ASHLAND, WIS. — Dorm life is a little different for 90 students at Northland College: their "living laboratory" features a 120-foot-tall wind generator, solar panels, recycled furniture and waterless toilets.
The small college near Lake Superior touts its $4.1 million Environmental Living and Learning Center as one of the most advanced "green" residence halls in the United States.
The dorm opened in 1998. About 8 percent of its electricity is generated by the 20-kilowatt wind tower and three solar arrays. Fourteen solar panels preheat hot water, cutting those costs nearly 30 percent. Bed frames, desks and bathroom counters are made from recycled milk jugs or soybean hulls and newsprint. Organic-based linoleum has replaced petroleum-based floor vinyl.
Students can grow plants in two greenhouses. Jeremiah Manzer, a senior, says the dorm has made him more ecology-conscious. "I don't even pick up a foam cup," he says. "My parents hate it because I won't use foam in their house."
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