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MUM Sustainable Living Center: Off-the-grid building unique in USA

Maharishi University of Management, USA    Translate This Article
22 April 2010

The walls and roof of the Sustainable Living Center at Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa were raised today, Earth Day, April 22. The new Sustainable Living Center building will set a new standard for green building in America.

The building will be completely off the energy and utility grid. Every feature will exemplify healthy and sustainable green building—and will be geared towards teaching these principles as part of the university's Sustainable Living undergraduate major (B.S. in Sustainable Living).

According to a press release issued by Maharishi University of Management, construction will use all non-toxic materials from local sources (as defined by the Living Building Challenge requirements). All energy will be provided from solar panels on the building and from an outside wind turbine.

Rainwater catchment will be the complete source of the building's water, with purification of drinking water via ultraviolet technology. Wastewater will be treated onsite using a constructed wetland. Natural daylighting will illuminate the entire interior. Geothermal technology will assist with heating and cooling.

An embodiment of sustainability that's feasible and practical
This achievement is remarkable because none of the systems in the building are new or experimental, according to construction manager Dal Loiselle. ''The Sustainable Living Center is being constructed using 'state-of-the-shelf' technologies,'' he said. ''This building proves that we can meet our environmental goals for our built environment with the materials, technologies, and green building protocols we already possess.''

A community oriented toward sustainability
Sustainability has become a major focus at Maharishi University of Management, which has long used techniques for living in harmony with Natural Law, including the Transcendental Meditation technique and other Vedic technologies including Vedic Architecture.

The University has filed a climate action plan to be 100% carbon neutral by 2020 as part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

The city of Fairfield has also taken a strong direction toward sustainability, hiring a sustainability coordinator and moving ahead with various initiatives. In 2009, named Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy as one of the nation's 15 greenest mayors alongside the mayors of New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.

''Our city will benefit enormously by having this building on the campus of MUM as a demonstration of a new standard of design, and [the project] will reinforce our commitment in Fairfield to changing the culture towards a more sustainable future,'' Mayor Malloy said.

The Sustainable Living Center has also benefited from material donations by nationally recognized leaders in green building materials: Gerdau AmeriSteel, Pittsburgh Corning and United States Gypsum Corporation, as well as from Green Building Supply of Fairfield, IA.

A press conference was held today on Earth Day, April 22, at the site of the Sustainable Living Center construction.

Available for media interviews are: MUM Sustainable Living department head David Fisher; construction manager Dal Loiselle; Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy; and associate design architect Jon Lipman.

For more information, please contact:
Marco Sunseri: +1 641-472-7000 x2449.

© Copyright 2010 Maharishi University of Management®

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