Student Residence Architecture: Integrating Technology and Sustainability for the Next Generation of Campus Living

Student housing is an essential part of the campus lifestyle. For millions of young people going to college and other facilities of higher learning, living on campus is the safest and most exciting way to get the full experience. Students are thrown into a world of classes and classmates, living in a hallway of fellow students to fend for themselves under the watchful eye of their RAs and school administration. We all know about the challenges of historic dorms. However, new student housing architecture has the potential to look toward the future. And the future is bright.

Two female college students moving into their new apartment - student housing architecture.

Incorporating modern designs into your student housing.

Modern technology and sustainability in construction give you the potential to design student dorms that will be cutting-edge in amenities while lowering the overall carbon footprint for hundreds of students at a time.

Student housing architecture also makes it possible to create beautiful, innovative, and fun-to-live-in dorms that are at once energy-efficient, sustainable, and promote an engaged student lifestyle. Let’s explore some of the features you will want to see in your next dormitory design.

Integral LED Lighting

Lighting upgrades have been a widespread issue in older buildings. This is especially true in dormitories where student health and safety is a concern. Older light fixtures have risks that modern, LED fixtures inherently do not. LEDs require significantly less electricity for the same amount of illumination for each bulb and bar. Both private dorm room lighting and larger fixtures in hallways and shared spaces can be installed as LED fixtures from the start.

LEDs also illuminate at a far lower temperature than both gas and filament bulbs of the past. This makes them safer and more efficient for student housing design.

USB Outlets and Charging By Beds and Desks

Modern power outlets should all include at least one USB port. In fact, USBs are only 5v by nature. This means they require almost no power compared to a standard outlet. Almost every device that modern students will bring with them to the dorm also uses USB power. Both USB C and USB A ports are extremely useful in cutting-edge dormitory design.

These USB outlets can serve as charge ports for phones, laptops, and tablets at dormitory desks and next to student beds in every room. They are equally useful when strategically placed in shared spaces where study and entertainment are sure to take place.

Tankless Water Heaters for Dormitory Showers

Old-fashioned tank water heaters are power-hungry and inefficient when it comes to dormitory life. In dorms, there are long hours of class time where no students are showering. There are also rush times when all the students want to shower in the morning before classes and in the evening before bed. This makes tankless or on-demand water heaters far more efficient. Why waste heat cycles in the middle of the day, while also regularly running out of hot water during rush times?

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand as it passes through the machine. This way, students can hit the showers in waves and have an equally hot shower without any wasted energy.

Energy-Efficient Laundry Rooms and Dorm Kitchens

Young woman doing her laundry in her student housing - including laundry rooms in your student housing architecture.

Providing energy-efficient laundry rooms for students.

Appliance design has come a long way in the last two decades. Energy efficiency and water conservation are both far easier to achieve with consumer and commercial-grade appliances typically installed in student housing design.

Build your student laundry room with the latest in efficient washers and dryers. Design your student kitchens with energy-efficient stoves, ovens, and smaller appliances. You may even be able to find brands that offer a mobile app that sends students alerts when their laundry or lasagna is done.

Keypad Smart Locks on All Dorm Doors

Dormitory security potential has also experienced a serious upgrade. Smart lock technology makes it possible to give each student resident their own key code that will work on all external doors and on their internal door exclusively. This is done using keypad smart locks that can be programmed from a central account in the student housing authority.

Install a smart lock on every dormitory door with unique keycodes only known to those students assigned to each room. Unlike room keys and student IDs, no one can steal these codes. They can also be easily changed at any time if a student is worried that their code is being used by someone else.

Built-In Wireless Signal Repeaters

Female student studying in her dorm room using a laptop - improving connectivity in your student housing architecture.

Enhancing students’ Wi-Fi connectivity.

Old dorms built out of brick and cinderblock have notoriously poor signal. This is because they were built before the wireless signal was an important factor and before signal resistance was something we considered an architectural decision. Today, however, students rely on strong Wi-Fi and cellular signal. They use them to complete their assignments in the dormitory, connect to online resources, and even tune into live-streamed classes.

The first step is to design student housing architecture with more signal-conductive materials. However, we can also enhance students’ connectivity by installing built-in wireless signal repeaters throughout the dormitory. This helps ensure that every floor has the strong signal they need to complete their digital classwork.

Recycling and Trash Chutes on Every Floor

Recycling has been an important part of dormitory life for decades. This is because students often live on non-perishable and disposable packaged foods and drinks. However, they will not typically go too far to find a recycling bin if a trashcan is closeby. The solution is to provide every dorm room with both a recycle and trash bin. This way, you can make recycling easy with a chute in every hallway.

When every floor and hall has both a recycling and trash chute that easily routes student debris to a sorted outflow, students will be more diligent about recycling and clearing their rubbish. Also, chutes are fun, and many students will not have had access to a trash chute before. They will use them just for the amusement of chucking things down to the basement.

Filtered Water Dispensers in the Halls

You can also reduce the need for recyclable bottles by providing students with access to fresh water outside the bathroom. Add a filtered water dispenser with a large water bottle-sized aperture in each hallway. This will encourage students to bring their own reusable water bottles – an already popular trend that many students prefer to stay hydrated on campus – and good-tasting water to fill them with.

Bicycle Racks and Charge Ports in the Foyers

Lastly, promote bicycle and electric bicycle use on campus instead of cars by providing a space for bike storage indoors.

College student riding her bike outside of her apartment - student housing architecture innovations.

Promoting the use of bicycles instead of vehicles

Many students today are trading their vehicles and hard-to-find parking spaces for bicycles and powered bikes. This is a practical choice that should be rewarded with safe and convenient bicycle storage. Instead of asking students to chain up their bikes outside or cramped in their dorm rooms, give your lobby a mud-resistant entryway where they can hang from racks on the wall.

Let students book a specific rack or make sure there are enough racks for each room. You may also provide a few charge ports for electric bicycles to encourage their use instead of vehicles to get around and off campus.

Student Housing Architecture for a New Generation

The next generation of students is more immersed in both technology and sustainability. They will immediately recognize the value of cutting-edge dorm rooms with student residence architectural design that promotes a future-ready lifestyle. From USB ports in the power outlets to electric bicycle storage in the foyer, your future students will feel enriched by the architectural excellence you embrace today.

Ted Trout Architects can take your student housing architecture to a new level for the next generation with considerate high-tech and sustainable design. Contact us today to learn more.