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New Residents Make Improvements to Sustainable Living House

Posted: Sep 12, 2012 7:31 PM by Amy Couch
Updated: Sep 17, 2012 12:38 PM

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COLUMBIA- Six new residents at the Sustainahouse are working even harder than their predecessors to keep the utilities down.

"We like the challenge. We want to keep the utilities below or at what last year's residents set the bar at. So far, it's been below," said Mizzou junior Abigail Keel.

Last year, the former residents paid $59 per month for electricity and $13 per month for water. This year they are paying half of that.

Sustainahouse is a project of Sustain Mizzou located on 210 North College Avenue. The house enables residents to engage in a year-long research project in order to see how they can live more eco-friendly.

The new residents have made some changes to the 90-year old house. They added a chicken coup out back and started a compost pile in the backyard as well.

"The chickens are kind of annoying. They've escaped on me a couple of times and I've had to chase them all over the yard, but besides that they're pretty easy to take care of," said Mizzou junior Enrique Mejia.

They've also reduced their electricity bills by unplugging all their appliances when not in use, using only one light bulb in each lamp, and not using as many lights.

"We basically live in the dark. Our neighbors think that nobody is ever home because we don't leave the lights on," said Mizzou grad student Grace Rathert.

Another thing that they have chosen to do differently is to run the dishwasher.

"We've found that it's more efficient and uses less water to run the dishwasher, than to do the dishes by hand," said Keel.

The new residents of the Sustainahouse have cut down on their electricity bill by not using the dryer to dry their clothes, instead letting them air dry.

"That's been the most difficult change for me. Because I was always used to just throwing my clothes in the dryer after the washer. But now I have to be extra conscious of when I need my clothes dry by," said Mizzou junior Cade Cleavelin.

When it comes to the heat, the residents were split on the decision to turn the air conditioning off.

"Yeah, it's just hot. You learn to sweat. Plus, it gives us something to bond over," said Keel.

"I wasn't too happy about that decision, but I did it for the good of the environment and to set an example," said Mejia.

This is the second year that Sustain Mizzou has chosen residents to live in the house.


(Amanda Sohaney/KOMU)

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