Omega Receives New York State Environmental Excellence Award

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Department of Environmental Conservation Recognizes Eight Innovators in Sustainability at the 10th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards

Omega Center for Sustainable Living, courtesy of Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck, New York.

Our goal is to help people better understand natural systems and how to live and work within them, so together we can build a truly regenerative future

Omega Institute, home of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), received a NYS Environmental Excellence award on Tuesday at a ceremony cohosted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Price Chopper/The Golub Corporation. The award recognizes New York's environmental and conservation leaders, who are solving environmental challenges by using innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or creative partnerships.

“We are honored to be recognized by the state for our environmental stewardship and the development of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. Our goal is to help people better understand natural systems and how to live and work within them, so together we can build a truly regenerative future,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega.

Founded four years ago, the OCSL includes the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certifications, and has evolved into an emerging environmental leader, offering programs that teach regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega Institute is integrating similar designs into other facilities on its Rhinebeck, New York campus. A recent addition to the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards—the building uses very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.

The DEC established the awards program in 2004 to recognize and give visibility to selected businesses, schools, municipalities, governments, and not-for-profit organizations achieving outstanding environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic viability. Since the program’s inception, the DEC has honored 52 award recipients. Winners have included entrepreneurs competing in global markets and schools empowering future environmental leaders. Municipalities have been awarded for investing in green infrastructure, implementing a cost-effective food waste composting program, and financing an energy efficiency retrofit program. Universities and school districts across New York State have been recognized for developing energy efficiency programs and engaging students and administrators in impressive sustainable practices. Small businesses have been honored for innovative and green technologies, such as a lighting manufacturer that demonstrated how innovative design does not necessarily translate to higher costs.

Omega’s commitment to sustainability also includes recycling, composting, and conservation, powering 100% of campus electricity through the purchase of wind and solar power, supporting sustainable agriculture and local business, and reducing greenhouse gases through shuttle services, ride sharing, and LiveNeutral™ options.

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 200 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.

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Chrissa Pullicino
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