ASU lighting retrofit at West campus is big, green deal

Arizona State University’s West campus is getting a new color scheme, and there isn’t a paint brush or drop-cloth in sight.

graphic of a globe in a plant

Working in conjunction with APS Energy Services (APSES), the liberal arts campus tucked in the northwest corner of Phoenix is going green with a major interior and exterior lighting retrofit. The six-month project, scheduled for completion in December, will improve the quality of lighting in offices, classrooms and public areas and reduce the overall energy demand and consumption of the campus.

The project comes on the heels of ASU’s recent selection as one of the country’s “greenest” universities by The Princeton Review for a second consecutive year.

“We have always had a focus on good stewardship and sound ecological management,” says David Plute, assistant director of West campus Facilities Management and Development. “This opportunity allows us to capture the cost avoidance in all our facilities and our exterior lighting in a very environmentally conscious way that, hopefully, will become the norm for all.”

The retrofit is more than a passing nod to economics and brighter hallways. More than 10,000 fixtures (10,214) will be retrofitted throughout 13 buildings on the 300-acre campus. In the interior, 8,564 fixtures are being upgraded from older, less-efficient technologies to energy-efficient 25-watt fluorescent T8 lamps and electronic ballasts. Another 1,650 exterior fixtures will be retrofitted from HID (high intensity discharge) fixtures to more efficient compact fluorescent and fluorescent T5 lamps. The project began in July when workers focused on the lighting inside the three-floor Faculty and Administration Building (FAB) that is home to ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, College of Teacher Education and Leadership, and W.P. Carey School of Business offices.

Annually, the greener face will result in a savings of more than 1 million (1,252,095) kilowatt hours (kWh). Utility savings will top $100,000 each year ($100,316). For comparison, the project will reduce ASU’s carbon footprint by the equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 172 vehicles, or CO-2 emissions from the electricity use of 130 homes for a year, or greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling 325 tons of waste instead of sending it to a landfill.

“The ASU administration and our director, Russell Flaherty, have set the ‘green’ standards upon which we continue to build,” says Plute. Included on his checklist of past environmentally focused projects at the West campus are the central plant thermal storage system created when the campus was established in 1984 and updated since, computer-controlled building energy automation systems, desert landscaping, the use of wells to conserve the water supply, and reflective roof coatings that reduce heat gain as well as the energy required to cool buildings.

A similar project also using T8 lamps (25 watts), reflectors and electronic ballasts was completed on ASU’s Tempe campus by APSES earlier this year. The retrofit and re-lamping project currently underway at the West campus was identified at that time as an extension of the university’s energy conservation and sustainability efforts, since the buildings utilized older technology.

“This is our first opportunity working with the West campus,” says Rick Becker, APSES senior account executive. “Their commitment to energy conservation and the continued focus on sustainability have been clearly demonstrated. As this project progresses, we look forward to identifying additional conservation opportunities to support the university in their goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.”

It’s all part of a larger, greener picture, according to Plute.

“The use of solar energy to almost eliminate our peak daily electrical demand is anticipated, as is the final phase of the expansion of the computer-controlled building automation system,” he says, adding that building occupancy sensors added to the interior lighting systems are expected to increase lamp life and further reduce electrical demand and consumption.

Plute also notes that future West campus building will receive environmental scrutiny.

“Any new facilities at the West campus are expected to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Standards – providing a set of rigorous guidelines for the construction of environmentally sustainable buildings) standards, and we have been looking at how our existing facilities would score applying the LEED standards for existing buildings.

“Our challenge will be making sure that we continue to value the total-cost-of-ownership approach and set new standards as a part of our continued commitment to energy conservation and sustainability.”

About ASU’s Sustainable Business Practices and Campus Sustainability:

ASU recognizes that promoting sustainability begins internally with its own business practices and university policy. ASU’s sustainability initiatives, spearheaded by the Global Institute of Sustainability, are advanced by the efforts of people and departments from across the University; leading sustainable practices are addressed and implemented in the areas of energy, water, buildings and grounds, carbon neutrality, food services, transportation, waste and recycling, and, purchasing and policies. For more information about ASU’s sustainable business practices, visit

Arizona State University at the West campus is a comprehensive campus that balances the traditions of a liberal arts education with responsiveness to the demands and dynamics of work force requirements. Faculty within each college and academic program are committed to providing undergraduate and graduate teaching and research that is innovative, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and solution-based.

APS Energy Services, headquartered in Tempe, is the full-services energy services subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW) and has completed energy efficiency and renewable projects throughout the Southwest. APS Energy Services is passionate about the environment and seeks to promote and implement comprehensive energy solutions, while conducting work in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. For more information about APS Energy Services, please visit their webpage at

# # #


Stephen Des Georges, [email protected]
(602) 543-5220
Director, Public Relations and Marketing