Sustainable Buildings

Buildings at College of the Atlantic reflect the college's commitment to sustainability. Of the eight residences on campus, four were historically summer cottages. The remaining four dorms, Blair Tyson and the Kathryn W. Davis Student Residence Village, were more recently built with sustainability in mind. Blair Tyson features sustainably harvested wood, bathrooms with water-conserving fixtures, including low-consumption toilets, and a full community kitchen in each section reducing the need for individual mini-fridges and microwaves. 
The newest and "greenest" buildings on campus are the Kathryn W. Davis Student Residences, featuring the campus's most recent sustainable innovations:

  • Heat and domestic hot water are supplied by a centralized wood pellet boiler burning a renewable fuel manufactured in Maine. 
  • Fresh air is provided to the living spaces through a heat recovery ventilation system that tempers incoming cold air by preheating it with outgoing warm air. 
  • Walls are packed with twelve inches of insulation made from recycled cellulose. Just as the walls retain heat in winter, in summer the buildings stay comfortably cool. 
  • Residences are oriented to utilize passive solar energy and incorporate “light shelf” technology that directs natural light to interior spaces. 
  • Showers have a heat recovery system that uses gray water from shower and sink drains to temper incoming cold water, thereby reducing the amount of hot water needed.
  • Light fixtures in the village are either compact fluorescent or LEDs, some with motion sensors that turn off automatically when not needed. 
  • Furniture and fabrics are easy to care for and sustainably manufactured. Interior paint is free of volatile organic compounds to protect indoor air quality. 
  • Each house also features composting toilets serving the second and third floors.

pellet boilerIn Fall 2011, students installed solar panels on the ceramics studio. Energy efficiency was improved at Beech Hill Farm by installing a wind turbine, two separate solar arrays, and a wood pellet heater for the new greenhouse. In addition, an air-to-air heat pump was installed in the farmhouse to supplement two propane heaters and a wood stove. A fall 2011 project provided an opportunity for students to learn about heat pumps, how they work, and what factors to consider when installing them. The heat pump’s performance will be monitored to assess its relative contribution to meeting the heat load of the farmhouse. Students who have participated in these projects want to encourage more students to become involved, so they can learn about energy and how to use it efficiently.

Campus Landscape

COA's campus and properties are managed in an ecologically sensitive manner, without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides. Our landscape plans and management are based on the overarching campus goals of promoting sustainability, biodiversity, and educational opportunity.

Visit COA


Learn more about our sustainable campus by visiting COA.