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The Sustainable Living Center, whose construction was a community effort, is already generating as much as 40 times more energy than it is consuming.



Sustainable Living Center sets new standard for sustainable design
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, Achievements
4 May 2012

The Sustainable Living Center at Maharishi University of Management opened its doors on April 20 with a grand opening ceremony and press conference. The Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center is named after MUM Trustee Eric Schwartz and his wife Mary Sue, and MUM alumnus Dr. Steve Guich.

The building is one of the few net-zero energy buildings in the country with respect to both electricity and heating and cooling. Overall, the building will create as much or more energy than it uses. At the opening ceremony the building was generating 40 times the energy it was using.

A rainwater catchment system and onsite natural wastewater treatment will make the building off the grid with respect to water and waste treatment. Gaining independence regarding electricity, heating and cooling will be the final steps to being completely off grid.

“This building demonstrates the concepts that we cover in our classes in our Sustainable Living program,” said Dr. David Fisher, head of the Sustainable Living Department.

The construction of the Center represents a great community effort. Students built the earth blocks that insulate the walls, and Fairfield-based alumni-staffed Ideal Energy installed the photovoltaic array and wind turbine.

“To the students, this building isn’t just a classroom, but a representation of the merging of dreams with reality,” said student Makayla McDonald.

The building currently qualifies for gold LEED certification and once the water and waste systems are completed, the Center will reach the platinum LEED certification. The building also adheres to the principles of Maharishi Vedic Architecture and aspires to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge and Bau Biologie.

“This building is a concrete example of a fundamentally new way of looking at the built environment,” said Lonnie Gamble, assistant professor of sustainable living, “buildings that go beyond being less bad to buildings that, like a tree, give back more than they take.”

The construction of this building represents a significant step in MUM’s long term plans for sustainability, and it also complements the sustainable strategic plan the city of Fairfield adopted in 2008.

“Fairfield is proud to have this building on the campus of Maharishi University of Management, as it serves as a symbol of our creativity and entrepreneurship.” said Mayor Ed Malloy, MUM Trustee. “It validates the work we did to create a sustainable community, and it legitimizes our record as a community with green priorities.”

The Grand Opening of the new MUM Sustainability Center last month wowed press and public attendees alike, resulting in excellent regional and national media coverage in both television and web/newspaper outlets.


© Copyright 2012 Maharishi University of Management




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