Project profile: Omega Center for Sustainable Living
Founded in 1977, the Omega Institute is the nation's largest holistic learning center. Their mission: "To look everywhere for the most effective strategies and inspiring traditions that might help people bring more meaning and vitality into their lives." In 2006 they set out to develop a new and highly sustainable wastewater filtration facility for their 195-acre campus, which is located within one of the most important watersheds in the world, the 13,400 square-mile Hudson River basin.
The primary goal for this project was to overhaul the organization's current wastewater disposal system by using alternative methods of treatment. As part of a larger effort to educate the client's visitors, staff, and local community on innovative wastewater strategies, they decided to showcase the system in a building that houses both the primary treatment cells as well as a classroom and laboratory. In addition to using the treated water for garden irrigation and in a greywater recovery system, they use both the system and building as a teaching tool in their educational program designed around the ecological impact of their system. These classes are offered to campus visitors, area school children, university students, and other local communities.
(2010 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects recipient)