Ohio Wesleyan Open House Offers Tips on Creating Greener Living Spaces

Learn How to Make Older Homes More Comfortable, Sustainable During Free April 30 Event

Ohio Wesleyan student Melissa Guziak makes thermal curtains for use at the 'Tree House' student residence. She will share other green-living tips at a special April 30 open house. (Photo by Alex Crump '13)

DELAWARE, OHIO – Delaware residents are invited to learn how to make older homes more comfortable and environmentally friendly without breaking the bank during an open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 30 at Ohio Wesleyan University’s “Tree House,” a former single-family-home-turned-student-residence at 104 Oak Hill Ave.

Built in 1895, the Tree House is one of several themed small-living units on the Ohio Wesleyan campus. Its residents are dedicated to sustainable living.

During spring semester, the home underwent several “green” renovations including the additions of water-efficient showerheads, faucets, and toilets; insulating film and thermal curtains to cover single-pane windows; grey-water irrigation systems that use sink water to flush toilets; low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint; blown-in cellulose insulation; and an indoor composting bin.

The renovations were completed using a $2,100 Ohio Wesleyan Theory-to-Practice grant, written by and awarded to student Melissa Guziak, a sophomore from Burlington, Vt., who is pursuing a double major in biology and environmental studies.

Guziak and other student-residents of the Tree House will host the April 30 “Greener Tree House Gala” to share what they learned about making small changes that provide big results in creating older homes that are both resident- and earth-friendly.

“[T]here are many ways of changing a building to be more environmentally friendly, but real impacts are made when people change their mindsets,” Guziak says in explanation of her commitment to holding community open houses to share knowledge. “Educating people, showing them the difference they can make, is essential to getting their support and making change.”

Guziak’s Theory-to-Practice grant also was inspired by her internship with Sean Kinghorn, Ohio Wesleyan’s energy conservation and sustainability coordinator. Kinghorn is working to reduce the university’s environmental footprint by overseeing initiatives such as replacing inefficient light bulbs, programming public printers to default to double-sided printing, and lowering thermostats in unused buildings during winter breaks.

“As time progresses, students [will] have a place to test their own ideas and find new ways to live sustainably,” Guziak says. “The Tree House [will] remain for future students and community members to learn from, an example of the university’s goal of educating students to see themselves as part of a greater community that they can impact.”

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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