New floor designed for eco-conscious students

GOING GREEN: The net-zero water dorm developers (from left to right), Sabina Rakhimbekova, Mirek Miroslav, Vincent Warger, John Pittaluga, James Englehardt, Sebastian Eilert, Tingting Wu, Tianjiao Guo, Cristina Delphus and Ali Habashi, will be working together on a water conservation project in Eaton. Courtesy Joshua Prezant.

The green floor is a go.

Twenty students have been chosen to live in a newly renovated, environmentally-friendly floor in Eaton.

Designed by the UM College of Engineering and funded by the National Science Foundation, “The Water Project,” lead by the group living on the floor, will use technology to reduce energy and water demand and promote sustainable development.

Next semester, 20 undergraduates will begin the four-year project while living in Eaton Residential College and working toward developing a new system for recycling wastewater.

“The goal of the net-zero water dorm is to ultimately bring change to the way people use water where they live by applying cutting-edge technology and research in the area of environmental engineering,” said Vincent Warger, the project’s filter designer and public relations coordinator.

Initial testing and maximization of the treatment process will begin in the fall of 2011 and the system will be fully implemented in January 2012.

The engineering techniques used in this eco-friendly project will include retrofitting the plumbing to create special drinking water taps and a rainwater cistern system on the roof of Eaton.

Students interested in living on the green floor were required to attend mandatory community meetings and will be actively assisting in the creation and implementation of the program. Aside from applying, there are no other requirements to live on the floor.

“We hope that we are making a positive impact on the environment,” said Tianjiao Guo, 23, a Ph.D. candidate and environmental engineering student.

Residents of other special interest housing floors in Eaton believe the new floor will be a great experience.

“Special interest housing is a great way to meet new people who share your same interest, activities and skills,” said Sharif Michael Ahmed, 19, president and creator of Audio Abode, the music special interest housing floor.

Jamie Stephens may be contacted at

View the video piece on the project here: