of their energy use, assess the peak times of day or year for the use of these resources, and compare their use to other floors and buildings," Alevy said. 

SHAB is also equipped with a greywater reuse system, a massive collection and filtration system that treats water from sinks, showers and fountains to be reused for irrigation. The reuse system is also specific to SHAB, and earned the buildings a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification. 

While SHAB has built-in sustainable features, sustainability at Barrett is also encouraged through the Barrett Sustainability Club. They maintain the community garden on the fourth floor of SHAB, a place where students can reserve a plot to grow their own plants and learn about what it takes to grow food. 

"It's a place for people who are all passionate about sustainability to get together and bond over that, and also to harness that passion, " said BSC president Amelie Clark, a junior studying civil engineering.

In addition to BSC and SHAB, another student-led organization, The Sustainability Alliance at ASU, is committed to educating all students about sustainability using the UN's development goals. 

Elizabeth Quigley is the club's director of partnerships and engagement and a senior majoring in supply chain management and sustainability. Quigley said the 17 UN goals are the chosen framework for their educational message because they can connect to anyone’s interests and can provide a personal connection for interdisciplinary interests.

"The UN Sustainability goals, while sometimes controversial, are a beautiful framework for educating about sustainability," Quigley said. "Whether you’re a marketing major, or into engineering, or really passionate about golf or cats, all of that applies to global sustainability."

From individuals to national organizations, Barrett students have many opportunities to lead more sustainable lives with accessible resources from their housing and student organizations.

Edited by Annie Graziano, Jasmine Kabiri and Grace Copperthite.

Reach the reporter at and follow @nerdyoso on Twitter. 

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