Students Fund Eco-Friendly Home for Students With Disabilities
May 01, 2007 - News Release
University of Guelph students are funding a $650,000 state-of-the-art lodging house that combines accessibility and green technology.
The 12-person home, located just metres from campus, will be retrofitted in an eco-friendly way for students with physical disabilities.
“This house will be at the forefront in its use of green technology,” said Tom Klein Beernink, housing manager of the Guelph Campus Co-operative, which has partnered with the Central Student Association Affordable Housing Initiative to retrofit the home. “It will also give students with disabilities the chance to live with their fellow students close to campus.”
The official groundbreaking was on Wednesday at 7 College Ave. W. The goal is to have the lodging house complete for students to move in just before the fall semester.
In 2003, undergraduate students voted to donate 87 cents each semester towards a fund that would help create more accessible housing for students, said Klein Beernink. The lodging house is the first project to be funded through these donations. The campus co-op hopes to raise more money through goverment grants and private donations.
The project involves retrofitting the current house on the site to make it completely accessible for students with mobility challenges and visual impairments. The building will also be outfitted with energy-efficient appliances and lighting. A grey-water infrastructure will be installed, which allows for water to be recycled.
“A grey-water system would reuse the water from a shower to flush the toilet, for example,” said Klein Beernink. “There will also be a rainwater collection system installed, which uses harvested rainwater to flush toilets.”
The project also includes building an addition to the house that will feature an elevator and a green roof. Solar panels will be installed on the addition and used to heat nearly all the hot water used in the house, as well as for passive heating and cooling.
Although there is accessible housing on campus, the space is limited, said Klein Beernink. And if students want to live off campus, there are only accessible apartments with single or double bedrooms and they are located a fair distance from campus.
“That can be very isolating if you're living on your own and are far away from campus. Part of the experience of university is living with other students. This lodging house will provide that.”
Tom Klein Beernink
Housing Manager, Guelph Campus Co-operative
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Deirdre Healey, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56982.