MTU's Sustainability Demonstration House

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  The Tenants 

 Learn about the Tenants here. 

•   •   • Fall 2020/Spring 2021 •   •   •


Bio: Hi! My name is Rose Turner and I am a graduate student pursuing my M.S. in environmental engineering.  This is my fourth year living in the SDH and I could not be more excited about it!  I was fortunate enough to be one of the first tenants in the house and the former leader of the AEE SDH team.  It’s amazing how much our project has grown over the past three years!  My favorite part about the SDH is the amazing community of students who live here.  I love working on sustainability projects with like-minded individuals who share a passion for reducing our impact on the earth.  My favorite house project is our smart rainwater collection and distribution system.  My interests include educating others on sustainability issues, soilless gardening, water treatment, life cycle analyses, grey-water systems, and a zero-waste lifestyle.

Projects: aquaponics design and construction, outdoor compost bin design and construction, rainwater collection/distribution system design and construction, cold frame construction, bat house workshop, green roof birdhouse workshop, raised-bed garden design and construction, waste reduction drive organizer, SDH social media, website.


Bio: Hey there! My name's Lexi Steve and I’ve been a tenant since Fall 2019. In Fall 2020, it will be my 5th year studying mechanical engineering. I helped start and build the vertical hydroponics system and I love growing food. I have a huge interest in keeping up all of the gardening systems to make sure we have healthy plants. This summer, Rose and I started a YouTube channel to make the house more personal and add a new and informative way to share what the SDH has accomplished.

Projects: hydroponics design and construction, green roof birdhouse workshop, SDH social media.


Bio: Hello, I am one of the tenants of the SDH, and am very excited to be a part of the community in the house. I enjoy helping the house reach out to the community, and teach about ways to help mitigate our impact on the environment. I also enjoy foraging, and growing my own food. There is nothing more sweeter than finding a ripe thimbleberry, or blueberry, in the wild, literally! Mushroom foraging has always interested me, although, I have yet to muster the courage to eat one I pick in the wild myself. However, I greatly enjoy cataloging what I find, and learning classifications of different species, and genera, of these mycological wonders. I recently found a stinkhorn after 15 miles of hiking along the pictured rocks trail, and it was easily the best part of my trip, and the best feature of my catalog.

Projects: Fungi Project: A solution to compost in the frozen Upper Peninsula


Bio: My name is Alexis and I am a graduate student pursuing my M.S. in Environmental & Energy Policy. I am a researcher with Michigan Tech’s Open Sustainability Technology Lab and am completing my thesis work in agrivoltaics. My personal sustainability interests revolve around decentralized renewable energy, home-growing initiatives, zero-waste measures, as well as community outreach and education. This summer I had the opportunity to manage the outdoor raised-bed garden and look forward to designing our first vermicompost project! I am also eager to learn how to repurpose the HDPE waste we produce in the house through our in-house recycling system. I am happy to be here and happy to be cultivating relationships that are grounded in shared philosophies & commitment to environmental stewardship. Reducing my personal impact on Earth is a lifelong commitment, and as stated by the United Nations report “Our Common Future,” I believe we have the power to reconcile human affairs with natural laws and to thrive in the process. When I am not enjoying the beautiful SDH with my awesome sustainability friends, you can find me mountain biking, backpacking, and kayaking around the Keweenaw.

Projects:raised-bed garden, vermicompost design, in-house plastic recycling, Keweenaw Waste Reduction Drive


Bio:Hey! My name is Chris Norton. This is my first year at the SDH and I am a junior pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer Science. This semester I am in charge of making the SDH website, HDPE plastic recycling program, as well as finding a way to recycle 3D prints. In my free time, I like to cook and make kombucha. I also love the outdoors and will find any excuse to be outside and do something active. So far I love living in the house and have had a lot of fun so far working with my housemates. I am excited about what we will accomplish in our sustainability projects and how these might impact the surrounding communities!

Projects: Website, HDPE and 3D print recycling, mini wind turbines, and grey water.


Bio:Hi! I’m Sammy. I'm currently a sophomore here at Tech pursuing a degree in Sustainability Science and Society. This summer I worked on a research project that examines policy innovation labs and how they work within communities to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. My specific interests in Sustainability Science includes agriculture, and working within communities to come up with sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. This is my 1st year at the Sustainability Demonstrations house and the up-coming projects I will be working on include repurposing HDPE waste, and researching how to change Houghton county grey water policy. I am also looking forward to maintaining the house's hydro and aquaponic systems. At the house, my personal goals are to reduce my ecological footprint and to work together with the other awesome tenants to reduce our waste output and come up with creative activities to increase our public outreach. In my free time, I enjoy running along the canal, skiing at the tech trails, and going on roadtrips up the Keweenaw.

Projects:Grey water

        •   •   • Past Tenants: Fall 2019/Spring 2020 •   •   •


Bio: Hi! My name is Sophia Jensen and I just graduated in Spring 2020 with my Bachelors in Computer Science. I lived in the SDH for three semesters and learned a lot about sustainability in such a short time, not just through house projects but also through the curiosity it instilled in me to learn beyond them. My favorite project in the house is the solar energy system because I think it's remarkable to have a personal, clean, and renewable energy source. I have helped out with a variety of house projects, but the one I was most personally involved in was creating our own website. My interests in sustainability include clean energy systems, energy efficiency, tiny homes, off grid homes, and passive houses.

Projects: Website, mini greenhouse workshop, green roof birdhouse workshop, solar energy system.


Bio: It was a difficult decision for me to choose to live in the SDH because I hadn’t lived with a group of people before, and I wasn’t sure how much time I would be able to commit to projects. However, it turned out to be the best decision I made at MTU. My housemates became some of my best friends and the house always had a positive and supportive atmosphere, projects were fun and I enjoyed the time I spent on them. I learned a lot about sustainability in ways that I am carrying to my life beyond college. The hardest part is how much I am going to miss the house and all of my housemates. I lived in the SDH as a tenant my final year at MTU, and I was an active member of the AEE SDH team the year prior. I graduated in spring 2020, and I am currently employed with AECOM Traverse City, working as an engineer in their transportation engineering division. I love learning about nature, particularly conservation, forest ecology and restoration, and trees. My favorite hobbies are exploring, hiking, and camping. In my free time I play hockey, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and go for runs.

Projects: Bat house workshop, green roof birdhouse workshop, cold frame design and construction, hydroponics system construction, aquaponics system construction, in-house plastic recycling, landscaping.


Bio: Hello! My name is Matt Reich, and I had the pleasure of living at the SDH during the 2019-2020 year before taking a 15-month co-op at TC Transcontinental. I am studying materials science, and am really interested in additive manufacturing and the future of sustainable plastics. While at the SDH, I worked on developing an in-house recycling system to directly repurpose the HDPE waste produced at the house. We were able to successfully turn used milk jugs into the room numbers for all the tenants. Other than school, I like to stay active; spending a lot of my time running, longboarding and hiking. I’m also a photographer, I like to read, and I like to go adventuring to new places. Living at the SDH was a great opportunity to learn how to live sustainably, and it helped having so many great people to live with. I want to bring all the sustainable habits I learned at the SDH into my own house one day, and live as sustainably as possible.

Projects: In-house plastic recycling, green roof birdhouse workshop, moss lawn experiments, house photography.