Thursday, December 20, 2012

OMEGA Institute Design by Nature Conference

In October members of the Sustainability Office along with a student attended the Design by Nature Conference. It was an inspirational weekend that gave everyone a new, more realistic fervor for the sustainability movement.  The conference featured leaders in the field like Jeremy Rifken, Janine Benyes, and Van Jones.  The topics included what the green movement can do for the American economy, the future of food production, and the lessons we can learn from nature.  It touched on economic, social, architectural, and design solutions to many of tour country’s problems.  To summarize the weekend, there is a future for green energy, running a green economy, and humans living in a healthy sustainable world.  This kind of system is currently being put into action in Europe and it is working.

The OMEGA Institute has embodied this dedication to sustainability by building the first LEED Platinum Certified Living Building. The building serves as both a wastewater treatment center and a Yoga studio. Surprised about the combination? The system uses natural processes to break down the waste.  The process includes anaerobic bacteria, outdoor wetland plants and indoor vegetation, fish, and water circulation to remove all contaminants, including pharmaceuticals and hormones, from the water.  The process is odorless and can be done with less energy than the building collects on its solar panels meaning that the building makes more energy than the process uses.  Wastewater can be processed like this almost anywhere. It is with innovation and inspiration from nature that we should continue into the future.

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