Rice Living Lab

Rice has a long history of connecting the classroom and the physical campus to study sustainability challenges, incubate ideas, and pilot solutions. We call this the “Rice Living Lab”.

Many of Rice’s sustainability success stories can be traced to the living lab program. Students who participate are given the opportunity to develop real solutions to real problems.

The primary course devoted to the campus living lab concept is ENST 302/SOCI 304 Environmental Issues: Rice into the Future. This course, led by the Executive Director of Rice’s sustainability program, focuses specifically on campus-oriented sustainability projects.

Several other courses regularly engage the sustainability office on campus-oriented projects. These include but are not limited to:

  • ARCH 322/622: Case Studies in Sustainability: The Regenerative Repositioning of New or Existing Rice Campus Buildings
  • CEVE 307/507: Energy and the Environment
  • CHBE 281/ENST 281: Engineering Solutions for Sustainable Communities
  • EBIO 324: Conservation Biology Lab
  • ENGI 120: Introduction to Engineering Design

Lessons and insights from the Rice Living Lab experience were featured in an essay by Richard Johnson and Elizabeth Long entitled “A Decade of Lessons from Connecting Campus Greening with the Classroom at Rice University,” published in the 2014 book Teaching Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences, edited by Dr. Wendy Petersen-Boring and Dr. William Forbes.

Faculty or students wishing to connect the Rice campus to their classroom experience are invited to contact Richard Johnson at sustainability@rice.edu.