A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top 10 Greywater Universities

The competition for green in the greymatter world of the academies is keen. Oregon State University was recently listed in the top green schools by the Princeton Review, primarily due to the institutional efforts to use green power and promote *sustainability*.

The Rainbow Water Coalition has profiled many projects and buildings in hopes of mining this knowledge for the budding Oregon Sustainability Center, but with the continued delays in getting that project under construction has led to the bar of success climbing ever so higher with each passing month. Next month is BEST FEST at Portland State University, celebrating all things green across the not-so-green landscape of Oregon, mostly focusing on the Oregon Sustainability Center and how to jump start the green economy in Oregon.

In no particular order, check out some of the best *greymatter meets greywater* projects in the news:

Okanagan College Centre of Excellence. EarthTechling provided this summary of a new beyond LEED Platinum building that is powered by solar and cooled by geothermal. In homage to the devastating bettle kill of pine trees across western North America, the wood is 100% derived from British Columbia. It reuses all of its waste and greywater onsite.

Stanford Graduate School of Business. Another EarthTechling article about the Knight Management Center where *...extensive use of recycled materials and  low-VOC finishes; rainwater and greywater used for flushing toilets, cutting potable water consumption for sewer conveyance by 80%...*

Colorado State University. Serious business when it comes to greywater research, but also going for it when it comes to taking the lead on LEED...Colorado State University was mentioned in this article published in the Northern Colorado Business Report, where CSU *is graywater testing in residence halls...has six LEED Gold buildings and five others pending certification...the university's first interdisciplinary minor in Global Environmental Sustainability...and...formally dedicated one of the largest solar plants in the nation at a university - a 5.3-megawatt operation that will help the state meet goals for renewable energy and keep the university's utility rates stable and affordable during the next 20 years*.

University of Georgia Building 1516. The newest residence hall on the UGA campus, featuring  among many other things, *Use of treated graywater (recycled water from showers and bathroom sinks) for flushing toilets; Bioretention systems located near the building to filter pollutants from and treat stormwater runoff; A rainwater catchment system for water recycling; and Drought-tolerant landscaping*

Washington University Tyson Living Learning Center. Part of a much larger research enterprise,  International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability, the Tyson Living Learning Center pretty much started it all in the US. The Rainbow Water Coalition posted about their approach to an *alternative compliance approach* to meeting rules and regulations.

Bridgewater State University's Marshall Conant Science Building and Worcester Polytechnic Institute Sports and Recreation Center. Why a tag team of two schools? Both schools are located in Massachusetts, and both are using the same greywater reuse equipment manufactured by Practical Applications, Inc. (PAI). Bridgewater was discussed here, and Worcester is discussed in this article.

University of Washington Center for Urban Waters. Located in Tacoma, the project was constructed using an alternative approach to traditional public works projects through the use of a nonprofit company created specifically for the project and is leased by the City of Tacoma and the University of Washington. Among its many *facts*, the facility uses 46% less water than a conventional facility, stormwater collected in tanks is used to flush toilets and irrigate plants.

University of British Columbia Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability. British  Columbia is already famous for the fabulous greenwall at the Vancouver airport. According to this press release, UBC is claiming that the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) will be the greenest building in North America. UBC says *...that the building will be a net energy producer thanks to on-site fuel cells, solar panels, solar hot water heaters, ground source heat pumps, and a biomass co-generation system*.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's (UWM) National Center for Water Technology and Policy. According to this press release, it is not clear where the new center will be housed. Green buildings are not new to UWM, as discussed here. But as discussed here and here, Milwaukee is going into the water reuse business, big time.

University of California, Berkeley. *Solar Optics-based Active Pasteurization (SOAP) for Greywater  Reuse and Integrated Thermal (GRIT) Building Control*. National Science Foundation funded project on greywater? Not much else needs to be said.

* * *
Oregon Universities System Oregon Sustainability Center? Should the Oregon Sustainability Center be listed in the Top 10? Given that Oregon is still wrestling with the greywater reuse rules, coupled with the slowdown in the construction of the Oregon Sustainability Center, I am hopeful that the concept of simply storing stormwater in a 200,000 gallon tank somewhere on the premises can be revisited by taking a new look at an old idea. What will I be presenting at BEST FEST? Reframing water use through the gem of recycled water - sapphirewater, invented by the clever Australians - under the guise of alternate compliance.

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