The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies is located on the Oberlin College campus in Oberlin, Ohio. It houses classroom and office space, an auditorium, a small environmental studies library and resource center, a wastewater-purification system in a greenhouse, and an open atrium.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) collaborated with the Oberlin staff to continuously improve the as-built building.
Upon initiation of the project, Professor David Orr asked three questions that continue to serve as a guiding philosophy for the Lewis Center:
- Is it possible—even in Ohio—to power buildings by current sunlight?
- Is it possible to create buildings that purify their own wastewater?
- Is it possible to build without compromising human or environmental health somewhere else or at some later time?
The hope remains that the building not only serve as a space in which to hold classes, but also, according to Orr, "help to redefine the relationship between humankind and the environment."