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Maine college builds climate-friendly dorm out of wood » Yale Climate Connections


Today, most large buildings are made of steel and concrete. But at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, a new 12,000-square-foot dorm was built almost entirely of wood.

It’s supported by engineered timber beams, sided and paneled in wood, and insulated with wood fiber from timber and paper manufacturing waste.

Collins: “It feels like you’re surrounded by wood, which is part of the remarkable kind of experience about being in the building.”

Darron Collins, outgoing president of the college, says the building was designed to help protect the climate.

Producing steel generates a lot of climate-warming carbon pollution — whereas wood locks away carbon because trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. And after harvest, new trees can be planted.

Collins: “So being able to use wood over steel has tremendous carbon advantages.”

To minimize the climate impact of powering the building, it was built with airtight walls and windows. And it will get rooftop solar panels this summer.

Collins: “It will produce more energy than it consumes on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis.”

So Collins says it will provide beautiful, comfortable housing for students — without harming the climate.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media


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