Oregon wine tasting room crushes first Living Building Certification
The tasting room at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden has officially earned Living Building Certification, making it the first commercial building in Oregon and the first winery to earn what's regarded as the world's most rigorous green building standard.
Green Hammer, a unified design-build firm based in Portland, designed and built the 2,200-square-foot tasting room, which includes a case storage area.
Built entirely of materials containing no toxic chemicals, the tasting room at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden has superior indoor air quality and a warm, comfortable feel year-round.
Developed by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), Living Building Certification requires actual, rather than modeled or anticipated, performance across environmental, social and community impact imperatives.
As of May 2018, only 20 buildings worldwide have achieved Living Building certification, according to the ILFI. The tasting room at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden had to be operational for at least 12 consecutive months prior to achieving Living Building Certification. Since opening in May 2016, the building's 15.96 kW photovoltaic system produced 175 percent of the building's total energy needs.
All of the building's water requirements are met by an appropriately sized, closed-loop system, in which water is supplied by an on-site well and wastewater is treated on site and restored to the groundwater.
As part of the certification process, Green Hammer rigorously reviewed and verified the ingredients of every material slated for installation — ranging from hardware to drywall — to verify that they were free of toxic and bio-accumulative substances pervasive in most building materials. In addition, only Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood was used in building construction.
"The tasting room at Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden is a beautiful example of what a business can achieve when it engages a unified design-build team right from the start," said Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the ILFI and author of Creating Biophilic Buildings. "By enlisting the help of an experienced, forward-thinking firm like Green Hammer, Cowhorn achieved what no other winery has been able to achieve while creating a beautiful, inviting space where the public can enjoy its wine."
The building reflects the winery owners' perspective on sustainability.
"Our farming and winemaking philosophy is similar to our building philosophy — by focusing on restorative rather than extractive processes, we produce higher-quality wine with fewer resources," said Barbara Steele. "People can taste the difference when they drink our wine, and they can feel the difference when they walk in the tasting room."
Green Hammer and Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden were officially recognized by the ILFI at the Living Future unConference, May 2, 2018, in Portland.
"This achievement should be celebrated by Cowhorn, Green Hammer, and a long list of design consultants, vendors and trade contractors who worked on the project. This achievement also goes beyond the project partners and should be a feather in the hat for the entire green building community in Oregon, which has been pushing the envelope for decades to prove that the state's net-zero energy goals can be achieved today," said Stephen Aiguier, Green Hammer founder and CEO.
A certified organic and Biodynamic winery in Southern Oregon, Cowhorn's 25-acre vineyard currently produces about 4,000 cases of wine a year—a mix of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and white Rhône blends. The 2014 Cowhorn Spiral 36 was named to Forbes' Top 10 Best Wines of 2015.