Posts Tagged ‘off the grid’

Maharishi University of Management to open new Sustainable Living Center, a net-zero energy bldg

April 12, 2012
When Maharishi University of Management’s Sustainable Living Center opens April 20 it is expected to produce more energy than it will consume, thanks to a wind turbine, solar panels, geothermal tubing, extensive use of daylighting, earth block walls, verandas, and a range of other measures. (Photo by Tim Messenger)

MUM’s Sustainable Living Center To Be “Net-Zero Energy Building”

With an opening celebration and press conference scheduled for Friday, April 20, 11 am CT, Maharishi University of Management’s new Sustainable Living Center will have the distinction of being one of the few net-zero energy buildings in the country—it will produce as much if not more energy than it uses.

The building is designed to eventually be completely off the grid, including for water usage and waste treatment, as more funds are available. However, it will initially be connected to the grid, using electricity as needed during extreme weather conditions. At those times when the solar arrays and wind turbine produce more than the building uses, it will feed excess energy into the campus grid for use in other buildings.

Annually the building will produce more energy that it will consume.

The building’s 58 solar panels are capable of producing 15 kilowatts, and the 100-foot wind turbine is capable of producing 10 kilowatts. In addition, energy savings result from the use of technologies such as a heat pump and geothermal tubing. Many passive methods of alternative energy also contribute, such as extensive use of daylighting, the use of earth block walls to moderate temperature extremes and insulate, and strategic placement of windows and verandas.

A view of Maharishi University of Management‘s new Sustainable Living Center taken from the 100-foot wind turbine tower by MUM alum and installer Troy Van Beek of Ideal Energy. Energy cottage is to the right, Golden Domes are in the distance. (Photo by Troy Van Beek)

As more funds are raised, more features will be added until the Sustainable Living Center is completely off the grid with respect to electricity, heating, cooling, water, and waste. A rain catchment system will provide water, and there will be on-site sewage treatment.

“Even in this phase of development, the building is one of the best of the current generation of green buildings,” Mr. Gamble said. Eventually the building will be carbon neutral, which entails being completely off the grid.

“Our carbon footprint is much smaller than most new buildings as we used earth block, earth plasters, and many other low-embodied energy and low-carbon materials in construction,” Mr. Gamble said.

In addition to many University supporters, Kresge Foundation and Wege Foundation provided grants, and nationally recognized leaders in green building materials offered in-kind donations.

The building currently qualifies for gold LEED certification, said construction manager Tim Messenger. But the application is being held until the water and waste systems are in place, which will raise the Sustainable Living Center to the highest level of LEED certification, that of platinum.

The opening of the Sustainable Living Center will coincide with the EcoFairfield weekend being organized by students, and also with Earth Day on April 22.

EcoFairfield events will begin Friday afternoon with community service tree planting, and a keynote presentation by Seth Braun on Friday evening on shaping a collective vision for the future of Fairfield. See ecofairfield.wordpress.com.

To find out more about Fairfield and neighboring Maharishi Vedic City, visit http://discoverfairfield.org.

Schedule of Events:

WEDNESDAY EVENING, 7:00 p.m.
Traditional ceremony to open the Sustainable Living Center.

FRIDAY MORNING, 11:00 a.m.
Grand opening, with press conference.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Open house and tours of the Sustainable Living Center

SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Tours of the Sustainable Living Center

See B.S. in Sustainable Living at Maharishi University of Management: News: Sustainable Living Center Grand Opening

Related articles: WHO TV: BEYOND GREEN: Building Produces Extra EnergyKTVO News: Groundbreaking Sustainable Living Center a source of pride in Fairfield | MSNBC: BEYOND GREEN: Building Produces Extra Energy | The Fairfield Ledger: Fairfield draws ‘who-da thunk it’ quote from Lode | Ottumwa Courier: Environmentally friendly building unveiled in Fairfield | The Hawk Eye: MUM to unveil sustainable center: Structure will be one of the only net-zero energy buildings in the nation | The Iowa Source: MUM’s Sustainable Living Center Opens April 20: Net Zero Building Will Produce More Energy Than It Consumes! | AASHE Bulletin ArchivesMaharishi U Mgmt Debuts Net-Zero Sustainable Living Center + More | Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities: New MUM Building a Net-Zero Energy Structure | Positive TV: MUM Sustainable Living Center to be “net-zero energy building” | The Iowan: Beyond LEED: Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center | The Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively | BUILDINGS Magazine: A Zero Utility Bill Building | The Iowa Source: MUM Sustainable Living Center

Iowa Outdoors: Fairfield’s Abundance EcoVillage: Harmonious Living With Nature — Off The Grid

February 23, 2012

The March/April 2012 issue of Iowa Outdoors has an 8-page spread (pages 52-59) featuring Fairfield’s Abundance EcoVillage. The article, Harmonious Living With Nature, was written by Mindy Kralicek with photos by Clay Smith.

Iowa Outdoors is a magazine of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Their editorial mission is to strive to open the door to the beauty and uniqueness of Iowa’s natural resources, inspire people to get outside and experience Iowa and to motivate outdoor-minded citizens to understand and care for our natural resources.

This feature article has over 20 colorful photos with text. Some of the topics discussed are Maharishi Sthãpatya Veda Architecture, Permaculture Systems, the use of solar panels, wind turbines, earth air tubes, living off the grid, sustainable communities. Check next month to see if they’ve posted it online. For now, you can download a PDF of this beautiful article here: Off The Grid.

It’s much easier to read the article in the original magazine layout with the photos and additional text (instructions how to order at the end of this article). The next best thing is to download the PDF of it. But for those who can’t, I also copied and pasted the article below without the photos and accompanying text.

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Solar Energy to Power Completion of MUM’s Sustainable Living Center

July 19, 2010

Maharishi University of Management

MUM to Launch Renewable Energy System

Solar panels provide power to complete construction of Sustainable Living Center

 

Photo credit: Robbie Gongwer

Fairfield, Ia, July 20, 2010 – On Thursday, July 22, at 2 pm, Fairfield’s ‘green’ mayor, Ed Malloy, will flip the switch on the solar electricity of the Utility Cottage to use only renewable energy to power all the equipment needed to complete construction of Maharishi University of Management’s (MUM) new Sustainable Living Center. (SLC)

The Sustainable Living Center 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, and will be the first of its kind on any campus anywhere in the world.

On Earth Day, Whole Tree Posts and Beams were put in place, walls were tilted up, and roof trusses were placed on top of them. The entire shell of the building is now complete and is expected to be ready for occupancy in late fall.

Four Building Philosophies

The Sustainable Living Center features four green building philosophies. It 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.

Architects talk about 2030 as the year when all buildings will be built this way, sustainable and without a carbon footprint. But MUM is doing it now, with existing technologies and materials. “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, FAIA, founder and president of Innovative Design, the building’s Project Architects.

To date, Innovative Design has designed over 4750 buildings and more than 100 schools that use renewable energy solutions. Mike Nicklas is the Technical Architect for this project, and Jon Lipman, AIA of Fortune-Creating Buildings, is the Design Architect. Mr. Lipman was responsible for the initial concept, and for the design and Vedic architecture throughout the project.

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, kitchenette, 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 day lighting 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 developer and 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 its Go Green Strategic Plan to become a sustainable city. 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.

Industry-Educational Partnerships Industry leaders in green technologies provide sponsorships

The Sustainable Living Center features four green building philosophies, is entirely off grid and has amassed an impressive list of leading corporate sponsors. These industry-educational partnerships showcase a new level of leadership, cooperation and sustainable capitalism unique to green building and sustainable development within the state, nation and world at large.

The Sustainable Living Center has benefited by in-kind donations from these nationally recognized leaders in green building materials: Serious Materials (high performance windows); Pittsburgh Corning (FoamGlas insulation); Gerdau AmeriSteel (rebar); United States Gypsum Corporation (Aqua Tough-paperless drywall); Green Building Supply; SpiderLath Inc (lath mesh to support exterior stucco); and GlobalWatt (PV panels).

GlobalWatt is excited about participating in this special project and is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor. MUM SLC will be one of the very first customers to receive PV panels off the line at their new Saginaw, Michigan manufacturing plant, a former automotive facility. “We are pleased to partner with MUM on this historic educational green building,” says GlobalWatt Director of Sales, Dave Slivinski.

Wege Foundation Grant

There seems to be a Michigan connection here. With GlobalWatt in Michigan, the Kresge Foundation is headquartered in metropolitan Detroit, in the suburb community of Troy, Michigan. They provided MUM with a Planning Grant, and possibly an upcoming Challenge Grant.

Another Michigan foundation, the Wege Foundation, provided a $100,000 grant to fund the Maharishi University of Management Sustainable Living Center to help it achieve the Living Building Challenge. Peter M. Wege, who built Steelcase, Inc. into the largest office-furniture manufacturer, is an environmentalist who founded the Wege Foundation to promote environmental activities primarily in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Steelcase, Inc. is headquartered. The board of the Wege Foundation made an exception and funded the MUM SLC in Fairfield, Iowa because it is a nationally significant sustainable building. This is the largest Foundation grant the Maharishi University of Management Sustainable Living Center has received to date. In appreciation for this gift the University will name the largest classroom in the Sustainable Living Center, the Peter M. Wege Classroom and Event Center.

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.

Available for media interviews: Sustainable Living department head David Fisher, construction manager Dal Loiselle, Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, and design architect Jon Lipman, AIA. Contact Ken Chawkin, Director of Media Relations.

• • •

Also available here: http://www.mum.edu/sustain/slc and http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/07/prweb4290894.htm

See KTVO News Report: Solar power at Maharishi University With a flip of the switch, solar power is taking over one construction site in the Heartland. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU69q2P_R4c

Fairfield’s Sustainable Living Coalition Builds Green Educational Center

January 22, 2010

Dec 23, 2009 01:39PM

All for intelligent design: Sustainable Living Coalition draws from nature’s wisdom

By Linda Egenes


Submitted
The Sustainable Living Coalition built this 1,200-square-foot straw-bale, post-and-beam barn as a main classroom and administrative space.

It started in 2004 when a few people in Fairfield were looking for a sponsor for an environmental conference.

“We decided to form our own non-profit and called it the Sustainable Living Coalition,” says Diana Krystofiak, a founding board member of the SLC. “The goal was to combine people from different sectors to create a more sustainable Fairfield, which could then become a model for other communities.”

From the start, a driving force behind the SLC’s vision and educational initiatives was Lonnie Gamble, who with permaculture expert Grover Stock, began teaching a ten-week permaculture course called Big Green Summer. Hundreds of interns trained with Gamble and Stock, living in Gamble’s home. But Gamble and his wife, Valerie, couldn’t donate their time, money and home to educate interns indefinitely. A campus was needed.

A permaculture demonstration site

Fast forward to the fall of 2009. It’s a warm November day at the newly inaugurated SLC campus on the north edge of Fairfield. Briggs Shore and Frank Cicela, two administrators, are there.

Shore, a 27-year-old dynamo who trained as an SLC intern and was hired last year as administrative coordinator, is clearly passionate about her job.

“We bought the land in 2006 with a grant from Iowa’s Great Places,” she says.

The purpose of the campus, she explains, is to become a working permaculture farm and educational center with classes and internships.

Shore explains, “permaculture is a way to take the principles of intelligent design, found in nature, and apply it to absolutely everything in your life — how you get your food, water, shelter, heat (and) power, and (how you) dispose of waste.”

Cicela adds, “we want this to be a model, to establish best practices for natural building and rural farming that people can take back to their own communities.”

At age 40, Cicela brings a wealth of experience to the SLC, having established a similar nonprofit called Sustainable Indiana, and shows remarkable dedication by taking an unpaid leave from his job at Clipper Wind Power in Cedar Rapids to spend every other week working for the SLC.

Shore points to the 1,200-square-foot straw-bale, post and beam barn that is the main classroom and administrative space for the campus. “We broke ground in January 2009,” she says.

The building is functional but awaiting funds for plastering the outer walls, covering the gravel floor with flagstone and completing a five-room dormitory loft. It was erected in just four months with the help of an Amish construction crew for the foundation and dozens of volunteers who provided the massive man hours necessary for straw-bale building.

“We’re completely off the grid, and we provide our own power and water,” says Shore. She points to the rain catchment system, ten photovoltaic solar panels and one-kilowatt wind turbine that supply electricity and high-speed Internet. “We’re high-tech while being sustainable, rustic while still being modern.”

A spirit of collaboration

“One of our missions is to partner with other people and organizations,” says Cicela.

Collaboration takes many forms. The campus adjoins and makes use of two other sustainable sites for its workshops: the Abundance Eco Village and the Mullenneaux extended-family acreage, which includes three sustainable cob, straw and clay homes.

“We’re a few off-the-grid communities who happen to be close together and really good friends,” explains Shore.

Other collaborators include Grinnell College and Maharishi University of Management.

A vision for the future

Future projects include building four-season dormitory space to house 50 interns, a hospitality center, an elderhostel, underground cisterns to store drinking water from the rain catchment system, wetland waste management system, permaculture food forest, edible landscaping, and seed money to extend educational offerings.

But ambitious as these plans are, Gamble sees a more visionary goal. “The SLC is a way to foster ecological, micro-enterprises,” he says. As an example, the SLC bought equipment and loaned it to help a local baker get started, and launched the Edible Cityscapes Project, an eco-business that sells fruit trees and provides free labor to plant them properly.

Another project in the works: a micro-enterprise center, to help fund sustainable businesses. And the SLC is providing land and sponsorship to a John Jeavons mini-farm center, one of three in the U.S. to be established this spring.

For more information about the SLC, contact Briggs Shore at briggsshore@gmail.com or visit sustainablelivingcoalition.org.

Linda Egenes is a book author and freelance writer. She lives in Fairfield, Iowa.

Radish magazine is published by Small Newspaper Group and distributed by Moline Dispatch Publishing Co., L.L.C., 1720 5th Ave., Moline, IL 61265

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