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Tour of Freeville Earthship Offered


Two SUNY Cortland graduates have something to teach the SUNY Cortland campus about environmental sustainability.

Chad DeVoe M ’04 and Courtney Coffey DeVoe M ’08 live in an Earthship built primarily from recycled materials. They finished building the extraordinary looking homestead recently.

On Wednesday, April 23, they will roll out the welcome mat for members of the campus community to come explore their extraordinary looking home in Freeville, N.Y.

College community members can come check out the home that day at 4 p.m. Transportation is available for those who need it. Pre-register by emailing Beth Klein, a SUNY Cortland professor of childhood/early childhood education.

The event continues the College’s Green Days 2014, a month-long campus and community celebration of environmental awareness and earth-friendly practices. Formerly known as Sustainability Month, this series of events explores the many diverse ways SUNY Cortland plays a leading role in reducing carbon emissions, improving how resources are used, researching new environmental practices and educating students and the community about climate change.

The Freeville Earthship, which is constructed almost entirely out of recycled materials that include cans, tires and glass bottles, serves as the three-bedroom home for the DeVoes, two schoolteachers who hold master’s degrees in teaching from SUNY Cortland.

Located on a piece of four-acre land, the Earthship, which is a term used for houses built primarily from recycled materials, receives all of its water and heat by natural means. Twelve solar panels and eight batteries supply the power and “it just works,” according to Courtney.

According to their blog, “The Freeville Earthship,” Courtney and Chad have given more than 300 separate tours of their creative, eco-friendly home to schools, groups and individuals. Their blog provides viewers with an inside look on how they maintain their sustainable home and utilize their strictly “green” resources.

Aside from the home’s artistic flare, the DeVoes have proved, through their Earthship, that it is possible to live in a home that can completely sustain itself relying on the earth, sun and air.

The couple’s home also contains a greenhouse, which yields crops of tomatoes and bananas.

The dwelling construction cost was between $150,000 to $200,000.

In April 2013, the DeVoes also opened up their home to the public as a part of SUNY Cortland’s Sustainability Month events. Although the building construction process was far from easy, they love seeing their accomplishments being played out in their artsy dream house.

To learn more about the Freeville Earthship and their sustainable living habits, visit the couple’s blog at

Green Days events will continue through Friday, May 9, with dozens of guest lectures, garden plantings, community cleanups, group discussions, educational tours and hands-on learning activities. Some, like the annual Cortland Blooms festival, are true, community events. Most carry an open invitation to all members of the Cortland community.

For the full schedule of Green Days events, visit the event’s website. If you don’t have this link, go to and select the “Get Involved” link on the left side of the page.