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AUGUST 15, 2008

University Website


Rendering of
Sustainable Living Center

Sustainable Living students

Department Chair David Fisher with Sustainable Living students


Student Darla Murphy builds a beehive during a workshop on beekeeping

Gina Wolfe

Sustainable Living student Gina Wolfe at the building site

wind generator

Julian Potter making a class presentation on the newly built wind generator

tropical fruit

MUM students Jonathan Clifford and Marissa Markowitz studying tropical fruit production in Florida

Totally off the grid! MUM’s Sustainable Living Center —
the “ultimate green building”

In a ground-breaking ceremony on July 28, 2008, Maharishi University of Management officially began its mission to build the most revolutionary green building ever constructed. The Sustainable Living Center will serve MUM’s fastest growing undergraduate major, the Sustainable Living program, the country’s first and only 4-year degree program in sustainability.

News of the Sustainable Living Center has swept the media — with Forbes, the Chicago Tribune and others heralding it as “the ultimate green building.”

“This will be a building that teaches,” says David Fisher, Chairman and professor in the Sustainable Living program. “The sustainable technologies we’re using are tried and true, but no other building in the world has put all of these technologies together under one roof.”

The building’s cutting-edge, sustainable features include:

  • Off the grid with respect to electricity, heating, cooling, water and waste disposal
  • LEED certified at the Platinum Level
  • A Fortune-CreatingSM building — utilizing Vedic architecture to harness the total potential of Natural Law
  • Bau Biology compliant
  • Daylighting: unique architecture captures sunlight and directs it throughout the building — for about three quarters of the day, every single room in the building will receive 100% of its lighting directly from the sun
  • Rainwater collection — with a filtering and storage system
  • Living Building: The Sustainable Living Center is being designed to meet the Cascadia “Living Building Challenge,” the next benchmark of sustainable building beyond LEED Platinum — and it may be the first building ever to reach this benchmark.

MUM’s Sustainable Living students will be doing hands-on work to assist in construction. “The building will be made of earth blocks, built by the students from a mixture of compressed clay, sand and cement,” says Sustainable Living student Gina Wolfe. “It will use solar panels and wind turbines, and we’re installing a generator fueled by student-manufactured bio-diesel, for back up energy when there’s no sun or wind.”

Wolfe and other students speak of the building almost as if it were a living organism, with its elaborate system of bio-filters and aquatic plants and animals (such as snails) to remove contaminants from the wastewater.

The 7000 square-foot building will serve as a research center to explore innovative ideas in sustainability, and will include classrooms, a greenhouse, workshops, kitchen, research laboratory and offices. North Carolina architects Mike Nicklas, FAIA, and Masaki Furukawa, AIA, LEED, of Innovative Design, a world leader in sustainable design, are the project’s architects, in collaboration with Jonathan Lipman, AIA, MUM’s campus architect and expert in Vedic architecture.

The Sustainable Living Center is nearly a $2 million project, funded through donations, investments and gifts of material and labor. Over $850,000 in donations has been raised. The building will be named after Eric and Mary Sue Schwartz and MUM graduate Steve Guich, whose generous donations will allow construction to begin October 2008. The building’s completion is planned for fall 2009.

The project is yet another demonstration of MUM’s environmental leadership. In the Fall of 2007, University President Dr. Bevan Morris signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, joining 561 college and university presidents around the United States who have signed the agreement. The Climate Commitment is a pledge to take various steps toward becoming “climate neutral” by reducing the campus’s greenhouse gas emissions. MUM is a “Charter Signatory” — among the first institutions to sign.

In addition to the Sustainability Undergraduate and Sustainable MBA programs, the University is now planning a Masters in Sustainable Living. The program’s mission is to provide students with skills and knowledge to help them design, build and maintain sustainable communities, not only at the local but also at the regional, national and global levels.

For more details about the Sustainable Living Center and its unique sustainable features, please see:

Iowa Source

MUM’s Sustainability Center in the news:

Assoicated Press

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