Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable Living Department’

MUM’s Innovative Sustainable Living Center @MaharishiU Featured in Solar Tribune

November 13, 2014

Small College Makes Solar a Big Priority

Nestled among the cornfields of Southeastern Iowa, Maharishi University of Management is not your typical small college. More than 40 years after its founding, this unique campus has become a showcase of sustainability and solar technology.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, best known as man who taught meditation to The Beatles, bought the defunct Parsons College campus in Fairfield, Iowa in 1971 and set up an accredited university to teach his philosophy of world peace and enlightenment through meditation. Along with computer science, accounting and BA, MA and PhD programs, the curriculum stresses healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment.

Biology Professor David Fisher launched the nation’s first four-year BA program in Sustainable Living at MUM in 2003. The Sustainable Living Department offers courses in solar, wind and other alternative energy systems, water management, permaculture, alternative building techniques, and performance design for the built environment, and their building serves as a hands-on showcase for the technologies they teach. On an annual basis, the building is not only a “net zero” building, but actually produces as much as 40% more energy than it consumes. The excess energy offsets electricity used elsewhere on campus.

South wall of MUM Sustainable Living Center

Opened in 2012, the Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center at MUM is a showpiece of green building technology. The 6,900 square foot building features sustainable infrastructure including daylighting, a greenhouse and edible landscaping, gardens, rain catchment, earth block and “whole tree” construction and both solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV), as well as a wind turbine. The architectural style, known as “Vedic” architecture, marries eastern and western styles and reflects the philosophy of the university, while exceeding LEED platinum standards.

Daniel Chiras PhD is currently a visiting professor at the Sustainable Living Center. Dan serves as the Director of the Evergreen Institute and is author of over 30 books on solar and sustainability topics, including The Natural House, The Solar House, The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy and many more. Chiras said of the MUM building: “The Sustainable Living Center is one of the greenest—if not the greenest—classroom buildings on a college campus in the world! It’s an extraordinary model of ecological sustainability and an inspiration to those seeking to build a sustainable human future. The building is a pleasure to teach in and a great learning tool for students.”

Solar Features At The SLC:

The Sustainable Living Center sports 12.5 kW of PV panels to provide electricity. The PV panels are grid-tied by two 2.5 kW and one 5 kW SMA Sunny Boy inverters. An Outback 3.6 kW battery based inverter also stores energy in an off-grid battery bank. The solar PV at the Center puts out an average of 16,250 kWh per year.

A drain-back solar water heating system with 750 square feet of evacuated tube solar thermal collectors capture solar energy that is then stored in a 5,000 gallon tank, where it is then pumped through the in-floor heating system. The collectors provide about 30% of the heating for the building. Additional heat comes from a ground source heat pump, which uses electricity from the solar and wind systems to provide 75,000 BTUs per hour.

In addition to the solar arrays, The Sustainable Living Center features a Bergey XL 10 wind turbine on a 100 foot latticed tower. The estimated annual output is 17,000 kWh, with power production peaking in the winter and spring. This compliments the solar PV, which produces most of its power during the summer months, when wind speeds are typically much lower.

The SLC has an annual energy use of about 30,000 kWh, including lighting, heating and cooling, fresh air circulation office equipment and classrooms, which is already amazingly low for a building of its size.

Not only at the Sustainable Living Center, but across the entire MUM campus, sustainability initiatives are in full effect. In fact, the school achieved a perfect score for sustainable food sourcing and is the first college in the United States to offer an organic, 100% vegetarian menu. The college encourages bicycling and energy efficiency and is currently in the planning stages of a large-scale solar array to offset more of their electrical use with solar energy.

Read more about the MUM Sustainable Living Center at: https://www.mum.edu/academic-departments/sustainable-living/buildings/sl-bldg

Article reprinted with permission from the author. Solar Tribune is a solar news, education, and advocacy website. Article is published under: .

See more news about MUM’s SLC in this Des Moines Register article: Fairfield defines community action. There was a lot of news coverage on the official opening of MUM’s SLC, April 20, 2012. Here are two TV News reports, with links to other reports: KTVO News: Groundbreaking Sustainable Living Center a source of pride in Fairfield and WHO News: BEYOND GREEN: Building Produces Extra Energy. Also see The Fairfield Ledger: M.U.M.’s newest building sets new green standards.

@MaharishiU Sustainable Living students build adobe house from scratch in Texas desert

December 19, 2013

MUM Students Build Adobe House From Natural Desert Materials

Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living students study natural building and travel to the Texas desert to put up a 14′ x 14′ adobe bunkhouse made primarily from indigenous materials mum.edu/AdobeHousePR

MUM students build adobe house from scratch in Texas desert

MUM students build adobe house from scratch in Texas desert

As a continuation of the Sustainable Living Program at Maharishi University of Management where students learn how to build a tiny house, a group of 12 students traveled to the Texas desert during their October Natural Building class and spent 11 days putting up a 14 x 14 adobe house made primarily from local materials.

They first made 850 adobe bricks from soil near the construction site, created a frame of posts and beams from dead spruce trees harvested beforehand on campus, and then topped the structure with a waterproof thatched roof made of river cane.

“It really has an amazing feel,” said course instructor Mark Stimson. “It’s rectilinear and oriented toward the cardinal directions, and adobe walls give it an ancient, grounded feeling.”

Intended to serve as a bunkhouse for future visitors, it sits on land owned by Mr. Stimson and his wife that’s adjacent to Big Bend National Park. Also on site is a tiny house students built last year.

In addition to learning practical construction skills, the students had the opportunity to experience an extraordinary landscape that includes deep vertical canyons, distant mountains, and rock-outcroppings dating back 500 million years, fossils, petrified wood, and a hot spring on the Rio Grande River. Plus the occasional tarantula and scorpion.

“The students had a transformative experience,” Mr. Stimson said. “They’ve never seen anything like this desert, with its vast scale. The heights and distances reset your perspective on things.”

Mr. Stimson’s desert site is 80 miles from the nearest town on a road too rugged for ordinary cars. The students prepared and canned all their food in advance. That alone was a learning exercise in planning and execution.

They traveled to the site via the Sustainable Living Department bus powered by biodiesel fuel that was made by the students and staff member Steve Fugate.

Every aspect of the construction required learning new skills. The students began their work on campus, creating a plan and estimating the amount of materials they would need.

Once on site, the students learned to sift the soil used for the bricks, moisten it with water, and then use forms to create the bricks. Once skilled, they were able to make a brick in less than a minute.

But then the bricks, all 17,000 lbs. of them, had to be carried up a long hill. The students formed a chain, and accomplished the task with aplomb.

“The students were confronted with many challenges in this remote desert region,” said Stimson, “but in the process they learned a lot about teamwork, leadership, self-sufficiency, and how to be flexible in the changing conditions they encountered.”

He related an incident of the students trying to prepare and dry adobe bricks, when an early morning desert fog prevented the sun from drying them out. It happened three or four days in a row. Of the many things they planned for, he said, the desert wasn’t one of them! But the sun burned it off by noon each day, and the adobe blocks dried enough to be used.

In order to comply with Maharishi Vedic℠ architecture, they learned how to perfectly align the building by using the North Star and the meridian transit off the sun.

“It’s within a quarter or even one-eighth of a degree of being perfectly aligned,” Mr. Stimson said.

He said his desert site is intended to serve as a retreat for campus groups and students in other departments, as well as the Sustainable Living students.

MUM students complete adobe house from scratch in Texas desert

MUM students complete adobe house from scratch in Texas desert

Commenting on the success of this course and the happiness of the students who participated in it, Professor Lonnie Gamble, Co-Director of the Sustainable Living Department said, “They’re happy because they’re taking their part in creating the world that they want to live in. I think it brings out a great joy, a great satisfaction, something that many of them have been looking for at other institutions before they’ve come here.” http://link.mum.edu/AdobeHouse

Part of this report was taken from The Review, Vol. 29, #6, November 27, 2013. For more information visit http://link.mum.edu/AdobeHousePR.

Read the description under this video posted on the MaharishiUniversity YouTube channel with more details describing how the students prepared for their trip, built their tools when they got there, gathered and processed the local materials to construct the adobe house.

Founded in 1971, Maharishi University of Management (MUM) offers Consciousness-Based℠ Education, a traditional academic curriculum enhanced with self-development programs like the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Students are encouraged to follow a more sustainable routine of study, socializing and rest without the typical college burnout. All aspects of campus life nourish the body and mind, including organic vegetarian meals served fresh daily. Located in Fairfield, Iowa, MUM is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business. Visitors Weekends are held throughout the year. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 800-369-6480 or visit http://www.mum.edu.

Source: PRWeb: http://www.prweb.com/releases/MUM-SL/AdobeHouse/prweb11363060.htm

‘Green’ learning in sustainable classrooms

April 23, 2010

Local News April 23, 2010

‘Green’ learning in sustainable classrooms

Maharishi University of Management constructs an off-the-grid academic building for sustainable living majors

MATT MILNER Courier Staff Writer

Matt Milner/The Courier Construction workers had to move carefully to avoid excessive damage to the tree trunks that will be a signature element in the new building for MUM’s sustainable living program. The school held a ceremony at the site on Thursday to mark Earth Day

FAIRFIELD — Builders and backers of the new home for sustainable living majors at Maharishi University of Management say nothing like it has been attempted anywhere.

It’s easy to believe them.

The construction brings together four basic philosophies. Three are focused on environmental impact and resource demands. The fourth is, as all new buildings at the college are, based on Vedic concepts. It’s a tough combination to pull off.

When complete, the building will be completely off the grid for electrical power, climate control and waste removal. The goal is creation of a building that meets the university’s needs for classroom and office space while demonstrating concepts the students learn inside.

Dr. David Fisher, director of the sustainable living department, thinks the building will help draw students. That has not been a problem for the program, which opened in 2003 with six students and now has 80 sustainable living majors. He called it an “incredible environmental building.”

It is not large as academic buildings go. That’s intentional.

“We didn’t want to make it too large because we’re trying to do so much,” Fisher said.

Right now the site doesn’t look markedly different from any other building under construction. Stud framed walls are the exterior on two sides. The other two are still open. The biggest clues that something different is going on are the nearly full-sized tree trunks that form part of one hallway. Others lay around the site, ready to be raised.

The trees being used are aspens. They are fast-growing and were harvested from a farm dedicated to sustaining its population. A slight sheen and a lack of bark are the only things that show they have been processed for construction. Builders said the trunks have strength similar to steel when they are maintained instead of sawed into boards.

Dal Loiselle, the developer and construction manager for the site, has worked on “green” building sites for 21 years. He said the costs are not all that different from those involved in traditional construction, provided the effort is made from the start. Adding environmentally friendly traits to an existing project can be expensive.

“It entails commitment, basically,” he said. “It’s just a matter of having the desire and doing it.”

Loiselle emphasized that none of the technology being incorporated is new. It’s off the shelf stuff that any builder can use.

The completed structure will be LEED platinum certified and meet the requirements for building biology, Vedic architecture and the Living Building Challenge. Students will have access to the roof and walls to study the concepts they learn in class. Monitors will track every shift in temperature, humidity and environmental change, wired into a website people can check from anywhere in the world.

Thursday’s ceremony was somewhere between a groundbreaking and a dedication, tied into Earth Day at MUM. It’s the 40th Earth Day, noted Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy. He expressed the hope that the building’s edge-of-the-envelope attempt today will be standard in another 40 years.

Matt Milner can be reached at (641) 683-5359 or via e-mail at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com

Max Perelman to present “The Green Dragon” at M.U.M. and discuss Sustainable Building in China

January 9, 2010

The Sustainable Living Department of Maharishi University of Management will offer a free showing of the film, The Green Dragon, in Dalby Hall on Monday, January 11, 8:00 pm, at the Argiro Student Center.

The Green Dragon, a documentary film, tells the story about the potential for expanding sustainable construction and development in China. This film portrays the sheer scale of China’s construction industry while engaging the viewer in the reality of how this industry works. It also provides an in-depth discussion of the barriers and opportunities for China to ‘go green.’

“The rapid development of China’s green building movement, from nothing in 2000 to what is now, approximately 4 million m2 of green building construction (not including sustainable developments), is a story worth telling,” says Ken Langer, President, EMSI, an international leader in green building and sustainable community design consulting. For reference, the US now has 12.5 million sqm after 30 years of a green building movement.

Max Perelman

Max Perelman is the research director and co-producer of the Green Dragon Media Project,  a 9-week research and filming expedition to 9 cities along China’s east coast. Interviewees included Chinese government officials as well as the leaders of major developers, professional services firms and product manufacturers.

Based in California, Max Perelman will be in Iowa to show the film, followed by a Q & A session. “Before making this film I had no idea of what an amazing journey I was embarking on. I had been told that over half the world’s construction takes place in this one country, but only when you see it do you believe it.”

Max Perelman is a LEED Accredited Professional and is a project manager with BuildingWise, LLC a high performance building consulting firm headquartered in Moss Landing, CA. Max is also the president of American Environmental & Agricultural, Inc., an import/export and trade consulting firm specializing in environmental technologies and focused on trade between Asia and North America. He is also an advisor to the Joint US-China Cooperation on Clean Energy. Max speaks and reads Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

Max has a BA from Cornell University, as well as an MBA and MA in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He has presented at a number of green building conferences including the USGBC’s Greenbuild 2007 in Chicago and WestCoastGreen 2008 in Silicon Valley. He has also published research in the Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Series.

Max’s recent volunteer work includes fundraising for strawbale construction in the Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang and Sichuan, and volunteering for the local Pacific Grove, CA city government as a Planning Commissioner.

While visiting M.U.M. and Fairfield, Max Perelman will also meet with students, faculty, and community leaders, and anyone else interested in sustainable building, international environmental policy, and urban development in China and the US.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, email sustainableliving@mum.edu and visit the film’s website www.greendragonfilm.com.


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