Area campuses turning green in many ways

Posted: October 07, 2009

Area campuses have shown a commitment to green living with a variety of green dorm projects.

Here's a sampling:

Villanova University renovated an 80-year-old residence hall - the school's first green dorm. It boasts furniture made of recycled materials, two rain gardens that capture roof runoff (with displays that show the quantity), and lights fitted with motion sensors. Showers automatically shut off after eight minutes, though students can pull a cord to continue. "But it's a reminder that you've been in there for a while," said Robert Morro, associate vice president for facilities management.

Princeton University's first "green roof" on a dorm (in the newly rebuilt Butler College housing complex) includes monitors for students to track energy performance and storm water runoff compared with coventional roofs.

This year, the University of Pennsylvania will sign up student "eco-reps," who will encourage green behavior among peers. The school also plans to build a green, mid-rise dorm that would include, among other features, recycling chutes next to the trash chutes.

West Chester University expanded its "district geothermal system" to two new freshman dorms that also feature recycled materials, sustainable finishes, and indirect lighting. The geothermal system, currently heating and cooling 15 academic and residence hall facilities, will eventually connect to an additional 25 campus buildings - a feat expected to save $1 million a year in energy costs and reduce the school's carbon footprint.

The sleek, 17-story Millennium Hall is Drexel University's first green dorm. It features concrete walls that don't need paint, windows that reflect heat but allow light indoors, and a lobby floor made of recycled tires. A "green roof" (actually on a one-story platform attached to the building) is planted with succulents. Two newly outfitted "organic suites" serving as experimental models in another Drexel residence hall got a fresh coat of eco-friendly paint and come with organic cotton linens, green cleaning supplies, and blinds that reflect heat.


Contact staff writer Lini S. Kadaba at 215-854-5606 or Lkadaba@phillynews.com.

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