Living Lab Research

Below you'll find current student research for the Living Laboratory. For more information on how to get involved, visit the participate page.


Anerobic Digesters (Craig Criddle)
Facilities for two Green Dorm digesters will provide an opportunity to assess the effects of different operating conditions on small-scale energy recovery from domestic wastewater (black water, potentially including food scraps). A base configuration of two well-mixed anaerobic digesters is proposed.   This configuration would be modifiable: when the reactors are operated without mixing, they become septic tanks; when they are operated with sidestream filtration, they are membrane bioreactors.   For each of these systems, a wide variety of operational conditions may be evaluated, including temperature, nature of the feed (± food scraps, ±urine), and levels of buffer addition (pH) by measuring concentrations of indicator organisms or pathogens in the recovered water before and after treatment.

Blackwater Energy Recovery (Pascal Mues)
In support of the Anaerobic Digester design process, data on row house blackwater production have been aggregated and scaled to provide predictions of potentially recoverable energy and necessary digester size. Additionally, performance data have been collected on the most likely initial method for that energy recovery, a Stirling-cycle turbine driven by digester-produced methane and powering a generator, and an appropriately sized commercially available unit found. Finally, the recoverable-energy prediction has been recalculated for the case of using food scraps from the nearby Florence Moore dining hall, thereby giving the digesters the potential to contribute a significant fraction of the building's heating and electrical supply.
Ultra Low Flow Shower Head Preference Testing (Jonas Ketterle)
This project is testing a selection of ultra-low-flow showerheads (1.5 gpm – 2.4 gpm) to compare their performance with the currently mandated 2.5 gpm low-flow showerheads installed in Stanford dorms. Student feedback will be used to choose ultra-low-flow showerheads with widely acceptable performance for use in the green dorm. Reduction from 2.5 gpm to 2.0 gpm can reduce water use in the green dorm by over 1000 gallons per week, and also save energy needed to heat that water.
Green Roofs (David Sheu)
Green roofs have been chosen for their benefits to the building itself (temperature buffering, UV shock reduction) as well as its surroundings (reducing the urban heat island effect, storm water retention). Oftentimes, however, green roofs must compete with solar panels for roof space. This experiment tests the effect of green roof evapotranspiration with photovoltaic cell performance. Symbiosis between the two could provide an extra incentive to include both features on a project.
Shower Use Profiling (Jonas Ketterle)
Since showering is the primary demand for hot water in the green dorm, understanding what time shower loads are and how much students shower is very important for planning the solar water heating array. At the current standard of 2.5gpm showerheads, the green dorm would use 5800 gallons of water per week for showering; this averages out to 18 gallons per student per day. The average shower length was 9 minutes, ranging from 3-30 minutes, with an average temperature of 107.5 *F. The results of this experiment are being used to model green dorm hot water demand and efforts to reduce shower water consumption.

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