Devotees of the Sri Venkateswara Temple and Cultural Center in Novi carry out a vigorous practice of earth care—it is an integral component of Hinduism and Indian cultural tradition. The very physical structure of the Temple represents devotees’ concern for and commitment to sustainable lifestyles.
The conception of earth care is known and celebrated through Bhumi, the goddess of the earth. Reverence for Bhumi/devotion to mother earth were synonymous with plans for the construction of Sri Venkateswara Temple. Construction was completed about two years ago, and the green facilities provide space for devotees to celebrate Hinduism within their view of earth care. Anand Gangadharan, President of NOVI Energy and on the Governing Board of the Temple, considers the temple to be “state of the art” with its earth-friendly construction techniques and energy efficiency measures.
Construction design included wide use of natural lighting. Some other features include LED and CFL lighting to supplement sunlight, high efficiency heating and cooling, water conservation faucets and room-occupancy sensors. Thermostats are programmed, and are also monitored throughout the seasons to manage heat regulation.
Many devotees on the Temple Governing Board are professionals in the areas of science, law and technology—when decisions regarding inclusion of sustainability features needed to be made during final construction, decisions supported the often more expensive (and more sustainable) features. The decision to use spray-on foam insulation was one such expensive but sustainable feature. Anand notes that despite high upfront expenses, these extra measures have undoubtedly provided vast energy (and thus monetary) savings—since the Temple is a new building, there unfortunately is no baseline data with which to make a savings comparison.
Anand mentions sustainability practices of waste-limiting lifestyles (food, energy, materials) are practiced by devotees both inside and outside the Temple. The carefully designed, sustainable Sri Venkateswara Temple facilities are testament to just one way earth care is being demonstrated by devotees.