Final Report: The Green Dorm: A Sustainable Residence and Living Laboratory for Stanford University

EPA Grant Number: SU832510
Title: The Green Dorm: A Sustainable Residence and Living Laboratory for Stanford University
Investigators: Fischer, Martin , Ayaz, Engin , Billington, Sarah , Boehm, Alexandria , Branch, Elanor , Criddle, Craig C. , Dietrich, Lauren , Freyberg, David L. , Haymaker, John , Hildemann, Lynn M. , Ketterle, Jonas , Kiremidjian, Anne , Klemmer, Scott , Koseff, Jeffrey , Kreiner, Paul , Levis, Phil , Lin, Mike , Luthy, Richard G. , Masters, Gil , Matikainen, Sini , Miranda, Eduardo , Mues, Pascal , Nguyen, Chi , Thompson, Buzz , Verplank, Bill
Institution: Stanford University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2005 through May 30, 2006
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Living Lab research consists of three overarching topics: a collaborative and interdisciplinary research undertaking to reexamine resource flows throughout the building, development, testing, and implementation and sharing of information visualization and process tools to improve interdisciplinary project collaboration endeavors; and a building and systems metering and feedback system to visualize and understand real time resource consumption in order to encourage reductions in negative environmental impact.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Interdisciplinary Research in a Living Laboratory:

Interdisciplinary research and collaboration is synonymous with the concept of the Living Lab. The research focuses around the generation, delivery, use and next use of resources that flow through the building. The seven primary research categories are: water, energy, materials and structure, process, design innovation/aesthetics, nutrients, and monitoring/feedback. These research categories all share four fundamental goals of reducing resource use, harvesting resources more efficiently from the environment and waste products, increasing our awareness of resource use, and documenting our process. Ultimately, this reexamination of our resource use creates improved lifestyles, reduces our daily impact on the planet, and is economically viable.

Researchers include students with various interests and ranging in age from freshmen to second year Masters. These student initiated projects are structured through the class CEE 124/224: Sustainable Development Studio, which provides faculty sponsorship and mentor support. The purpose of the class is two fold: first, to involve students in the design process of the green dorm by providing input for the living lab program and architectural and building systems designs, and second, to provide a structure for student research that will contribute to green dorm development and operation.  The class gathers every week to share research questions and progress.

Collaborative Design Process:

Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) projects require multidisciplinary solutions, yet AEC professionals lack formal methodologies to manage and communicate information and processes among multiple disciplines. The purpose of this research is to define, test and evaluate formal methodologies that will help design teams to effectively, efficiently and enjoyably collaborate and consequently achieve more sustainable products. All these methodologies use the Green Dorm Project as a case study, thus becoming iteratively tested and validated by an ongoing real-life project.

Building and Systems Metering and Feedback:

This research focuses on intuitive visualization of the relationships between buildings, users, and the environment. By making these relationships palpable, we aim to encourage reduced and wiser resource use. Currently we are researching options and beginning to lay a framework for an interconnected building management systems that would enable both user visualization and researcher access to building resource use information. For both scientists and daily building users, thorough knowledge of full-cycle processes and impacts will enable people to become more capable of making environmentally sound decisions.


Lotus Living Laboratory is proud to have: 1) laid the framework for developing a truly interdisciplinary research forum focused on discovering sustainable pathways for meeting basic human needs; 2) developed many tools for enhanced design collaboration and informed decision making, and begun evaluating those tools; and 3) begun research and development for building metering and feedback systems to communicate the relationships between user behavior and building performance.

Student involvement in this interdisciplinary research is stronger than ever before as obstacles to structuring the research have been overcome and funding has been secured for Student Representatives/Research coordinators. Ongoing student research has already identified and begun to explore new energy sources, improved efficiency of resource use, and has begun to improve data collection and resource use visualization. Living Lab research has delivered many exciting results to the administrative Project Team responsible for developing the Green Dorm, and has had significant impact on the direction of building design.

The POP, Narrative, Decision Dashboard, MACDADI and Process Matrix tools have the potential to help stakeholders in all the stages of a design and construction project, such as goal definition, option analysis, option selection and process evaluation. The remaining goal is to develop a well-integrated, user-friendly interactive virtual environment that ensures effective design collaboration among all the stakeholders and ultimately becomes a standard tool for sustainable design in the professional world. Living Lab Researchers are planning to continue work on collaborative design and plan to expand to work with private, non-profit and NGO partners in developing open-source tools for sustainable development.

Supplemental Keywords:

green design, collaboration, communication, metering, feedback, adaptability, ecological planning, building performance, components, high-performance materials, water filtration, fuel cells, photovoltaic, membrane bio-reactors, sensors, feedback, passive solar, orientation, thermal mass, lifecycle, ecological footprint, organic, locally sourced materials, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, Social Science, energy conservation, living laboratory, cleaner production, performance based code compliance, alternative building technology, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, green building design, alternative materials, energy efficiency, engineering, pollution prevention design, environmentally conscious design, College dormitories, socio-technical feedback

Relevant Websites:

Green Dorm Project Exit

P3 Phase II:

The Green Dorm: A Sustainable Residence and Living Laboratory for Stanford University  | 2008 Progress Report  | Final Report