The mission of the Plymouth State University EcoHouse is to demonstrate environmentally sustainable technology in a residential setting, to provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities to PSU students and the surrounding region, to collect and disseminate information about sustainability, and to help others live in more sustainable ways.
EcoHouse is the home of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, Common Ground, and PSU’s Office of Environmental Sustainability and its student staff. Brian Eisenhauer, current Director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, and Associate Professor of Sociology, and Steve Whitman, Geography faculty member, serve as co-directors of EcoHouse.
To achieve its mission PSU EcoHouse:
- Provides a home to involve students in a “green renovation” and installation of renewable energy systems.
- Provide a location for classes, workshops, seminars, demonstrations of how the average single family home can be retrofitted for sustainable design.
- Create a living laboratory for students and faculty to conduct experiments with sustainable design, alternative energy sources, and other technologies and ways of living.
- Provide a location for students to “educate” each other and the public by providing tours of the house and monitoring its energy use.
- Create a “home” and enhanced sense of identity for PSU students involved in environmental programs and activities.
EcoHouse is located “on the roundabout” in Plymouth. A general purpose room is available for meetings.
Developed through a University System of New Hampshire initiative on innovation and entrepreneurialism, EcoHouse will enable students to gain an understanding of smaller-scale environmental design features that are reasonable and within reach of the average family household. Students will learn important, widely-applicable skills, and engage in meaningful community outreach and service.
The first EcoHouse course, Sustainability in Residences, was at capacity in fall 2008. Since that time sections of that class have been offered every year, and other classes, such as Sustainable Structures, Introduction to Permaculture and others use EcoHouse as a “living-learning laboratory”. Classwork has focused on issues around sustainability and individual residences, included guest speakers with sustainability expertise from around the region, and resulted in papers and presentations proposing the work needed to turn EcoHouse into an environmentally friendly building. In addition students have been given opportunities for hands on, experiential learning by completing projects at EcoHouse including participating in the design and installation of a solar hot water system, many renovations to the building, and establishing permaculture on the house grounds.
Since its inception EcoHouse has been an on-campus residence for students available through the Office of Residential Life, and residents pledge to live in environmentally appropriate ways and contribute to activities at EcoHouse.
We look forward to continuing successes at EcoHouse.