“There’s no other building like this going up in the nation, or in the world for that matter, that we know of.”

MUM to Erect Walls of New Off-the-Grid Building on Earth Day

Sustainable Living Center Will Be Unique in the Country

Press Conference and Earth Day Event Scheduled for 12:45 p.m. April 22

On Earth Day, April 22, the walls and the roof will go up on Maharishi University of Management’s new Sustainable Living Center — a building that will set a new standard for green building in America by being completely off the grid with respect to electricity, heating and cooling, water, and waste.

The Sustainable Living Center has been designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the highest standard for sustainable design and green building in the world. It will be one of the first three to achieve this. And it will be unique because it will be the first to combine that standard with the standards of LEED Platinum certification, Building Biology, and Maharishi Vedic Architecture.

“There’s no other building like this going up in the nation, or in the world for that matter, that we know of,” said nationally known green building expert Mike Nicklas, who co-designed the building and whose company Innovative Design has designed over 4000 buildings that use renewable energy solutions.

Whole Tree Post and Beam Construction

Construction will proceed quickly on Earth Day because the structure uses Whole Tree post and beam techniques. The walls will be tilted up and roof trusses placed on them.

The entire shell of the building should be completed within about a week, and the building is expected to be ready for occupation in late fall.

A Building That Teaches

The Sustainable Living Center will serve students in the university’s Sustainable Living major. It will have classrooms, workshop, meeting room, greenhouse, kitchen, research lab, recycling center, and offices, as well as east and west covered verandas and a porch on the north.

It has been designed as a building that teaches. In addition to embodying sustainability, it will allow students to monitor performance and energy efficiency and make adjustments.

“The Sustainable Living Center will be a living, evolving building,” said David Fisher, head of the MUM Sustainable Living Department, who helped plan the building. “The building itself is an educational tool, not just a passive one like most classroom buildings. It will provide participatory education where students will be continually adding to, or altering, the building and grounds as well as systematically checking its effectiveness.”

Off the Grid

The Sustainable Living Center will be completely off of the energy and utility grid. Every feature will exemplify healthy and sustainable green building — and will be geared to teaching those principles.

Construction uses 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.

Fairfield, too, has taken a strong direction toward sustainability, hiring a sustainability coordinator and moving ahead with various initiatives. In 2009, MSN.com 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 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 will be held on Earth Day, April 22, at 12:45 p.m. at the site of the Sustainable Living Center construction just north of the MUM library on Highway 1.

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

The Building will also be a showcase for the public, and will feature meeting rooms, a real-time energy and renewable systems monitor, and displays of materials and building systems featured in the building to showcase partnerships with leading technologies and materials manufacturers.  For more information please contact: Marco Sunseri @ 641-472-7000 x2449.

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One Response to ““There’s no other building like this going up in the nation, or in the world for that matter, that we know of.””

  1. Maharishi University of Management (MUM) to Erect Walls of New Off-the-Grid Building on Earth Day | Sustainable Living Tips by Lee Leffler Says:

    […] Click to read the rest of this article. Categories: Events, Sustainable Campus tags: eco-friendly, Events, iowa, natural living, Sustainable Articles, sustainable building Leave a Comment […]

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