The Green Dorm

Ficas Plant

Sure, your dorm room may only be big enough to hold two beds, two desks, and mini-fridge, but for now it’s what you call home. By taking a few simple steps you can create a welcoming space and simultaneously help reduce energy waste on campus. While some of the tips below could certainly fall into the category of common sense, we prefer not to take any for granted. If you have any more to add to the mix, please email us.

Go Natural

  • Lift shades to bring in natural light and switch off overheads
  • Replace all of your halogen and incandescent lights with compact fluorescents
  • Add a few plants to your room. They improve air quality, have been shown to aid in overall mood and stress levels. They’ll also show everyone that you’re compassionate about the earth
  • Considering that around 1/3 of your life is spent asleep, it’s best to purchase organic bedding, which uses materials such as cotton and bamboo that have been grown without pesticides
  • Instead of using a fan to cool your room, open up the window, when possible
  • Avoid air fresheners and air freshener plug-ins as they pollute the air and mask odors instead of getting rid of them

Smart Electronics

Smart Power Strip

  • Take advantage of energy saving computer settings
  • If you have a personal printer, set it to double sided default. If your roommate also has a printer, share just one to save on phantom, or vampire energy loss which occurs when items, such as printers, are plugged in
  • Invest in a Smart Strip power strip to further reduce vampire energy loss
  • Invest in a solar powered charger for small items such as cell phones and ipods
  • Power down your computer before you leave for the day
  • Be sure to switch off the light when you leave you room
  • Instead of bringing your own television, pool money together for one for your floor’s common room. This way, you will significantly cut down on energy usage, and maybe make some new friends. At the end of the year, consider donating it to an organization in need
  • If you feel you must have a mini-fridge, be sure that it’s Energy Star rated, which saves energy

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Stock your room with reusable cups, plates, and silverware
  • Invest in a reusable coffee mug and save 25 cents at coffee shops on campus
  • Encourage your dorm-mates to recycle. If there seem to be additional needs, request more recycling bins
  • Inquire about becoming an EcoRep-At-Large/EcoLiaison
  • Get off the bottle – ditch the plastic water bottles and carry a reusable one, such as a Sigg, Klean Kanteen or one made from Bisphenol A free (BPA) plastic, like those from Camelbak. Bisphenol A is an endocrine disrupter which can cause serious health problems.
  • Donate old office equipment that they can be repurposed, or properly recycled
  • Before you pitch anything from your room, determine if someone else such as Goodwill or Big Brother Big Sister Foundation could use it
  • When you’re ready for a new look, log on to freecycle or Goodwill before heading to a store

Green Purchasing

  • Hopefully you’re making your grandma proud and doing a bit of laundry and cleaning. When shopping, choose ‘Green” companies, such as Ecover, Method, or Seventh Generation, that do not use phosphates, which pollute waters and ruin ecosystems, or petrochemicals, which are made from petroleum or carbon.
  • Multi-task: instead of bringing an alarm clock, ipod and phone, look for one device that can do it all.