OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

“GREEN House” to link environmental monitoring, research with residential needs

02/23/2010

BLUE RIVER, Ore. – Oregon State University has received a $348,000 grant to construct a new “GREEN House” at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest – an energy-efficient residential structure that will also serve as a working laboratory and educational outreach facility.

With support from the National Science Foundation, the building will house an expanding community of scientists, writers and educators who work at this experimental forest near Blue River, Ore. Besides being constructed with energy-efficient design, local materials and operated with renewable energy, the facility will have imbedded sensors to monitor such things as its energy usage, air quality and carbon footprint.

The project is titled “Green Research and Education for Ecological Networks,” or GREEN House.

“Students, scientists and local businesses will participate in the design and building construction, and its performance will be compared to existing residential and laboratory buildings,” said Mark Schulze, OSU director of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. “Comparative data will be incorporated into research and teaching modules, and students, researchers and the public can study the house and its environment from many perspectives.”

“Scientists, writers and educators who stay there will help us explore human-environment connections, and be a part of a multifaceted education program,” said Schulze.  “It will be a showcase of building options and alternatives.”

Sherri Johnson, lead scientist of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest with the USDA Forest Service, said that “the facility is needed because of expanding use of this experimental forest, not only by scientists but also writers and other scholars.” The new structure will increase housing capacity while providing a way to study links between the built and natural landscape, she said, and could become a model for sustainable building technology in rural areas.

The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest was established in 1948 by the Forest Service and is managed cooperatively by OSU, the Willamette National Forest and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. With a mission to conduct basic and applied research on forests, streams, climate and ecosystem science, it’s one of 80 sites in the USFS Experimental Forest and Range Network, and one of 26 sites in the NSF’s Long Term Ecological Research Network.

The NSF grant was made through the Improvements in Facilities, Communications, and Equipment at Biological Field Stations and Marine Laboratories Program.