Omega Center Meets Living Building Challenge
BNIM Architects designed this as a functioning model for the nonprofit organization Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, the state-of-the art environmental education and water reclamation facility in Rhinebeck, New York where it serves as a teaching tool to educate visitors on Omegaâ€™s ongoing environmental initiatives, including innovative wastewater strategies.
The buildingâ€™s design is centered around this 4,500-square-foot greenhouse containing a natural water filtration system or Eco-machine, created by John Todd Ecological Design uses plants, bacteria, algae, snails and fungi to recycle wastewater into purified water, which is then used to restore the aquifer.
The 6,200-square-foot facility also contains a classroom, laboratory, water garden, and constructed wetland, supplies all of its own energy needs using solar power, and is carbon neutral. The self-sustaining, high-thermal mass building uses passive solar heating supplemented by geothermal heating as needed, and employs natural ventilation cooling strategies.
The OSCL is one of the first buildings to participate in the Living Building Challenge and is anticipated to become one of the first buildings in the United States to be designated a Living Building â€“ the highest level of environmental performance possible to date.
The requirements to meet the Living Building Challenge fall into these general categories
1. Site: Responsible Site Selection
2. Site: Limits to Growth
3. Site: Habitat Exchange
4. Energy: Net Zero Energy
5. Materials: Materials Red List
6. Materials: Construction Carbon Footprint
7. Materials:Â Responsible Industry
8. Materials: Appropriate Materials/Services Radius
9. Materials: Leadership in Construction Waste
10. Water: Net Zero Water
11. Water: Sustainable Water Discharge
12. Indoor Quality: A Civilized Environment
13. Indoor Quality: Healthy Air: Source Control
14. Indoor Quality: Healthy Air: Ventilation
15. Beauty & Inspiration: Beauty and Spirit
16. Beauty & Inspiration: Inspiration and Education