The village green


Missouri S&T’s Dan Oerther, the John and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Engineering, is committed to sustainable living, along with his wife Sarah and their son Barney. They live in one of four solar-powered homes designed and built by Missouri S&T students.

Missouri S&T environmental engineering professor Dan Oerther and his family want to show the campus and community how to live intentionally. And they have the perfect place for it.

The Oerthers – Dan, Sarah and their baby boy Barney – live in one of the four student-designed and -built solar homes located on the western edge of campus, in a neighborhood known as Missouri S&T’s Solar Village.

Members of S&T’s Solar House Team constructed the four homes as part of an international design competition called the Solar Decathlon. Held every two or three years on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the event is designed to show the world that solar-powered living is achievable.

But you don’t have to travel to D.C. to see sustainable living in action. The Oerthers, who live in the 2007 house, are demonstrating the same thing on campus in their 800-square-foot home.

Living in such tight quarters may seem unusual in our world of McMansions. But Dan, the John and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Engineering at S&T, points out that many people around the world live in homes that are much smaller than standard U.S. houses.

In their solar home, the Oerthers are living “intentionally.” By intentional living, they are not only trying to use fewer resources but also be more aware of the environmental and social costs of their everyday choices, from shopping to energy use to transportation.

You can read more about their experiment in intentional living at Sarah’s blog, Choose Intentional Living.

By Andy Careaga


  1. Thanks, Andy for pulling together such a wonderful article. The work that your office has completed over the past month to promote environmental awareness at S&T and beyond is exceptional, and we are truly grateful! Enjoy Earth Day (Friday, April 22, 2011)!

  2. Bonnie Garrison says

    What a great project. Is it possible to tour the homes? Are the designs available for sale to the public?