Warren House Goes Green

In Summer 2008, Extreme Makeover Home Edition came to Sarah Lawrence—though perhaps not as much physically as philosophically.

Warren House, on Mead Way, re-emerged over the summer as Warren Green, a residence for 13 environmentally minded students chosen by application and interviews with three members of the Sustainability Committee. “They’re going to sign off that they’ll live by rules that the Sustainability Committee comes up with,” says Facilities Director Maureen Gallagher.

These rules include adhering to the mission of the committee: “Minimizing carbon emissions, reducing waste and water use, and recycling, as well as maximizing use of renewable energy and recycled goods.” Renovations to the house included additional insulation, energy-efficient appliances, and solar panels. More important, Gallagher says, are the requirements that residents will need to abide by. Those proposed so far include:

  • Working together as team and maintaining an ecofriendly/aware environment, including buying food and house products as a group to limit unnecessary packaging, and cooking collectively to limit electricity and gas usage.
  • Following specific guidelines for all appliances or systems installed in the house; no small appliances; and each resident must commit to using appliances at off-peak hours as much as possible.
  • Sorting all garbage and recycling and sharing composting duties in a self-contained receptacle on premises.
  • Monitoring electricity usage and turning off and unplugging computers, lamps, music players, electric toothbrushes, and cell phone chargers whenever they are not in use.
  • Using only biodegradable soap and detergents, as well as all-green cleaning products, throughout the house.
  • Organizing three programs each semester about environmental and sustainability issues, educating members of the community about the house, and being open to having periodic tours and visitors.
  • Doing full loads of laundry, using cold water whenever possible, and using a clothesline.
  • Using electric light as little as possible, and using compact fluorescent light bulbs.