Also known as “The Environmental Center.”
The Environmental Center has been built entirely by students and faculty of the Environmental Studies Program. Charles Ford (Emeritus), former director of the Merritt College Environmental Program, and Merritt College students and volunteers began construction on this building in September 1982. California Conservation Corps members and professional crews also worked on the buildings and grounds. Students in the Green Building and Ecological Design course continually add to the buildings. Functions: Environmental Studies Program office space, classroom, laboratory and Watershed Center.
The Center was designed to demonstrate ways to improve homes. Various features of ecological design include heavy insulation and weatherizing; energy-saving replacement windows; high-efficiency lighting and space heating; “passive” solar heating; solar electric photovoltaic panels that power some office equipment; “active” and “passive” solar water heaters; recycled and sustainably-harvested materials such as floor tiles, carpet, cabinetry, countertops, decking, fencing, benches, doors, and windows.
Merritt Environmental Center Self-Guided Tour
Entry Gate Looking South
- Wildlife corridor and wildfire vegetation management Transition Forest from Monterey pine and french broom to native oaks and shrubs.
- Future site of the AgroEcology demonstration plots.
- Low voltage LED temporary path lights.
The column will house an Evapotranspiration irrigation controller which measures moisture and waters only when needed. The drip irrigation system will support the future decorative edible gardens surrounding the house.
- Daylighting control and insulating window treatments.
- High ceiling to demonstrate methods of bringing heat back to lower area.
- Re-used office furniture and equipment saves 2 tons of landfill and 18 tons of waste created in new manufacturing.
- Certified lumber trim from sustained yield forests.
- Native Tan Oak blackboard trim from Mendocino mixed forests helps preserve biodiversity by creating a demand for multiple species.
- Re-cycled content commercial carpet lasts 25 years and small patches can be replaced.
- Temporary radiant electric heat is 5x more efficient than electric forced air.
- Clerestory windows vent heat.
- Thermal Mass floor tiles made from recycled glass.
- South-facing glazing provides winter passive heating.
- Low vent windows and operable skylight vent heat.
- “Skylid” adjusts in summer to shade skylight and in winter to reflect more light and heat into interior.
- Floor covering from non-toxic materials: flax seed oil (linoleum) and jute backing.
- Very low-flow toilet.
- Reused fixtures.
- Long-lasting concrete counter replacement reduces very high embodied energy in cement.
- Reused base cabinet and handles.
- Certified Maple veneer over non-toxic glue particle board cabinet re-facing.
- Solar hot water.
- Greywater drain from sink.
- Wind-up clock.
- Greywater gravel and biofilter system in reused bathtub waters plants.
- Roofwater capture and storage.
- Photovoltaic Inverter and Batteries.
- Insulated Hot Composter makes clean compost in 2 weeks.
- Greenhouse with Living Green Roof and Strawbale Wall with Earth Plaster.
- Living Wall.
- Green Building Materials.
- Small PV system.
Solar Electric and Hot Water Panels
- 4 adjustable Photovoltaic panels and 4 roof panels supply 800 watts of electricity independent of PG&E grid.
Barn to Become Environmental Lab
- Native plants support wildlife, pollinators, and do not require watering, pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizer.
- Trex recycled non-toxic LDPE plastic and wood composite lumber fence used in compression to take advantage of flexible characteristic.
Factor 10+ Stairs and Entry
- Trex, Certified, grown on-site and reused lumber.
- 40% fly ash cement.
- Reused double glazed door and sidelite.
- Stainless fasteners and bolts for easy de-construction and reuse.
- Less toxic treated structural lumber.
- Whole system produces 93% fewer CO2 emissions than standard construction. (This level of waste reduction is required for all nations to live by US standards.)
- Trex edging.
- Crushed recycled concrete water permeable path base.