Cowhorn Vineyard tasting room earns Living Building certification

Jacksonville, Ore.—The tasting room at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden has earned Living Building certification, making it the first commercial building in Oregon and the one of the first in the wine industry to earn the 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.

As of May 2018, only 20 buildings worldwide have achieved Living Building certification, according to the ILFI.

Cowhorn's tasting room had to be operational for at least 12 consecutive months prior to achieving Living Building certification. Since opening in May 2016, the winery reported in a press release that the building's 15.96 kW photovoltaic system produced 175% of the building's total energy needs. All of the building's water requirements are met by an appropriately sized, closed-loop system, where 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 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.

"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 Cowhorn Vineyard founder and winemaker Barbara Steele in a recent press release. "People can taste the difference when they drink our wine, and they can feel the difference when they walk in the tasting room."

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