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By Patricia


Water is on my mind as it has been raining here for 30 days and 30 nights straight.  As I write we are having a sun respite, so although heavy at times we are getting some variation in the rate.

The Images of the Tsunami in Japan and its devastation are still very fresh in my mind and I do not wish to make light of that event in any form.  My thoughts and prayers are being sent their way along with some relief funds.

We have two sump pumps under our house which have been running steadily for the past several days, and if one walks on the grass, it is so saturated that shoes are covered in mud.  Although I regularly clean out the gutters, they are still full of the recent cedar tree droppings and the street gutters are being clogged with leftover leaves and gravel from the snow days.   Lots of work to keep me busy.

While I scoop out the latest clog I cannot help but think that there must be some way to generate energy from all this water?  I am told I can place a rain barrel under a drain spout to water my plants, but some kind of generator could not handle the variations between downpour and mist or the sheer volume running off the roof.

I know our city uses recycled water to irrigate the parks.  How do they do it?

I found this article by the Brightworks Associates which teaches about a multi-purpose facility in Portland, Oregon that is all plumbed for using rain water for flushing the toilets. It needs the tanks.  This educational article was fascinating and informative.  Why could we not do that on our house?  Why there must be someone to invent a filter that the rain water could be filtered and used for showers by running through the hot water tank also?

Why are we caught using drinking water for flushing and showering? I thought clean drinking water was becoming a worldwide problem? Hmmm

On Sightline Daily I have just read this scary article about storm water runoff.

The downpour is back!

My brain is thinking hard and long about this, because I just think we must figure out how to turn a problem into an asset.  What do you think?

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Thu, March 17 2011 » Discoveries

4 Responses

  1. Joshua Hatch March 18 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    The owner and management group of Left Bank are forward thinkers–not many are willing to spend extra money for double plumbing for future use of captured rainwater. Even though they couldn’t initially afford the tanks, it is now a straightforward retrofit since the piping is all there. Providing such a platform for flexibility in the future really drives down the costs of aggressive green building retrofits.

    Thanks for reading my blog post! Regarding the use of rainwater for showers, in addition to filtration, you would need to treat the water with UV for sanitation. But certainly feasible. Depending on the efficiency of your fixtures, showers are often the main water use inside a residential home.

  2. Patricia March 20 2011 @ 12:45 pm

    Joshua Hatch
    I so enjoy reading the Brightworks blog and learning all the new information and activities going on. Thank you for coming by and commenting to

    I am working at writing a grant to hopefully build some Net Zero housing in our town and show folks what energy efficiency is truly all about…an educational example. I know there are 8 units near Seattle which I have written about, but that is too far away to be real here.

    I do not think energy wise buildings are about just adding some insulation and using energy efficient appliance- I think it is a whole way of life and living.

    My husband is the greenest architect I know and he struggles to get projects – after they give them too the huge firms, and they are not green enough, then they call him in to remedy their mistakes…this upsets me…
    Patricia´s last blog post ..What to Do With All This Water

  3. Tom March 20 2011 @ 8:17 pm

    Josh, Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your comment about a green organization that is willing to go the extra mile for double plumbing in their building. It certainly is a challenge in my community trying to convince a client whose business is something very different from offering green services to go an extra mile. I particularly like the concluding comment on your blog. Being green is always improving and always changing to go the next step.
    Tom´s last blog post ..What to Do With All This Water

  4. Janney June 26 2013 @ 6:04 pm

    Agreed. Communication in this day and age is absolutely crucial! Most of us use our phones daily to chat to our friends in our lives. I can’t fathom a world without modern software. I’m so thankful we have apps like these at our disposal.

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