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St. John's growing greener residences

By Geoff Ash

A newly remodeled Squires house in Paton College opened last week, the most recent in the circuit of residence renovations.

The renovations, which began with Barnes house in 2008, include many upgrades and have proceeded with sustainability in mind.

"With the old system, if you tried to heat one room, you heated five rooms down the hall as well," said Nancy Parsons, assistant director, operations, Housing, Food, and Conference Services (HFCS). "But the new heating and ventilation system will be much more energy efficient, and will make it much easier to control the temperature of each individual room."

The switch from a hot water heating system to an electrical one, as well as the addition of new ventilation systems, will have the largest impact on energy efficiency, according to Ms. Parsons. Other changes, like compact fluorescent light bulbs in every socket, will further decrease energy use and new low-flow plumbing fixtures will serve to reduce water use. Recycling stations will be provided on each floor so that students can do their part, too.

Apart from new electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems, the renovations will provide each house with a complete facelift and improved access to services for students. Every room will have wired and wireless Internet access, as well as cable television access. And for the first time at Memorial, single rooms which previously held a twin bed are being upgraded to double beds, which are a benefit for conference lodgings.

New flooring, furniture and paint, co-ordinated in each house's traditional colors, will provide the pièce de résistance.

Next up: Curtis House.