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The Sustainable Living Center

A building in tune with nature

Using a combination of wind, solar, and geothermal energy, our Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center goes beyond net zero and actually creates more energy than it uses. That’s part of the reason why it was called “the ultimate green building” by the Associated Press.

When fully finished, our aim is for this building to be the first of its kind –  completely off the grid, surpassing LEED platinum, the highest LEED standard, and complying with the Cascadia Living Building Challenge.

Renewable energy sources

Our Center’s electricity comes from two sources: solar photovoltaic panels and a wind turbine.

Heating is provided by solar hot water heaters, and heating and cooling are supplemented by geothermal tubing.

Sustainable, local materials

Even the building materials are local, from the whole aspen trees that support the Center to the 25,000 student-made earth blocks that provide thermal mass.

The roof is a rain catchment system; the entire south wall is a greenhouse that provides solar heating as well as space for student projects.

Beyond net-zero

The building is currently “grid-tied,” meaning it feeds excess energy back to the university electrical grid and draws from it in times of insufficient production. The overall energy consumption of the building, however, is negative.

For tours of the building email: sustainableliving@mum.edu

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