Berea College Ecovillage

Last updated: December 9, 2012 (2 years ago)

Listing created on: March 14, 2005

Berea College Ecovillage

(Berea, Kentucky, United States)

  • Status: Established
  • Started Planning: 2001
  • Start Living Together: 2003
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Website address:
  • Contact Name: Richard Olson
  • Phone: 859-985-3593
  • Address:
    CPO 1921
    Berea, Kentucky, 40404
    United States
  • Visitor Process

    Visitors accepted: Yes
    Just contact us as far in advance as possible.

  • Membership Process

    Open to new Members: Yes
    Must be Berea College students or spouse of a BC student.

Mission Statement:

ecological design

Community Description:

Berea College Ecovillage is an ecologically-designed residential and learning complex for Berea College students who are married or are single parents.
In addition to 50 townhouse apartments and a state-of-the-art child development and daycare center, the complex includes a commons house, a Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) demonstration house, and landscaping features such as vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and a permaculture food forest.
The Ecovillage uses 50% less energy and water than conventional residences of this type in this region. Roughly 50% of the waste stream is diverted to recycling, reuse or composting.
The ecovillage incorporates a wide range of “green design” elements including construction with SIPS panels, ground-based heat pumps for space heating and cooling, rooftop capture of rainwater for irrigation, passive solar gain, and the use of clotheslines.
The SENS House is a net producer of electricity, operates totally on rain water, uses solar water heating, and has no central heating or cooling. Greywater is treated by an ecological machine and used to irrigate crops in an attached greenhouse. The adjacent aquaponics facility raises catfish, tilapia, and vegetables in a recirculating system that integrates aquaculture and hydroponics.


  • Adult Members: 120
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes

Social Factors


  • Decision Making: By a board, council, group of elders, or leadership group
  • Identified Leader: Yes
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments: A staff member lives on site.

    A committee of faculty and staff oversees ecovillage operations.

    BC is responsible for administration of the Ecovillage.

Land and Buildings

  • Area: 5 acres
  • Land owned by: Another form of Non-profit
  • Current Number of Residences: 50
  • Additional Comments: Berea College

    Townhouse apartments, many of the units share walls.

Labor and Money

  • Shared Income: Members have completely independent finances
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: No
  • Required Labor Contribution: 0


  • Additional Comments: All BC students are required to participate in the College’s Labor Program, which comes out to 140 hrs/semester.



  • Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%


  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Not at all important – people may eat however they individually choose.
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)


  • Tobacco Use: No~ this community does not permit tobacco use.


Photo Gallery

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
Bryan Bowan Architects California Cohousing International Communes Desk ICSA NICA Wolf Creek Lodge