EcoHouse was designed at Plymouth State University (PSU) as a laboratory and showcase for sustainable living in residential settings. Both the technologies of physical structure and behavior adaptations for sustainability are considered.
The EcoHouse Project started in 2008 and was funded with a grant from the University System of New Hampshire. The building already belonged to Residence Life at PSU, and had four student apartments.
As class projects, students evaluated the house for energy efficiency and proposed projects. They had an integral role in designing EcoHouse. A number of community organizations also participated, including PAREI and D Acres of New Hampshire.
Efficiency measures included new insulation and use of integrated concrete forms for foundation repairs. Low-VOC paints, carpet, and drywall were used, as was natural linoleum flooring. Wood flooring was scrap from large projects. Other wood is local and sustainably harvested. Technology includes programmable thermostats, very low-flow shower heads, and dual-flush toilets.
PAREI and NHEC supported student design and installation of a solar hot water system. D Acres of New Hampshire helped organize and run a workshop to establish compost bins at EcoHouse. Permaculture efforts were designed and installed by students studying relationships, perennials, growing food, and closed loop systems.