Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is a non-profit educational, retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York and houses the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. We had the honor to visit the Omega campus and speak to Chrissa Santoro, the Director of External Communications and talk about the many eco-friendly initiatives and holistic programs that Omega offers.
The interview was held at The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) which was opened in 2009 and was the first building ever to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification—the highest environmental performance standards available.
The OCSL is an environmental education center and hosts a greenhouse and state-of-the art Eco-Machine™, a natural water reclamation facility that has reclaimed 45M gallons of wastewater during the last 10 years since it was opened. The Eco-Machine™ uses plants, bacteria, algae, snails, and fungi to turn Omega’s wastewater into clean water which is then used to restore the aquifer.
The majority of the building is built with reclaimed wood, and a small amount of the wood is sourced from FSC Certified Forests. The building uses geothermal technology for heating and cooling and utilizes 211 solar panels to generate 134.2 kw/day.
The center is designed to generate more electricity than it uses and in the last 10 years it saved a total of 867K pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
Omega’s campus has numerous additional eco-friendly initiatives to prevent waste and reduce its environmental impact that range from recycling, composting, conservation of resources, supporting sustainable agriculture and local businesses by offering farm-to-table meals that are locally sourced and mostly organically grown and powering 100% of campus electricity through the purchase of wind and solar power.
Besides the OCSL, Omega provides over 350 educational workshops and events annually that range from: body, mind, and spirit to creative expression, to leadership and work, health and healing, relationships and family, and sustainable living. Omega’s commitment to creating a climate for positive change extends beyond workshops and R&R retreats, through other key initiatives and programs including the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, work with Veterans that offers programs and scholarships for Veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, Yoga Service which brings yoga practice to underserved populations such as prisons, senior homes, and schools with at-risk youth, as well as programs that bring mindfulness practice to educational institutions and healthcare providers.
To learn more about the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living please visit their website: https://www.eomega.org
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