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Installation of Heat Pumps in the Zendo: A Milestone in the MRO’s ‘Fossil Fuel Phaseout’ Plan

by Steve Seigan Miron

In talking of our relationship with the Earth as Zen practitioners, Shugen Roshi noticed, “We trace our heritage back to the early days of Chan Buddhism in China, where work, dharma practice, and intimacy with nature intertwined to enliven the religious life.”

Our teachings are steeped in reverence for the pure world. Our follow consists of caring for sentient and insentient beings, these seen and unseen, in our houses, at our formal locations of coaching, and much past. This historical follow is extraordinarily related at present, given our duty to handle the unfolding local weather emergency that trendy people—particularly these in wealthier industrialized nations— have created.

Sunset and photo voltaic panels at the Monastery’s dye backyard.

In that spirit and towards the MRO’s purpose of phasing out climate-heating fossil gasoline emissions, Zen Mountain Monastery put in electrical warmth pumps in the Monastery’s essential constructing in February. Our contractors, Archibald Heating and Cooling, and some Monastery residents started work on February 6th and accomplished the set up in time for the Bodhidharma Sesshin, which started two weeks later. The warmth pumps now present extremely environment friendly, sustainable electrical warmth to the zendo. Gone are the ‘click, click, click’ sounds of the earlier baseboard heating items. Now, if one listens rigorously, one would possibly hear the mild, intermittent whispering sounds of the air dealing with items.

What makes this kind of warmth free of global-heating carbon emissions?

Carbon is a greenhouse gasoline created by the burning of fossil fuels. However, the Monastery generates a lot of its electrical energy from the solar through photo voltaic panels. Solar panels at the Monastery are situated at the edge of the discipline between the Sangha House and the backyard, on the roof of the Sangha House, and in Han Shan Meadow, the place photo voltaic panels provide electrical energy to our A-frame housing for residents. The Monastery additionally purchases supplementary electrical energy from renewable sources by a inexperienced power service firm (ESCO). As such, warmth to the zendo is now produced free of damaging carbon emissions. This is a major step towards the MRO’s purpose of phasing out fossil gasoline at the Monastery and Temple by 2030.

Phasing out Fossil Fuel at MRO follow facilities by 2030

  • The Monastery will proceed to broaden its arrays of photo voltaic panels. All electrical energy not generated by our photo voltaic panels will proceed to be bought from inexperienced power suppliers—at the Monastery and the Temple in New York City.
  • Many of our buildings have already been transformed and function totally on inexperienced electrical energy. At the Monastery, these embrace the residents’ cabins and A-frames, the bathhouse, and the metal barn. The new Jizo House additionally runs on inexperienced electrical energy. As with the Monastery’s essential constructing, the workplace constructing can also be present process conversion.
  • Last 12 months, hybrid warmth pump sizzling water heaters had been put in in the essential constructing. Most of our sizzling water is now sustainable.
  • The MRO hopes to have all buildings working totally on renewable electrical energy by 2030. Going ahead, we are going to solely buy electrical autos and energy tools when replacements are wanted. We count on that each one of our autos will probably be electrical by 2030.

The Sangha’s beneficiant assist over the years has enabled this very important journey towards full sustainability

Residents cleansing the zendo following the flex system set up.


What are Heat Pumps, and Why are they Considered More Sustainable?

According to Wikipedia, “a heat pump is a device that can provide heat to a building by transferring thermal energy from the outdoors using a refrigeration cycle.” When set to heating mode, a refrigerant at outdoors temperature is compressed, making it sizzling. The refrigerant is then transferred to an indoor unit to warmth up units that present heat air or sizzling water. At the finish of the cycle, the refrigerant, now decompressed, is moved to the outside unit to attract warmth from the air because it undergoes compression once more. The course of repeats constantly when a warmth pump is working.

Modern warmth pumps can extract and compress warmth from very chilly air, even beneath zero Fahrenheit. Most warmth pumps can double as air conditioners by being cycled in the other way, shifting warmth from indoors to the outdoors, thereby cooling a bodily house.

Heat pumps run on electrical energy, are considerably extra power environment friendly than customary electrical heaters, and are less expensive to function. When the electrical energy working a warmth pump is derived from renewable sources – for instance, generated by photo voltaic panels on-site or bought from a inexperienced power service firm – warmth pumps, if correctly maintained, don’t contribute to carbon world heating carbon emissions.

The staff from Archibald Heating and Cooling

Worldwide, many governments supply rebates and/or tax credit for warmth pump set up. The MRO has benefited from vital New York State rebates.

It is crucial to grasp that the refrigerant used in most warmth pumps and different equipment sorts is itself a potent greenhouse gasoline if launched into the environment. As such, warmth pumps and units akin to fridges, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers have to be well-maintained to keep away from leaks. Critically, the refrigerant ought to be professionally recovered and safely repurposed, not discarded at the finish of a tool’s life cycle.

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