Grey-water systems

Omega Institute CEO, Skip Backus, will present on the Eco-Machine that is used to purify the grey and black water for the campus using a system of constructed wetlands and indoor aerated lagoon. There will be time for discussion, including an exploration of scaling the concept of an Eco-Machine.



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Robert "Skip" Backus is the chief executive officer of Omega Institute. For more than 20 years, he has played a leadership role at Omega as operations director and campus manager, maintaining all of Omega’s buildings. In this capacity, he helped Omega lay the foundation for its environmental initiatives, creating and promoting innovative conservation efforts, including campus recycling and composting, sustainable purchasing and support of local agriculture, water conservation, and sourcing of campus electricity from wind and solar technology.

Backus has provided visionary leadership for the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), an environmental education center and natural water reclamation facility. Built to meet the highest standards currently available in sustainable architecture, the OCSL is a pioneering project in the Living Building Challenge™ and is the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification.

For two decades, Backus also operated his own contracting business, including residential and light commercial projects. He frequently speaks about sustainability at a variety of venues.

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  • Mark Curtis M.

    I'm glad we didn't have a projector because Skip's presentation became and intimate talk instead of a lecture. He handled the information very well! And he seemed very personable and down-to-earth for someone who's handling such a huge responsibility. Omega Institute is a treasure, and I see they've got a good person running the show. Found it very interesting that he gets gloomy about the future and our fate in the face of climate change and looming economic chaos.

    June 3

  • Lala bhakti & J.

    The meet up was great. As for us we had miscomunication on the projector so we did not have one. For future events we need to bring a projector. In our opinion it made the evening more interesting and we were able to sit closer together and have a more real interaction. We are so thankful for laura and "skip" for coming and sharin so much with us

    June 2

  • Carol R.

    I totally wish I could be there. Has anyone let the ulster county health dept know about this? They really don't seem enamored of black or even grey water systems.

    May 31

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