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Updates continue at Concordia EcoHouse

Ecohouse2, Bobby Person, WEB
Residents of the Concordia EcoHouse, located on 6th Street, have been making minor changes to the house to help improve its sustainability and impact on the environment. Photo by Bobby Person.
Ecohouse, Bobby Person, WEB
Photo by Bobby Person.

Residents of the EcoHouse have been making some updates lately.

Kristina Kaupa, Julia Kuebelbeck, Emily Donovan and Sara Conley, all seniors, live in Concordia’s EcoHouse this year. They have been responsible for making some new changes in the house during its second year.

To winterize the house they put plastic over the windows and installed thermal curtains to keep in heat. The students also closed off rooms that were going unused.

Over Christmas break, the heat in the house was kept lower, according to Kueblebeck.

“(These are) things that people know about but don’t actually understand how much of a difference it can make,” Kaupa said.

After the break ended, the residents had a “housewarming party.” They made chili and invited students and neighbors over to the house to see some of the changes they made for the winter. They labeled the changes, which acted as a self-guided tour for people walking throughout the house.

Concordia students have had the opportunity to live in the EcoHouse for two years. The residents are responsible for keeping the house sustainable.

The house, built in 1949, does not have a sustainable background.

“What makes it different isn’t necessarily (the) appearance, but more so our own behavior changes,” Kaupa said.

Some noted differences include a vermiculture bin in the basement, also known as a compost bin outside that are used for discarding food scraps. Additionally, the house has a solar phone charger outside that was built for the students to use.

The current residents have been trying to involve the community more with the house.

The students participated in the EcoExpo during BREW week and offered a tour of the house for one of Dr. Whitaker’s biology classes.

Kaupa said they hope to be able to accommodate different kinds of classes in the future. A few ideas include planting a garden that plant taxonomy students could utilize for their classes and research, or creating a wellness or meditation area for classes.

Kuebleback said that the house is not just for science majors and that students of all majors

According to Jasi O’Connor, the Director of Residence Life, the budget for the house allows them to do several types of projects throughout the year

“The goal is to have the students living there make the house more sustainable,” O’Connor said.

Currently, the residents are looking for a new energy-efficient refrigerator to replace the broken one. Another new addition to the house is an energy generator. The residents can use their own bikes to power the generator. They can put their bikes on a stationary stand and pedal it to charge various devices. The bike is able to generate electricity to charge phones, laptops or TVs.

“Sustainability isn’t just about the earth, but also that you’re taking care of yourself,” Kaupa said.

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