The townhouse design of Baker Village—consisting of two-, four- and six-bedroom units, each containing a shared kitchen, living room, bathrooms/shower rooms, single and double bedrooms—reflects the input of students, the possibility of expansion of housing in the future, and Luther's ethic for environmental conservation.
The current phase, providing accommodations for 112 students, may be expanded by another 150 beds, in increments of 20 or 30 bed units. Baker Village was also designed to be a useable facility in the unfortunate circumstance of a sudden drop in student enrollment.
Designed by the BWBR architectural firm and built by Kraus-Anderson, both of St. Paul, Minn., Baker Village expresses Luther's Scandinavian heritage. On the exterior, steeply-sloped roofs, gables, vertically-oriented siding, wide trim boards for doors and windows, and decorative ornaments all evoke the simple, bold images common in Scandinavian architecture. On the interior, simple clean lines, functional spaces, light woodwork, and contemporary furniture continue the Scandinavian theme.
The building frames (exterior and interior walls, floors, ceilings, and roofs) for Baker Village were constructed remotely and shipped to the site, where drywall and finish framing were added to the interior and steel siding and roofing materials to the exterior. This process significantly reduced wood waste for the overall project.
To conserve energy, Baker Village relies on geothermal heating and cooling, using the earth´s temperature (approximately 50 degrees year-round) to provide heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. The system is now powered by a solar panel array consisting of 1,250 separate panels situated at a location close to campus.
Beneath Baker Village, plastic pipes carry a food-grade, biodegradable antifreeze solution that circulates continuously in a closed loop. As the solution travels through the pipe, it picks up heat from the earth that is turned into either warm or cold air (depending on the season) when it reaches the heat pumps located inside each unit. Excess energy produced through the process also generates 60 percent of the hot running water for the village.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), geothermal heat pumps reduce energy consumption—and corresponding emissions—by more than 40 percent compared to standard air-source heat pumps and by more than 70 percent compared to electric heating and standard air-conditioning equipment.