Purchasing clean energy is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Clean energy is power produced from renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro. All electricity Omega purchases is clean energy from wind farms based in central New York State. In recognition of our clean energy purchasing, Omega Institute was named a 2010 member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Leadership Club, a designation of the EPA Green Power Partnership® program.
The only thing better than purchasing clean energy is generating clean energy on site. On our Rhinebeck campus, solar panels power Main Hall, Omega's largest workshop classroom. The Omega Center for Sustainable Living is heated and cooled using 100% geothermal energy, and 200 photovoltaic solar panels supply 100% of the OCSL's electricity needs. On an annual basis, the photovoltaic solar panels at the OCSL supply more energy back to the local utility company's grid than the OCSL uses, establishing the OCSL as a net zero energy building.
To make 100% clean energy a reality for any building, a sustainable design is essential. For example, to meet the energy demand of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living using clean energy only, the design of the heating and cooling systems was closely integrated with the overall building design. If we had not designed the heating and cooling systems so sustainably, 10 times the amount of photovoltaic arrays would have been needed to power these systems. By using a highly sustainable design, we achieved our goal of generating 100% clean energy on site at the OCSL.