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Chase Field - AZRE Magazine May/June 2011

Chase Field: Keeping It Cool

Gearing up for another typical Phoenix summer and the All-Star Game at Chase Field in July, the Arizona Diamondbacks have partnered with APS on a solar structure that could be considered a doubleheader.

Just In Time For The All-Star Game, Chase Field’s Solar Structure Will Be A Benefit To Many

Erected in a matter of months above the plaza adjacent to Chase Field’s western entrances and ticket booths, this addition provides fans with welcome shade before they enter the air-conditioned stadium and at the same time generates 75 kilowatts of solar power. That’s enough energy to provide electricity for up to nine homes, APS says.
While no one can say how much cooler — or less steamy — it will be under the 250-foot by 65-foot structure, Arizonans know the difference between being in the sun and being in the shade.

In addition, APS intends to use the solar facility as a technical demonstration project that includes electric vehicle charging stations and a battery storage system. What’s more, the structure features educational exhibits that showcase elements of sustainable living, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and recycling.

APS calls a section under the structure “a green energy classroom,” enabling fans to obtain information about living green and saving energy and money. Some displays provide interactive learning opportunities.

Keeping Fans At Chase Field Cool

Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Diamondbacks, says he wanted to create shade outside the Chase Field ballpark for fans attending the All-Star Game on July 12 and related events inside.

“Because of the heightened security, it does take a bit longer to get into the ballpark,” Hall says. “I approached APS about the idea and they loved it, embraced it, with the solar panels on top.”

An additional element — fans for the fans — includes four ceiling fans, 16-feet in diameter, that will produce a gentle breeze of about 7 mph.

“We want to make sure that the fans are a little more comfortable than they would be without that shade,” Hall says.

APS plans to use the solar facility, which will have a 20-year life span, as a technical demonstration project.

“Behind the scenes, this will be a working laboratory,” says Don Robinson, APS president. “We will study what’s possible with urban solar arrays and how we can power electric vehicles directly from the sun.”

Keeping It Green For Arizona

Dan Wool, APS corporate communications specialist, says the utility paid for the project, which cost slightly less than $1M.

“This project is unique to the Diamondbacks and that space,” Wool says. “Basically, it’s like a small solar power plant.”

Energy generated goes directly into the APS power grid. It gives APS the opportunity to study how such a facility works in a downtown area. The test battery storage system is an effort to meet one of the solar energy challenges in Arizona — peak energy-use period around 4-5 p.m.

Andy Kunasek, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which also serves as the Maricopa County Stadium District’s governing board, says, “This new structure represents Maricopa County’s ongoing commitment to green practices and sustainability through a unique public-private partnership dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of the county and Chase Field (Maricopa County owns Chase Field).”

Chris Jenkins, a designer for project architect HKS Inc., says the Chase Field structure spans 17,000 SF and is supported by a series of steel trusses. Solar panels provide shade for 6,000 SF, and fabric in the team colors of Sedona red and desert tan shields the rest of the structure.

“We want to make sure the fans at the All-Star Game don’t walk away and say, ‘It’s too hot here,’ ” Jenkins says.

He concedes that it’s difficult to avoid the heat in Phoenix during the summer, but adds, “We’re going to do what we can.”

Renewable Energy Contractors, a division of Ironco, was the general contractor for construction of the structure. Malcolm Persen, executive vice president, says his company has been installing solar units throughout Arizona for four years, and describes the Chase Field D-Backs’ project as “far and away a showcase.”

AZRE Magazine May/June 2011

Phoenix Children's Hospital, sustainable hospital expansion, kitchell, HKS inc.

Sustainable Hospital Expansion – Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of the country’s 10 largest health care facilities for children. With the rapidly growing pediatric population in our market, the hospital recently reached the half-way point of a $588 million expansion, which includes the construction of a new 11-story patient tower that will nearly double available beds by 2012. The hospital is not only providing a healthy future for its patients with this significant expansion, the project has also embraced sustainability practices in its design, construction, and operations that will support a healthy future for our community.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital takes its responsibility as a health care leader seriously. The hospital made the commitment to build green based on several key considerations: increased public health, reduced operational costs, and a focus on corporate social responsibility.

Promoting the health of patients, visitors, employees, community members, and the global community, Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s expansion will result in economic and efficient operations. Along with its construction partners, design architects HKS Inc. of Dallas and general contractor Kitchell of Phoenix, Phoenix Children’s is building one of the most innovative and environmentally sound children’s hospitals in the nation.

At the heart of the Hospital’s sustainability effort is a Central Energy Plant (CEP) that now powers the 34-acre campus in the heart of Phoenix. This high efficiency CEP features an 800-ton water-to-water heat pump chiller, a technology widely used in the Middle East. In fact, Phoenix Children’s CEP employs the first application of the water-to-water heat pump chiller in a healthcare facility of its size in the United States. This innovative technology will translate to substantial energy savings for the hospital, in addition to boosting Phoenix’s conservation efforts overall. Results will include:

  • Conserving of 5.6 million gallons of water annually (the equivalent of the water needs of 120 households);
  • Reducing discharges to the sanitary sewer system by 600,000 gallons per year;
  • Reducing natural gas consumption by 70 percent; and
  • Saving nearly $11 million in energy and operating costs over 15 years.


The new hospital design also maximizes energy and water efficiency. In patient rooms, views of the mountains on both sides of the Valley will be maintained with high-performance low-e windows and sun-shading screens help to minimize solar heat gain. Additionally, the exterior lighting is designed to reduce light pollution. Combined with an efficient mechanical system design, the new building will use 20 percent less energy than maximum capacity required by code. Furthermore, the hospital is also a good steward of the community’s valuable water resources by installing low-flow plumbing fixtures with automatic flushing sensors that reduce water use in the new tower.

Indoor air quality is an important aspect of designing a sustainable hospital that creates a healing environment for Arizona’s youngest patients, and this process begins with selecting materials free of harmful chemicals. No mercury products or urea-formaldehyde resins were used in construction, and the new cooling system will use non-CFC refrigerant which prevents ozone depletion. Recycled flooring products and low-VOC paints and sealants will protect air quality.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has also implemented a strategic exterior design, planning for indigenous plants and trees to create exterior places of respite. Local flora line the sidewalks and keep visitors cool and reduce solar heat gain. An expanded cafeteria, roof garden, indoor areas with natural views, and other tranquil spaces on the new campus will help keep employees, patients, and families on-site and off the road during heavy traffic times. Notably, the new facility offers convenient bike storage, a staff locker room in the basement of the new tower, and preferred parking for carpool and alternative-energy cars.

Taking the lead in sustainable construction, the project team has created a paperless strategy where portals and online distribution of materials sent to subcontractors save paper, time, and money. Most notably, Kitchell has conducted a large effort in recycling. On average more than 70 percent of construction waste per month is recycled, which keeps a significant amount of materials out of landfills. Lastly, in a region where dust control in the streets and air can be quite challenging during construction, the site takes extreme measures to reduce the effects of dust on the neighboring community.

Utilizing sustainable design principles, thoughtful green construction techniques, and preparing for environmentally friendly operations, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital expansion is setting a new benchmark in sustainable healthcare design and development.