Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

    • Sustainability Theme House
    • Sustainability Theme House
    • On West James Street

    • Sustainability Theme House
    • Sustainability Theme House
    • Yupu Zhao (left) and Shawn Jenkins stand in the doorway of Franklin & Marshall College's Sustainability House on West James Street.

    • Residents of Sustainability House
    • Residents of Sustainability House
    • Students from Sustainability House stand near and on the roof, where the solar array was later installed. On the roof are (left to right) Megan Bressler '11 and Nic Auwaerter '11. On the balcony are (left to right) Kelsey Lerback '11, Samara Valentine '10, Sara Lupolt '11 and Carolyn Wittenbraker '11]

    • Turn Off This Light
    • Turn Off This Light
    • Signs like this are posted around the college's Sustainability House (Richard Hertzler/New Era)

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Living, Learning and Educating

The Sustainability Theme House has two goals: to live communally and minimize environmental impacts, and to offer information to the campus at large.

"Solar power is something people see only as a distant possibility. We want to change that perception through example and education," Samara Valentine '10 said. "Our goal at Sustainability House is to model environmental solutions for the community."

The College has received a $15,000 grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund to install a 300-square-foot solar array on the roof of Sustainability House. The grant aims to promote the use of renewable energy technologies on campus and in the Lancaster community.

“Installing the array on a typical city building allows us to study the real possibilities for solar energy in a community like Lancaster,” said Linda Fritz, chair of the department of physics & astronomy at Franklin & Marshall College.

She helped Sara Lupolt '11 and Samara Valentine '10 write the SEF grant, and together they are worked with Steve Spadafore, electrical engineer with the department of physics & astronomy, to design and install the array.

See statistics on how much energy the array is producing at any moment here.

The 8,643 square feet house, which contains 18 bedrooms, a common room, two kitchens and four bathrooms, consumes an average of 75 kilowatt-hours per day. The students try to conserve electricity as much as possible.