Berea College Ecovillage

Last updated: December 9, 2012 (3 years ago)

Listing created on: March 14, 2005

Berea College Ecovillage

(Berea, Kentucky, United States)

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.



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

    Townhouse apartments, many of the units share walls.


  • Adult Members: 120
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process: Just contact us as far in advance as possible.
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process: Must be Berea College students or spouse of a BC student.


  • 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.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: No
  • Shared Income: Members have completely independent finances
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Additional Comments: All BC students are required to participate in the College’s Labor Program, which comes out to 140 hrs/semester.

Sustainability Practices

  • Current food produced: Up to 25%


  • Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Not at all important – people may eat however they individually choose.
  • 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