ABOUT THE COLLECTION

The Senior Capstone is the culminating experience for Sustainable Built Environment majors involving a substantive project that demonstrates a synthesis of learning accumulated in the major, including broadly comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and its methodologies. It is intended to be a personalized experience in which a student explores a concept in-depth while incorporating the knowledge or investigative techniques learned during his or her undergraduate career. Students are encouraged to build upon their major Emphasis Area, internship, or a previously completed project or research topic for the starting point of their Senior Capstone experience.


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Recent Submissions

  • Planting a seed in future generations: A Comparative Analysis of the Implementation of Sustainability Principles in Public High Schools of Tucson

    Guerrero Lopez, Ana Lucia; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Zuniga-Teran, Adriana; Iuliano, Joseph (The University of Arizona., 2017)
    The following paper addresses the importance of sustainability in education and just how imperative it is that students receive an education that includes sustainability values and practices, and where their campuses act as examples of sustainable architecture and as living laboratories. The study was conducted in Tucson Arizona. Three schools from different districts were selected and studied as a means to evaluate the degree of implementation of sustainability principles in their academic curriculum and their built environment, and to identify potential barriers for wide implementation of sustainability principles in schools.
  • Designating and Maintaining Buffer Zones: A Look at Tucson’s Protected Lands

    Schmidt, Zachary A.; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Randy Gimblett; Joey Iuliano (The University of Arizona., 2017-12)
    This paper examines the continued encroachment of Tucson, Arizona’s built environment on the borders of the surrounding protected lands. This will be a concern as the city of Tucson continues to grow and develop its rural areas. Case studies were conducted on three separate cities: Tucson, AZ, Estes Park, CO, and Missoula, MT. In each of the case studies the cities growth rate is looked at, as well as the zoning laws located around the boundaries of the cities respective protected lands. Tucson’s zoning laws and growth was compared to the other two case study cities. A sample buffer zone was created to show how these protected lands could help implement policies to maintain the ecosystems health, while also protecting Tucson’s rural population from dangerous encounters with wildlife or natural disasters.
  • Complete Street Implementation in Tucson Poster

    Paulson, Kameron; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2017)
  • Analyzing Social Equity: The Influence of the Built Environment on Educational Opportunities in Tucson, Arizona

    Baird James, Emma; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Zuniga-Teran, Adriana A.; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2017)
    Social equity is an often-overlooked aspect of sustainability and is vital to the health of a community. The most successful sustainable initiatives benefit not only the environment and the economy, but consider the impacts on people as well. Education is an indicator of success and has the potential to improve the lives of low-income populations. Opportunities to receive high-quality education can foster social equity in communities by improving the lives of lower-income cohorts. While the link between the built environment and education level has been discussed, there is insufficient empirical evidence to support this connection. The purpose of this project is to examine the relationship between the built environment and high-school graduation rates, as an indicator of better opportunities for youth. Case studies of the three highest-rated high schools and the three lowest-rated high schools in Tucson, Arizona compare demographics of their surrounding neighborhoods. Social Equity Scores are assigned to each school and its two-mile radius to provide a view of equity through education opportunities in Tucson. Findings indicate that lower-quality education options are more readily available in areas of concentrated low-income and minority populations. The best high schools in Tucson are most available in neighborhoods with higher incomes and less minority residents. Some of the highest-rated schools in Tucson have equitable aspects, but still pose challenges to the provision of quality education to all. By increasing our understanding of equity issues related to the built environment, we can direct urban planning efforts toward more just and equitable societies.
  • Complete Street Implementation in Tucson

    Paulson, Kameron; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2017-12)
    This study will focus on the implementation of Complete streets in Tucson, AZ and the associated impacts and requirements needed to successfully integrate these projects into the community. As a city predominantly catering towards the automobile, the majority of roads in Tucson lack the fundamentals of non-automobile transit and pedestrian use. With many other forms of transportation available, the city of Tucson must accommodate these other forms of transit to create a well-rounded, strengthened community. Helping accommodate a larger percentage of the total population, the implementation of complete streets would offer safe access for its pedestrian, bicyclist, motorist and transit users at the same time. By creating a community that can effortlessly move and travel by a variety of means, the addition of complete streets in Tucson would yield countless social, economic and environmental benefits. While the implementation of complete streets seems like a worthwhile investment in any community, there are many logistics that play a role in the feasibility of similar projects. With issues such as construction size, time, cost and communal acceptance, complete streets must overcome a number of challenges before taking shape. Through study and analysis, this study will answer the question of how the Tucson community can successfully incorporate complete streets with sufficient funding and backing by the community. Through analysis of other project cases and various data acquisition, this study will focus on a successful complete street proposal for the city of Tucson.  
  • Implementing Green Infrastructure to Address Urban Flooding

    Palomo, Isaac; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Smith, Steven; Dimond, Kirk; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2017)
    Green infrastructure is defined as a planned and managed natural system which can provide several categories of benefits. Man-made, gray solutions are no longer considered to be a viable solution when designing with resiliency in cities. Gray solutions have replaced naturally occurring vegetation with impervious surfaces. During severe rainfall events, these impervious surfaces have led cities to become more susceptible to flooding as infiltration and retention capacities have been significantly reduced. This study will analyze an area located within a highly urbanized city center and will begin to interpret the performance and impacts that may come after implementing green infrastructure practices. Based on the simulated outcome provided by the National Storm water Calculator, the results will determine if added green infrastructure features can reduce urban flooding.
  • Implementing Green Infrastructure to Address Urban Flooding

    Palomo, Isaac; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Smith, Steven; Dimond, Kirk; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2017)
  • Matrix Based Comparison of Tire Masonry Unit Exterior Walls Versus Other Alternative and Traditional Residential Materials and Methods

    Iuliano, Joseph E.; Tolin, Jeff; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Zuniga, Adriana PhD.; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2016)
    This research examines the viability of tire masonry units as a material for exterior walls in residential construction when compared to other alternative materials (straw bales) and traditional materials and methods (wood frame construction). This comparison is executed via a matrix which assigns scores to each material based on their performance in the following criteria; energy efficiency, human health, environmental health, structural soundness, and monetary costs. Tire masonry units have been offered up as a solution to both tire disposal issues that are detrimental to the environment and the problems posed by the need for virgin materials in housing construction. This research concludes this is not the case, and the use of tire masonry units fails to provide solutions for either of these pressing issues.
  • Tire Masonry Units Versus Wood Framing and Straw Bales in Residential Exterior Walls

    Kramer-Lazar, Sean; Tolin, Jeff; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Zuniga, Adriana PhD.; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2016)
  • Closing the Gap Between Food Waste and Food Insecurity

    Livingston, Margaret; Iuliano, Joseph E.; Stoner, Grace K.; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Ligon, Victoria (The University of Arizona., 2017-12-05)
    This project strives to discover the most efficient way in which we can connect the edible food that would be sent to rot in a landfill with the people who lack access to adequate and healthful food. Existing charitable food distribution programs will be assessed so as to determine how to create a food distribution event that is far-reaching, well attended and effective. This research will be translated into a comprehensive plan outlining best practices for carrying out a distribution event on a college campus.
  • Urbanizing Agriculture; Vertical Farming as a Potential Solution to Food Security Issues

    Quinn, Harley; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Joseph Iuliano (The University of Arizona., 2017)
    As countries around the world continue to deplete natural resources and as the world’s population continues to grow, many industries, as well as people, have begun to suffer from the strain on dwindling natural resources. Agriculture and food distribution industries send goods from all around the world to stock grocery stores, restaurants, and other retail centers. The high costs of the distribution format causes people to be unable to afford food even though the amount of production is more than sufficient. “Enough food is produced worldwide to feed all the people in the world (Leathers and Foster, 2009). However, despite this alarming truth, nearly one billion people are suffering from chronic hunger today. There are a wide range of factors that contribute to this problem, however, the most significant is poor food distribution.” (Mission: Feeding the World, 2014) In an attempt to diminish these issues, organizations such as the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) have focused their research on various ways to grow within smaller regions and lower transportation distances to limit costs. They focus on these attempts largely to reach their Urban Food and Supply goals of providing efficiency in distribution to stabilize supplies of low-cost food to provide for everyone rather than only those who can afford it. (FAO, 2000) Additionally, work has been done to decrease waste at points along the supply chain. The challenge and goal, however, should not be to limit the scope of travel by a small fraction, but completely eradicate it. Focusing on agricultural techniques that occur within urban areas could allow the growth of most agricultural products within the confines of a city. Practicing locally grown agricultural techniques could diminish food distribution costs as the distance of travel would become within a quick drive or walk. The inhabitants of the city could purchase food out of their own neighborhoods at a much lower cost. Restaurants and grocery stores could limit their supplies so that very little went to waste. Additionally, farms would be close by, meaning there would be no issues getting food in enough time as well as allowing a greater awareness of the product’s growing conditions. Residents would immediately have a much greater understanding of their food supply chain and could participate in the growing of those products. Classical agricultural techniques do not work in this setting. In typical agriculture techniques, the growing population will outgrow the amount of land we have to grow crops. (Biello, 2009) Already today, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices (Despommier, 2011). To simply account for the population growth predicted, food production will have to increase by 70% according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (2011). As the same percentage of people move towards urban living, the question is, should the food production industries follow suit? Unfortunately, space is both limited and at a premium in an urban environment. Vertical farming could be a solution to agriculture needs with population growth. Vertical farming allows skyscrapers to be filled with floor upon floor of orchards and fields, producing crops all year round (Technology Quarterly, 2010). The benefits of successful vertical farming are exceptional as it could reduce transport costs and carbon emissions, free up land, reduce spoilage, and finally, limit the water usage as compared to classic agriculture techniques. Unfortunately, there are limited examples of vertical farming and it remains mostly untested; however, some examples have begun to show up around the world. In the US, no vertical farms have been constructed, although the materials and technology exists. In the 2015 World’s Fair in Milan, this technology was showcased by Biber Architects in their project “Farm Walls”, a hydroponic technology that allows the plants to grow without soil and vertically (ZipGrow, 2017). Knowing the potential benefits of this type of system, the question remains of should agriculture transfer to this arrangement? What are the potential costs of these systems and technologies? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Finally, what potential downfalls could result for farmers in non-urban environments? This capstone intends to analyze the costs and benefits of vertical farming technology as well as explore case studies of existing vertical farms to determine if it is an appropriate strategy for cities to adapt to address food insecurity.
  • Assessing Suitability of Landscape Palm Trees in the Urban Environments of Southern Arizona

    Calegari, Jake; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Quist, Tanya Ph.D.; Iuliano, Joseph (The University of Arizona., 2017-05-12)
    Landscape architecture and design play a crucial role in addressing growing concerns over environmental sustainability. Palm trees (plants in the family Aracaceae) are an iconic and ubiquitous part of landscape design in the southwestern United States, but limited research has been conducted on the ecological and economic effects of these species. This research used a case study of the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum to examine the costs and benefits of six of the site’s most ubiquitous palm species: Brahea armata, Washingtonia filifera, Washingtonia robusta, Chamaerops humilis, Phoenix dactylifera, and Phoenix canariensis. The study found the greatest net benefits from Washingtonia robusta, with all other species exhibiting an annual net cost for the university site. However, there is still value inherent in the use of the other palm species; beyond net economic quantitative value, consideration must also be given to additional factors pertinent to the evaluation of plant suitability when selecting plants for a site, on a case-by-case basis.  
  • Adaptive Use: A Guide Towards Sustainable Regeneration

    Cardenas, Alexis; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Chalfoun, Nader V; Iuliano, Joseph E (The University of Arizona., 2017-05-12)
    Sprawling development continues to be the common method of creating a built environment that facilitates the growing proportion of people living in urban settings. Inadvertently, this brings forth many social, economic, and environmental adversities that cause for a redirection of development. Adaptive use is an architectural conservation strategy takes an existing building and rehabilitates it so that it can serve a new use. The rehabilitation process improves the performance of an existing building while suppressing many of the negative effects associated with the sprawling development and new construction. The purpose of this report is to draw upon successful adaptive use practices to create an outline of methods can be applied to future projects of a similar nature.
  • Analysis of Pricing Variation in Aesthetic and Sustainable Features

    Pietrack, Elizabeth; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Sanderford, Andrew; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2017)
    In today’s market there are two major categories of home features that home buyers choose from: sustainable or aesthetic. In a residential housing context, sustainable home features are considered as those that reduce the energy consumption of the home while aesthetic home features do not have an effect on energy consumption. While there have been several studies conducted on appraising sustainable or aesthetic features alone this research aims to directly compare the two through a sales comparison approach of Taylor Morrison and Meritage Homes new construction comparable sales homes in the Queen Creek subdivision of Victoria Estates. A sales comparison approach enables each feature type to be analyzed individually for how it affects the pricing variation of a home with its implementation through comparing comparable sales homes to a subject home without the feature type that is being valued. Through this methodology the pricing variation of homes with the inclusion of sustainable features alone was found to consist of an average pricing increase of $39,117 for Meritage homes and a $17,861 increase for Taylor Morrison homes in comparison to aesthetic and sustainable features at an average $47,817 increase for Meritage Homes and $26,561 for Taylor Morrison homes. This research lends itself to providing prospective home buyers with guides on what home features will actively make their homes investments such as MERV 8 filters, a HERS rating of 58, among other findings. In addition, the research highlights which standard, included sustainable and aesthetic features increase the pricing variation of a home from each homebuilder and should be prioritized in being offered as included based on their investment value to home buyers.
  • Sustainability Certifications and Impacts on Business

    Sanders, Maddison; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Youssef, Omar; Iuliano, Joseph (The University of Arizona., 2016)
    Sustainable certifications are expanding in popularity within the built environment as the construction industry is progressing towards sustainability, while benefits are becoming more valuable to the businesses that reside in sustainably certified spaces. These benefits, such as thermal comfort and natural daylighting, not only translate to enhancing employee’s health, but employers within sustainably certified buildings have found greater retention rates in employees, improved business recruitment, as well as higher productivity in employees. The range of this analysis is directed towards two businesses that reside in sustainably certified buildings, DPR Construction-Phoenix in Arizona and the Mosaic Centre for Conscious Community and Commerce in Edmonton, Canada. Both buildings will be assessed for the impact their sustainable space have on their business. The purpose of this study is to examine the impacts of holistic and specific components of sustainability certifications, exclusively LEED and Net Zero Energy, on businesses. The study was unique as it was conducted by interviewing an integral consultant/designer in the construction process that still currently works in the building. The interview revealed that DPR Construction found employees to be more comfortable in their workspace, thus suggesting that productivity would be improved however this cannot be measured. The Mosaic Centre found new business advantages such as utilizing the space for tours and community engagement opportunities that have given the businesses within the Mosaic Centre unique marketing opportunities to improve business. This analysis will help commercial building owners gain insight on the business impacts of implementing sustainable building components to achieve a LEED certification, Net-Zero Status or a Living Building Challenge certification.
  • Cellulose Aerogel Application in the Built Environment

    Iuliano, Joseph E.; Arceneaux, Dylan; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Dr. Smith, Shane; Dr. Livingston, Margaret (The University of Arizona., 2017-05-10)
    A large portion of current architectural design practices utilize insulative materials that are outdated, unsustainable, and harmful to the environment. There is little consideration placed in the lifespan of the insulative materials and often lead towards negative ramifications the environment must face. Continuing in the track of sustainable development, an emerging material known as cellulose aerogel builds off precedent aerogel with a green twist. The issue with implementing a new material, especially one that lacks the research and development of presently used materials, is gathering enough interest to build research funding. Developing a new material that has the potential to mitigate the massive energy consumption could aid architects and designers in designing more sustainable buildings. A cellulose based aerogel system is fabricated with cellulose, a biomass found in nearly all living organisms, is the answer we may need to make sustainable building practices a reality. To determine the validity of a cellulose aerogel system, a rigorous material study and precedence scientific studies will be analyzed to understand the intrinsic properties. The culmination of this information is imperative to drive continued development and implementation under the optimal conditions. Cellulose aerogel will face a multitude of comparisons with each major used insulative materials such as concrete, wood, and fiberglass. Successfully completing these studies will help material researchers and designers to prepare for a greater sustainable future.
  • Electrochromic Glass

    Lagunas, Armando; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Moeller, Colby; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2016-05-11)
    Electrochromic glass is a type of smart glass, a new technology that has potential to reduce the amount of sunlight entering a building by changing its physical properties. The purpose of this study is to understand the properties of electrochromic glass and determine if it is a viable alternative to conventional single pane and double pane glass in the Tucson area. Using research and statistics from smart glass production companies, a comparative analysis will be done using the building simulation software Energy-10. It was found that when compared to single pane glass, double pane glass had a decrease of 7.21% in energy cost and electrochromic glass had a decrease of 9.81%. For the used building model, this meant a return investment in 30 and a half years. While electrochromic glass is a new clean method of energy usage reduction, it currently cannot return the consumers initial investment within a desirable time span.
  • Application of a Green Roof on the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture

    Horn, Patricia; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Esser, Michael; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2016)
    In the United States, commercial rooftops are too often an afterthought, serving only to house HVAC systems and other utilitarian building components. Rooftops are the most underutilized valuable spaces in buildings. They comprise a great deal of real estate that could help boost a building’s energy efficiency, aesthetics, and even the wellness of occupants. Buildings are the leading contributors to energy consumption in the country, and implementing green roofs could significantly mitigate this energy use, so costly to society in so many ways. This proposal studies the benefits of implementing a green roof on the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA) in Tucson, Arizona. Extensive research was conducted on the implementation of a green roof in this hot arid region, as well as a survey among a pool of 50 occupants. The conclusions drawn: a green roof would be utilized by occupants, and would bring about benefits including cleaner air, an expanded roof lifespan, and reduced heat island effect. Conclusions also demonstrate that the cost of implementing a green roof might not be offset by energy savings alone, but when considering the benefits and costs to society, a green roof ultimately proves beneficial economically as well.
  • Sustainability Certifications and Impacts on Business

    Sanders, Maddison; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Youssef, Omar; Iuliano, Joseph (The University of Arizona., 2016)
    Sustainable certifications are expanding in popularity within the built environment as the construction industry is progressing towards sustainability, while benefits are becoming more valuable to the businesses that reside in sustainably certified spaces. These benefits, such as thermal comfort and natural daylighting, not only translate to enhancing employee’s health, but employers within sustainably certified buildings have found greater retention rates in employees, improved business recruitment, as well as higher productivity in employees. The range of this analysis is directed towards two businesses that reside in sustainably certified buildings, DPR Construction-Phoenix in Arizona and the Mosaic Centre for Conscious Community and Commerce in Edmonton, Canada. Both buildings will be assessed for the impact their sustainable space have on their business. The purpose of this study is to examine the impacts of holistic and specific components of sustainability certifications, exclusively LEED and Net Zero Energy, on businesses. The study was unique as it was conducted by interviewing an integral consultant/designer in the construction process that still currently works in the building. The interview revealed that DPR Construction found employees to be more comfortable in their workspace, thus suggesting that productivity would be improved however this cannot be measured. The Mosaic Centre found new business advantages such as utilizing the space for tours and community engagement opportunities that have given the businesses within the Mosaic Centre unique marketing opportunities to improve business. This analysis will help commercial building owners gain insight on the business impacts of implementing sustainable building components to achieve a LEED certification, Net-Zero Status or a Living Building Challenge certification.
  • Solar Powered Stirling Engine

    McHugh, Megan; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Chan, Cho Lik; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2017)
    This paper provides a study on the configuration of Stirling engines and the effect using a solar dish as a heat source on efficiency. The Stirling engine was based on the MIT 2.670 design - a Gamma configuration, low temperature differential Stirling engine. Temperature and speed were measured for the base model Stirling engine to determine the initial efficiency. Modifications were planned to add a parabolic mirror as a solar dish and compare the efficiency to the initial design, however, the completed solar Stirling engine testing and data collection is to be performed in the following summer. The work performed by the engine was to be calculated using the Schmidt formula to then find the power output. Results from the completion of this study would indicate how the solar dish effects the power output of the Stirling engine.

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