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Shape of sustainable building maximizes energy-efficiency and Vastu design
by Global Good News staff writer
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12 June 2012
The square shape of the new Sustainable Living Center at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, was no accident.
Indeed, explained Jon Lipman, the building's chief architect, the shape of the building solved a few logistical difficulties encountered in the building's design and construction.
Because the centre will house the Sustainable Living academic department on campus, it was absolutely crucial that the building reflect the lofty ideals of that department. This meant the building needed to be self-sufficient for its own energy, heating, cooling, lighting, water, and waste water treatment.
In addition, the building is a part of Maharishi University of Management, whose founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, brought out the principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture. Because of this, it was also crucial that the new centre reflect the life-supporting design principles of Vastu.
At first, reconciling these two design strategies seemed a difficult task. Many of the difficulties were resolved when the architects chose the square shape for the building.
Mr Lipman said, 'We chose that shape because it is the optimization of the competing goals in passive solar to have a long south elevation to get plenty of southern light, and the goal in Vastu to maximize the influence of eastern light into a building by having a long east-facing building. A square optimizes between those two objectives. Then by locating our windows properly we were able to get all of the east light and south light into the building that we wanted.'
Another advantage of the building's shape is in energy-efficiency.
'A square has,' Mr Lipman said, 'the best ratio of surface area to volume. Surface area is what loses heat and volume is what you need to heat. So a square is a very efficient shape for heating and cooling efficiently.'
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