Oberlin Students Test Drive Sustainable Living

NWF   |   May 26, 2008

Today’s New York Times profiled the SEED house at environmental all-star Oberlin College. SEED stands for Student Experiment in Ecological Design, and unites eight students in a practical laboratory of sustainable living.

As these students have learned more about the technological and environmental challenges they and their communities will face, they have been motivated to test drive environmental stewardship. Living in a house retrofitted to save energy and conserve water, the students also compost, compete for the shortest shower, study in the same room, and unplug their appliances. Striking a balance between one-time switches and ongoing habit changes, these students have weather-stripped the house and perfected a system for collecting extra shower water in buckets.

Lucas Brown, one of the founding students of the house, notes in a video interview that "Our main goals are to spread ecological living practices. Our first and primary goal is outreach. If the actions of this house end with us, we see that as a failure. Our second goal, which is just as important, is to reduce our ecological footprint here on-site. To know our impact on the world and make sure it’s a positive one." Outreach efforts by the students include offering to switch out incandescent bulbs for CFLs in their neighbors’ homes, and talking about the changes they’re making to friends and guests in the house.