Eden Hall Campus
Building a more sustainable and healthy world.
Built from "below the ground up," Eden Hall is an experiential campus that immerses today’s students, children, families, communities and life-long learners in the possibilities of tomorrow. It is a vital, interdisciplinary laboratory designed to support collaboration between leaders and learners, academia and business, and the arts and sciences. Here we develop scalable tools and ideas that will drive data-based decision making across the social, economic, and environmental issues we will all face together, and implement them when applicable to not only exhibit their potential, but also serve as an inspiration for the community.
Eden Hall Campus is home to the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment at Chatham University. It's the embodiment of a commitment Chatham makes every day to support sustainability and environmental education.
Eden Hall is an academic community dedicated to sustainable living and the modeling of sustainable approaches to energy, water, food and agriculture, air quality and climate, and the interaction of natural and built systems.
"Eden Hall is designed to reach a vast set of audiences, to interface with the community, and to bring people to this place. I think that’s part of what makes it such a dynamic environment.”
— Sandy Mendler, principal, Mithun
Over 400 large solar panels generate 126,000 kilowatt hours annually, enough to power 14 homes for a year. Energy that does not get used feeds back into the public electric grid, and Chatham gets an energy credit for the future. Also, each building is monitored to determine energy consumption to see what works and what doesn't in the course of day-to-day activities.
Stormwater is managed by five rain gardens that collect and direct water flow to gravel walkways that make it easier for rainwater to reach the soil below, and a rainwater harvesting system that gathers and cleans the water and then uses it for crop irrigation. Eden Hall also treats wastewater onsite through a six-step process that mimics nature. The system can handle up to 6,000 gallons each day.
A working agricultural classroom, Eden Hall allows students to explore critical relationships between food, land, the environment, access, and culture. Encompassing a fully certified organic farm, demonstration garden, and greenhouses (one heated year around by solar-thermal panels), faculty and students demonstrate different sustainable agricultural practices, produce food for the campus, and practice food cultivation and marketing.
Eden Hall's weather station collects data on solar radiation, air temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and leaf wetness. Soil sensors are installed nearby to collect data on items like volumetric water content and electrical conductivity.
Eden Hall functions as a demonstration site, modeling a variety of building standards, energy management techniques, and new ways of sustainable living. Buildings are constructed to meet LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Platinum certification, and some future buildings are planned to be built to Living Building Challenge standards.
From the start, Eden Hall Campus endeavored to be a fully sustainable campus and community. As a result of what has been built, established, and developed across the campus in a number of sustainable areas, recognition has followed.
Eden Hall was developed within, around, and respectful of its natural setting, an achievement that has garnered industry acclaim in a number of areas.
Chatham University, as a whole, has been committed to advancing sustainability through education, operations, and innovation. And Eden Hall Campus has helped us take that to the next level. Our practices and the campus have garnered international recognition for advances in sustainability.
Scientist. Author. Environmentalist. Pioneer. Student. Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University) graduate Rachel Carson '29 rose to prominence with her book, Silent Spring, as a trailblazing voice questioning the resulting impact of pesticides on people, animals, and the environment. This call to attention was a catalyst for the environmental movement that has helped bring awareness and action to the ecological problems our planet faces. Her inspiration guided Chatham to the creation of Eden Hall Campus, and her work has also served as a catalyst for our and the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment's commitment to advancing sustainability education, implementation, and research. Carson's big thinking and devotion to improve the world are just two of the qualities we work to bring to life through our students.
Sebastian Mueller (1860-1938) was a man of unquestionable energy and dedication. He came to Pittsburgh from his native Germany in 1884, at the age of 24, to work for his cousin Henry J. Heinz in his fledgling food processing operation. Mr. Mueller spent more than five decades working for "The House of Heinz" and while there won the respect and gratitude of not only the company's founder, but also its legion of working women. Having no heirs, Mr. Mueller willed his entire estate, including his summer home (now Eden Hall Campus) to benefit women by serving as a vacation and respite destination for working women of western Pennsylvania. In 2008, the Eden Hall Foundation donated the farm to Chatham University to expand its efforts in sustainability practice and education.
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