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MAY 9, 2010 • ISSUE 78

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Rendering of the Sustainable Living Center


The Whole Tree posts and beams are 150% stronger than milled lumber and are more sustainable as well


The walls and Whole Tree posts and beams started to go up on Earth Day


The shell of the building was completed in about a week


Mayor Ed Malloy, Professor David Fisher, and developer Dal Loiselle give a press conference on Earth Day


Craig Wagner, David Streid, Dal Loiselle and Professor David Fisher at a weekly construction meeting


The floor plan of the Sustainable Living Center


Rendering of the classroom and event center

MUM Raises Walls of Sustainable Living Center on Earth Day

Construction of the Sustainable Living Center resumed this spring as a result of a loan the University secured to assure the completion of the building. The off-the-grid classroom/office building will help accommodate the continued growth of the Sustainable Living Program which currently serves over 70 majors.

"We are thrilled to see construction moving ahead so rapidly now," said Craig Pearson, Executive Vice-President. "But we do need the funds we have borrowed to be replaced by donations so as not to increase MUM's debt requirements. There are still a number of naming opportunities for rooms in the building."

On Earth Day, April 22, the exterior walls and the Whole Tree posts and beams at the center of the building started to go up. The entire shell of the building was completed within about a week and the building is expected to be ready for occupation in late fall.

The construction uses all non-toxic materials from local sources as defined by the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, which, combined with the standards of LEED Platinum certification, Bau Biologie, and Maharishi Vedic ArchitectureSM design, in accord with Natural Law, becomes the highest standard for sustainable design.

“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 designed the building and whose company Innovative Design has designed over 4750 buildings and more than 100 schools that use renewable energy solutions.

All energy will be provided using the building’s solar panels and independent wind turbine. Daylighting will be available throughout the building. Rainwater catchment will be the complete source of the building's water, with purification of drinking water via ultraviolet technology. In addition, there will be onsite natural treatment of wastewater using a constructed wetland. Geothermal technology will assist with heating and cooling.

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, named in 2009 by as one of the nation's 15 greenest mayors, said the SLC holds promise for a sustainable future.

The Sustainable Living Center has benefited from material donations by nationally recognized leaders in green building materials: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, manufacturers of FOAMGLAS, Gerdau AmeriSteel, manufacturers of recycled rebar, and United States Gypsum Corporation, manufacturers of Aqua Tough FiberRock, as well as from Green Building Supply, a national supplier of green building materials.

The SLC will have two classrooms, one for 40 students and one for 20 students. In addition, there will be a greenhouse, kitchen, research lab, recycling center, and offices, as well as east and west covered verandas and a porch on the north.

“The Sustainable Living Center will be a living, evolving building where the building is an educational tool in itself, not just a passive one like most classroom buildings,” said David Fisher, head of the University Sustainable Living department who helped plan the building.

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 Maharishi VedicSM technologies. 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 University needs more donations to complete the building and is offering naming rights to donors who want to be part of this groundbreaking achievement. The building will be named after Eric and Mary Sue Schwartz and Dr. Steve Guich, who provided the lead donations. Naming opportunities are as follows:

  • Classroom/event center – $125,000
  • Atrium area – $50,000
  • Brahmasthan – $50,000
  • Lobby – $50,000
  • Greenhouse – $50,000
  • Small classroom – $40,000
  • Workshop – $40,000
  • The 6 offices – $15,000 each.

Naming opportunities have already been reserved for the research lab and the kitchen. Please consult the floor plan to view the layout of rooms. For more information about naming opportunities please call Nick Rosania at 641-472-1180 or email You can make an online donation at SLC Donations.

Watch a short video of the SLC Construction and Earth Day
Watch construction progress on a live webcam

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Development Office, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA 52557 641-472-1180

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