Omega Press Release

November 21, 2007

Green Building Competition Winners Focus on Saving and Cleaning Water

Add to favorites

Green Building Competition Winners Focus on Saving and Cleaning Water

A 16-story medical building slashes water bills to less than $100 per month

November 21, 2007 (Seattle WA) - The Cascadia Region Green Building Council (Cascadia) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the winners of the Greenbuild 2007 Living Building Competition. The Living Building Challenge, developed by Cascadia, seeks to push green building to the highest level of sustainability. A living building is self-sustaining and "off the grid" in terms of water and energy usage. The Living Building Challenge is comprised of six primary categories: Site, Energy, Materials, Water, Indoor Quality, and Beauty & Inspiration.

"This competition celebrates the highest level of environmental performance currently achieved or in the design process. The range of innovative ideas and design gives me hope for the buildings of the future," says Jason F. McLennan, CEO of Cascadia Region Green Building Council and founder of the Living Building Challenge. "Despite the huge growth of green building, we still have a long way to go to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and building operations."

GBD Architects' Oregon Health & Science University's (OHSU) Center for Health & Healing in Portland, OR received the Stepping Stone Award for water re-use and recognition for the team's Integrated Design process. GBD Architects incorporated a revolutionary rain and groundwater reclamation system, which flushes the building's toilets, waters the landscape, supplies the radiant cooling system, and more. With 73 percent of the Center's water supply coming from captured or reclaimed water, the average water bills are less than $100 a month. Through the installation of a bioreactor on site, the building also cleans 15,000 gallons of wastewater each day.

This year's On the Boards Award, for a building in the design process, went to BNIM Architects for the Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, NY. The Omega Center will be the heart of the Omega Institute's environmental initiatives, furthering its commitment to health, wellness, and sustainability. The focal point of a 4500-square foot greenhouse will be the Eco Machine, an alternative filtration system that will use a living network of plants, bacteria, algae, snails, and fungi to recycle approximately five million gallons of wastewater yearly into clean water for irrigation. This system, which mimics the cleaning ability of a natural estuary, will replace the site's existing 50-year-old septic system.

Other award recipients include:
Demonstrated Leadership recognition for
  • Seminar II in Olympia, WA, by Mahlum Architects for Indoor Quality
  • Warren Skaaren Environmental Learning Center at Westcave Preserve in Round Mountain, TX by Jackson & McElhaney Architects for Beauty & Inspiration.
Demonstrated Leadership in the On the Boards category for
  • Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeek, MD by M2 Architecture/Re:Vision Architecture
  • Kenton Living Building in Portland, OR by SERA Architects.
The competition was open to both LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-the green building rating system developed and administered by the USGBC) and non-LEED projects located in the United States only, excluding single-family residential buildings. Award recipients were selected by an expert panel of judges, consisting of Sandy Wiggins, Consilience and Chair of the USGBC Board; Mark Frankel, New Buildings Institute; Clark Brockman, AIA, SERA Architects; and Kath Williams, Ph.D., Kath Williams + Associates.

More information about the winning projects can be found on the Cascadia website: .

About Cascadia Region Green Building Council:
The Cascadia Region Green Building Council (Cascadia) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit and one of three original chapters of the US Green Building Council and a member of the Canada Green Building Council. Cascadia is the originator of the Living Building Challenge, and represents Oregon and Washington States and the Province of British Columbia. Its mission is to effect market change toward sustainable building design and manufacturing processes in the Cascadia bioregion.

# # #

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
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 250 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.