Turkey day came and went this past week and it brought with it the first snow of the season. As the semester comes to an end, the housemates are grasping for ideas for final research projects associated with the house. The idea is to analyze some aspect or theory that could be applied to the house for future use and sustainability practices. Together, the housemates have brainstormed projects that encompass but are not limited to: gas efficiency, water efficiency, replacing the most used appliances with more efficient counterparts, a native garden to provide habitat and ecological assets, and painting the house to provide awareness and interactivity to those who visit and those who live here. Gas, water and heat efficiency will eventually be utilized to display monetary amounts of potential savings within the house by engaging in more sustainable practices and investing in more sustainable equipment. This is meant to demonstrate that the investment is worthwhile to the school to make the house a work in progress and a permanent structure on campus for future students to engage in. The native garden and the painting of the house are meant to provide an environment that peaks and encourages awareness to those visiting and those who live in the house.
We engaged in a competition that we titled “recycling wars” between ourselves within the house and the other themed houses on the campus. The rules were those who have less waste and more recycling will get points each week until the last week in November. The points were assigned on a ranking basis and the ultimate prize was a pizza party. We have found that the biggest factor in not obtaining points is lack of interest or simply not caring. Some student did not put recycling out at all, and some students’ trash contained materials that could easily be recycled. This is an easy fix and is simply a matter of information and awareness, recycling itself is not time consuming, however one must care enough and be informed of those items that can be recycled.