Case Study: University of Tampa

In Bedroom, Blog, case study, Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse, solid wood, Wood is Good by Morgan Dix

Summary: In 2010, DCI started working with the University of Tampa. Over the last 11 years, we’ve upgraded the design standard across the UT campus upgrading 10 residence halls and 4,430 beds, including Vaughn Hall next year.

Furniture: Bunkable Bed, Adjustable Height Bed, Tall Bed End, Mattress, Wardrobe, Pedestal Desk, Three Drawer Chest.

Wood: Solid Maple, Natural Finish

University of Tampa

The University of Tampa is a medium-sized private university in Tampa, FL with 9,600 graduate and undergraduate students. A large percentage of students live on campus. And the school boasts $700 million in new construction completed or underway since 1998.

DCI is honored to be part of UT’s robust story of growth and excellence. We were originally invited by the University’s design firm to compete on a new project. 

Upgrading the Campus Design Standard

university of Tampa dorm furniture

The process was competitive and among five competing furniture makers, DCI won the contract. One of the key criteria that distinguished DCI from the competition was our vertical integration—we own our own supply chain—and FSC Certification.

Winning that contract solidified DCI as a standardized vendor at UT.

Since the initial award, UT and DCI have built a strong partnership averaging 1-3 projects each year. In the process, we’ve slowly but surely upgraded the design standard across campus.


Because the University of Tampa has such a strong commitment to sustainability, they choose solid maple wood furniture with a natural finish. This is one of our most sustainable solutions.

How is it sustainable? 

First, solid wood is the most sustainable building material for furniture. Wood a renewable resource. It replenishes itself naturally without any external inputs. 

Unlike laminates and man made wood, real wood requires no extra energy to produce and contributes no new net carbon to the atmosphere. On the contrary, your solid wood furniture stores carbon until it naturally decomposes. 

And in northern Vermont and New Hampshire, where we harvest our wood, reforestation happens at twice the rate of cutting. 

Second, we build our solid wood furniture based on circular design principles. That means that at the end of its useful life, we can reclaim, reuse, and repurpose almost all of the furniture. We have a robust end of life program which includes a buyback program and a removal and repurposing/recycling program.

Third, we use every part of the log and nothing goes to waste. DCI has a zero waste policy. And all our wood waste fuels the heat that powers our factory, offices, and wood kilns. DCI recently won over $1.5m in grants to upgrade our renewable energy system allowing us to generate our own electricity as well.

All these factors ensure that the University of Tampa enjoys furniture with the lightest possible carbon footprint and environmental impact.

[Photo Copyright via Flickr CC: Distinguished Reflections]