Sustainability at Berea College

berea-eco-village-dormsSustainability is at the core of day-to-day life for Berea – with the new residence simply the latest innovation to support the college’s deep commitment to Learning, Labor and Service.

A belief in green living, too, stems from one of our institutional Great Commitments, characterized by “plain living, pride in labor well done, zest for learning, high personal standards, and concern for the welfare of others.” Further, our focus on sustainability speaks to how individuals, communities, and societies may coexist in a manner that maintains social justice, environmental integrity, and economic well-being today and for future generations.

Among the other sustainably-designed and -renovated buildings at Berea College:

The Ecovillage, an ecologically-sustainable residential and learning complex designed to meet housing needs for student families, childcare for campus children, and provide a living/labor opportunity for students interested in sustainability. Ecovillage apartments feature solar tubes and compact fluorescent lighting, low-flow toilets and showerheads, low-VOC carpets and paints, ceiling fans, and outdoor clotheslines for drying clothes. This complex not far from campus also includes individual garden plots, raised garden beds and a permaculture “food forest” for use by all residents.

Also located at the Ecovillage, our SENS House highlights special features such as a timber frame from college-harvested wood, natural building techniques, a composting toilet, and a net-metering solar electric system

Ecological Renovations at Berea College since 1996 have placed a high priority on the use of sustainable design principles for all campus building renovations and energy retrofits. The college has adopted the minimum LEED Silver criteria for all campus renovations without undergoing the official certification for every building. Over the last decade, Berea has completed more than $124 million worth of renovations with numerous green building and energy-efficient features.

Earning LEED Gold for its full renovation in 2010, Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant became the first LEED-certified hotel in Kentucky. In particular, the work focused on water and energy efficiency, materials and construction methods, indoor environmental quality, use of recycled and regional materials and for innovation in design processes.

In 2004, Berea’s Lincoln Hall gained LEED Silver status as the first LEED-certified building in the state. As the administrative building for the college, Lincoln needed extensive repairs after the interior of building collapsed. The use of sustainable design and construction techniques transformed this space into an open atrium that functions both as a stack ventilator and daylighting feature. Other green elements of the project included building materials with recycled and/or low-VOC content, reuse of 75% of the existing structure, and diversion of more than 50% of demolition/construction debris from the landfill.

Visit Berea College Sustainability for still more on campus Initiatives, Operations & Resources.

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