Sustainability Center

The house at 76 Henderson St. is being designed as a sustainability center. On the outside, metal roofing will be used to prevent contamination that occurs from using asphalt shingles. The metal will also allow water to exit from the roof directly into a water collection system located at the base of the house. Meanwhile, the south side of the house will be used to grow kiwi vines.

The front yard will include a garden and patio area. The patio will be constructed using broken concrete, allowing water to infiltrate into the ground. The front yard will also use recycled bathtubs to create worm farms that will be placed underneath raised seedling. Lastly, a brick wall will be constructed using LED lights placed inside of wine bottles.

On the inside, the front part of the house will feature art installations painted by a local artist, as well as a geology mineral display. The main level will also be a gathering space and include several work offices, in addition to an indoor aquaponics demonstration area.

The second level will function as intern housing. Students with a 3.0 GPA or higher at a Pontiac high school will be eligible for a full-ride scholarship at Oakland University in exchange for 10-15 hours of work per week. The upstairs area will also include an office, break room and computer room to increase productivity and benefit the interns in their projects. The second level will also include a deck and greenhouse.

Meanwhile, the lower level of the house will function as a fermented food lab, creating foods such as yogurt, cheese and kombucha. It will also be used to produce microgreens, a form of vegetable greens high in nutrients and antioxidants.

On the outside, the left part of the house will be a biointeractive orchard. Each plant grown will be tolerant to black walnut toxins and thus demonstrate multiple mycorrhizal interactions. In one part of the lot, one hundred raspberry plants will be planted. In another area, strawberries and native plants will be grown alongside turkey tail mushrooms.

In the back of the house, multiple projects have been initiated. On the left side, a concrete slab from the original garage will be used to heat an aquaponics greenhouse system that will be installed over it. The aquaponics system will focus on native fish, producing a greenhouse that will heated between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This project involves many STEM subjects, and will educate people about environmental engineering and other sustainability topics.

Lastly, the right side of the backyard will feature a native fish pond that will pump in an aquaponics raceway that will produce barley grass for our chickens. From there, it will move into a three-tiered wetland filtration system full of different wetland plants and animals, until it finally goes back into the pond. This project will be an example of wetland nutrients cycling.

This area will also include a patio gathering area next to a wood-fired pizza oven, smoker and barbeque. Additionally, a sustainable fire structure has been designed by FPB Studio in Pontiac, based on a Norwegian design. The porous structure will be made out of two-by-fours, with a fire in the center that will heat the rest of the structure.

Sustainability Center