‘Editor’s Notebook’ with Diana Mosher

 Greywater is Making a ‘Splash’ in Portland, Ore...

 Greywater is Making a ‘Splash’ in Portland, Oregon

 It’s hard to ignore the fact that the affordable multi-housing sector frequently leads the way in green initiatives. In Portland, Oregon, for example, the work of Central City Concern (CCC), a non-profit affordable housing provider, has helped direct statewide regulatory change.


Commercial and residential buildings in Oregon are now allowed to use rainwater.

This change will result in significant savings for owners as well as low-income residents. It will also help conserve a precious resource. 

As CCC points out, the greatest challenge of a truly sustainable building is…  water independence. Its groundbreaking work has helped put Oregon in the top tier nationally among a handful of states with progressive
water regulations.

A water- independent building harvests rainwater, and all of its
wastewater (greywater and also blackwater) for reuse. This eliminates both
the use of municipally supplied water and the outflow of stormwater and sewage
off the property.

CCC’s report, “Achieving Water Independence in Buildings,” explains water reuse
strategies and what current regulations allow. It was instrumental in seeking rainwater

and greywater
allowances in Oregon
and it may offer guidance for multi-housing 
developers in other states.