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The New York Center Opens Its Green Building in Midtown Manhattan!
The new green building for the New York center for spiritual development is now open to the public at 124 East 31st Street, near Lexington Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

Building construction was started in 2004 and received Oshienushisama's blessing when he visited the site during his Tour of Light to North America in 2006. Following Oshienushisama's guidance, the building was designed and constructed as a green building and now incorporates numerous innovative and cutting-edge eco-features. It is only the 10th building in New York City to receive certification by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) of the U.S. Green Building Council.

To achieve this status, strict criteria needed to be met. The 120-year-old townhouse purchased by the center was in poor condition, and initially it was slated to be demolished; however, the heavy machinery as well as
traditional disposal and haulage required would not have complied with green building standards. So we had to demolish the building literally by hand! Every brick and joist had to be checked to see if it was reusable. We had to see if any of the interior materials were reusable. Either we tried to reuse them ourselves or we sold them for recycling.

In terms of of reclaiming and recycling materials, ultimately, we were able to reuse about 25 percent of the materials in the new building. Most of that was heavy joists and beams that were used to build fences and benches. Some of the existing furniture, desks, and tables were able to be used in the new building. When it came to other materials that we could not use, we were able to sell the wood to farmers upstate for the construction of barns. We also auctioned off some antique mirrors and marble fireplaces, and we sold bricks to brickyards for recycling.
We provided heating and cooling for the building using a very advanced technology. It has a very high efficiency of converting cool air into warm air and warm air to cool air. The cost of the system is high, but we have been told by the New York State Energy Resource Development Authority (NYSERDA) that it is well worth it. Computer models show that we are saving 60 percent of conventional energy costs, and various consultants independently verified that conclusion. We expect to recoup our energy costs in 12 years, which is quite astonishing because 12 years is a very short period in a building's life.

Another interesting requirement is that as much of the building materials as possible should be obtained within a 500-mile radius of the building site. This is stipulated so as to reduce the impact of transportation costs on the environment and to utilize materials that are readily available. So, we tried as much as
possible to use materials that were manufactured in the state of New York and the surrounding tri-state area. By and large, the materials are American-made.

In addition, we have given a great deal attention to the décor. We wanted the décor to reflect New York, and we wanted to design it with a team of members who have backgrounds in interior design and art.
The design begins with earth tones on the entry floor and becomes more tones of the sky as you move to the second, administrative floor. The third floor, a meeting space that will be offered to other organizations for holding meetings and lectures, becomes more celestial with yellow and burnt orange colors, and the fourth floor where the altar is housed and people give Light is designed with gold and purple to give a feeling of heaven. In addition
to the light fixtures, there are also seven natural skylights on that floor. All of the materials are environment-friendly.

This project has been a collaborative project that has included both the extraordinarily devoted efforts of the members of Sukyo Mahikari in New York as well as members throughout the region. We received offerings from all of the centers, as well as
receiving material as well as spiritual support from the regional headquarters of North America and World Headquarters of Sukyo Mahikari.

The heart of the members is clearly within this project. For example, in January 2009 we ran out of money. We had to raise a large amount of money in 25 days in order to continue the construction and meet schedules. When this was announced to the New York center, members made devoted efforts and, through offerings both small and large, we actually raised three times the amount we needed to keep our building construction going on time, which was amazing. Many people also took a prepared letter to friends and colleagues and asked them to contribute to this worthy project, not only because the organization is directed toward world peace and world community, but because the building represents eco-construction technologies of the future. People responded generously.

On opening the new center to the public, the regional director said:
Congratulations! I feel that we are so blessed to be able to establish the new Center for Spiritual Development as one of only ten green buildings in New York City. I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to all of the staff and kamikumite who have made sincere efforts throughout the years in order bring this to fruition.

This is such a significant milestone, not only for New York, but also for our entire region and the world. Establishing the new center as a green building is in accordance with the vision of our spiritual masters to use materials efficiently and to preserve the environment for future generations. It is also a wonderful opportunity to bring attention to our work in society.

At this time of a new beginning, let us all return to the spirit of the founding of the organization as we were guided by Oshienushisama. In this way, let us become people of Light in order to achieve the spiritual renaissance of North America!
According to the center director:
I think that it is clear that this is the quality of building that God wished us to establish here. I believe that the "stop and go" situation that we experienced for several years was very carefully choreographed by God. Even the difficulties we had were choreographed by God to allow us to make extra efforts.

I think it's clear that God wanted us to establish this eco-building in the heart of New York City, where the five races of different color live and work together generally in great harmony, for the sake of the expansion of this organization into society. Already, meetings have been held with an NGO of the United Nations, and we will hold a special opening for VIPs and the press.

I believe that God arranged for us to dispense with the old building and go to solid earth in order to create a new building and interior that has never been used except for these purposes. I feel that we will be able to look back on the history of the project and feel grateful that we were allowed to be of service to God by offering this beautiful building to offer God's Light and spread the divine principles.

Also, this building is an expression of our gratitude to the community at large, particularly to the community of people who are devoting their own efforts to unify humankind and establish the dream of a peaceful, prosperous planet.
We feel that the New York center belongs to all Sukyo Mahikari members of the region and the world. Please come visit and bring your friends to receive Light!

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Sukyo Mahikari Centers for Spiritual Development is the registered trademark of the Bishop of the North American Region of Sukyo Mahikari and is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. All rights reserved.

Sukyo Mahikari is an Affiliate with the United Religions Initiative (URI) of North America