A new kind of social experiment in the works at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) aims to demonstrate how energy-efficient dormitory design can translate into long-term savings, according to a recent article in Architect magazine.

A pair of dormitories drafted by Dirk Denison Architects will provide an additional 420 new beds. Though identical in structure, one building will incorporate enough green-building features to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating, while the other will include more eco-friendly technologies looking to achieve a platinum rating. The energy output in both buildings will be monitored and compared, and any findings will be taken into consideration for future construction.

Both buildings will rely on solar positioning and mixed-use ventilation systems, coupled with an exterior shell designed to trap warm or cool air, depending on the season. The platinum building will include 800 square feet of photovoltaic (PV) rooftop slides that will cul-tivate roughly 2 percent of the unit’s energy. The PV panels and four rooftop turbines will generate hot water for the bathrooms as well as energy for other assorted heating and cooling needs.

A visual representation of individual energy usage involving an electronic fish tank was designed by founder Dirk Denison and his team and will be installed in the building’s lobby.

“It will create this event where everyone can find their fish and compare it to everyone else’s,” Denison said. “I think what we’re going to find is that it is not giving them information about their own use, but on other people’s in comparison, that is the crux.”