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For new eco-friendly building, sustainability is in the details
by Global Good News staff writer

Global Good News    Translate This Article
19 June 2012

On an informative tour of the new Sustainable Living Center at Maharishi University of Management architect Jon Lipman explained many of the building's unique features.

In addition to its harmonious integration of Maharishi Vastu architecture with major sustainable elements like photovoltaic panels and walls constructed of local earth, Mr Lipman also highlighted a few details, which, though small, showcase the building's complete commitment to environmental design.

One key to environmentally friendly design, Mr Lipman explained, is efficiency. Using resources efficiently is a key component of sustainability and is especially important in the Sustainable Living Center because the excess energy produced through the photovoltaic panels and wind generator can overflow to power other parts of the university.

Mr Lipman explained that the windows 'are the most thermally efficient windows made in the United States'.

An R-value is a measurement of how much heat a window allows to escape. Double glazed windows traditionally have an R-value of about 2, while a really good window with a vacuum or argon gas in it might have an R-value of 5.

In contrast, the windows in the Sustainable Living Center have an R-value of 10, which makes them at least twice as efficient as conventional windows.

Visitors notice that it is a very quiet building. Mr Lipman explained that this is because fans run at maximum efficiency. All the classrooms are equipped with sensors on the wall which measure the level of carbon dioxide in the air. Only when the carbon dioxide reaches a certain level do the fans come on to circulate fresh air in the building.

Lastly, Mr Lipman highlighted the lights installed for use when daylighting is not an option.

He pointed up to the ceiling and said that though they look vaguely like the fluorescent lights one sees in most commercial buildings, they are in fact LED lights. LED (light emitting diode) lights are superior in terms of both their environmental impact and their quality of light. They also have reduced electromagnetic radiation.

In addition, LED lights frequently last for 20 years. So, though the bulbs are still more expensive than fluorescent lights, when the cost is calculated over the course of their lifetime, they are vastly more economical.

© Copyright 2012 Global Good News®

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