EcoHouse is the home of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, Common Ground, and PSU’s Student Sustainability Fellows. Bill Crangle, former Director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability; Brian Eisenhauer, Social Science faculty member, current Director of the Office of Sustainability, and associate director of the Center for the Environment; and Steve Whitman, Geography faculty member, serve as co-directors of EcoHouse.
The Office of Environmental Sustainability works to advance PSU’s goals on sustainability. Common Ground is a student environmental and social justice organization that has worked for over 25 years on environmental issues through events and service projects. PSU’s Sustainability Fellows work with the Department of Residential Life to promote the awareness and value of sustainable efforts to the on-campus housing community.
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.
To achieve its mission PSU EcoHouse will:
- Provide a home to involve students in a “green renovation” and installation of renewable energy systems.
- Provide a location for 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. Classwork 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.
As a result, our first project is underway to secure the overall structure of the building, reduce energy loss, and improve air quality in the building.
An EcoHouse course offering will be available in the 2013-2014 academic year, so please keep your eyes out for that and other opportunities to get involved.