Build the Abbess’ Residence
Prajna House Is Underway
Watch as Ven. Thubten Chodron’s grateful students around the world build a small house for the founding abbess of Sravasti Abbey.
Why Prajna House?
When Ven. Thubten Chodron founded Sravasti Abbey in 2003, there was one main, habitable building and three residents—one nun and two cats.
Soon, however, guests and residents began to arrive, our lone building was bustling, and Ven. Chodron needed a quiet place to write. In 2004, her students built a small writing studio near the main house. It had no plumbing. There was a composting toilet and a large jug for hauling water from the main house.
She has been there ever since. She still hauls drinking water from Ananda Hall and hikes to another building in rain, snow, and fair weather for her showers.
Now it’s time to build a proper residence for the founder and Abbess of Sravasti Abbey. Read Alice’s lovely invitation to get involved.
“Prajna” is Sanskrit for wisdom, suggesting that wisdom is necessary in leading a monastic community.
Prajna House will be a small two-story dwelling with these features:
- Each floor is 616 square feet
- Ven. Chodron will live upstairs where there is work and living space, a small kitchenette, and bathroom with shower.
- All facilities are wheel-chair accessible.
- Downstairs has a small room for an attendant and storage.
- Following “green building” principles, Prajna House will use the same Faswall and stucco construction that we used on Chenrezig Hall
- Prajna House will be solar-powered, the Abbey’s first solar building
Prajna House is not for Ven. Chodron alone. It’s the future residence of subsequent abbesses or abbots as well. And like all Abbey buildings, it will be built to last, with respect for the environment, and through the kindness of others.
Prajna House Budget
|Engineering and Design||$ 3,300|
|Permits and Insurance||$ 2,700|
|Solar Panels & Installation||$ 21,000|
|Sales tax||$ 14,000|
|Contingency (10% of projected cost)||$ 24,000.|
Eco Depot will install a solar system for Prajna House. According to their description, here’s how it works:
The panels change sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Every day, light hits the roof-top solar panel with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current (“DC”) electricity.
The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. The inverter converts that “DC” power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or “AC” power. AC power is what runs computers and lamps.
A net energy meter keeps track of all the power the solar system produces. Any solar energy we do not use simultaneous with production will go back into the electrical grid through the meter.
At night or on cloudy days, when the system is not producing more than Prajna House needs, the building will consume electricity from the grid as normal. Our PUD will bill us for the “net” consumption for any given billing period and give a dollar credit for any excess during a given period.
We can carry the energy bill credit forward for up to a year! The panels will definitely pay for themselves in just a few years, while the Abbey reduces our carbon footprint and enacts our values to be wise stewards of Earth’s resources.
Prajna House’s above-grade walls will be built with Faswall with stucco siding. This is the same construction system we used for Chenrezig Hall.
The Faswall® green building system is among the most environment-friendly and healthy building materials available.
Faswall is made with nothing but 85% mineralized wood from recycled wood pallets and 15% cement.
Faswall is durable and energy efficient. And while highly resistant to rodents, insects and molds, it is a safe and vapor-permeable
Prajna House will sit at the top of the meadow between Chenrezig Hall and Gotami House, facing south.