Omega Institute Breaks Ground on
New Environmental Facility
By Chrissa Pullicino



At a recent world summit on climate change, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “We cannot continue with business as usual. The time has come for decisive action on a global scale.” In response to this growing concern for our environment, Omega Institute is stepping up to launch the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), a state-of-the art environmental facility and education center that brings together wastewater recycling, clean energy, green architecture, and other sustainability elements that can be replicated locally and globally.

New York’s First Lady, Silda Wall Spitzer, and other esteemed guests gathered for the groundbreaking of this “visionary project”. OCSL, the first of its kind for New York State, has drawn praise from the First Lady, who joined Ned Sullivan, President of Scenic Hudson, Dr. John Todd, ecological architect, and Pete Seeger, folk musician and environmental activist, as a keynote speaker at the event.

“By combining 21st-century green technology with eons-old natural processes, the OCSL demonstrated how technology, buildings, and nature can co-exist in a synergistic way,” said Spitzer. “I’m certain that this forward-thinking model of sustainable development will inspire others to follow Omega Institute’s lead.”

“For thirty years Omega has been a leader in holistic, sustainable living. As an environmental steward, they are launching the center to address a growing concern — the lack of fresh, clean water,” said Skip Backus, Executive Director at Omega Institute. “This is not just a problem of the developing world, it is a problem we all face, and Omega is demonstrating steps that can be taken toward a more sustainable future,” concluded Backus.

OCSL, a cutting-edge green facility, will supply all its own energy needs, recycle wastewater, and be an educational model to inspire sustainable living practices. The self-sustaining building will be heated and cooled using geothermal systems, and will use solar and photovoltaic power. It will serve as the heart of Omega’s ongoing environmental initiatives and will include a laboratory, greenhouse, water garden, constructed wetland, and a classroom which will be open year-round to visiting students of all ages. The $2 million construction project, supported by donations, comes on the heels of Omega’s 30th anniversary, and is expected to be finished and fully operational this year.

The core of the center will be a 4,500-square-foot greenhouse containing a water filtration system called Eco-Machine™. This living system will use plants, bacteria, algae, snails, and fungi to recycle Omega’s wastewater (approximately 5 million gallons per year) into clean water that can be used to restore the aquifer.

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living is the first education center of its kind in the United States to combine the latest in green building and wastewater treatment technologies under one roof. It will be built with the most cutting-edge technology currently available and demonstrate how we can live in harmony with nature rather than destroying it.

Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 195 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 20,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York and at exceptional locations around the world.

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