Sustainable green roof for rainwater harvesting system that recirculates collected rainwater in toilets.

5 Ways to Run a More Sustainable Nonprofit Kitchen and Shelter in Portland

At Blanchet House of Hospitality Earth Day is every day! Our mission compels us to better the health and well-being of the people we serve and that means caring for the environment we share too. From our meal program to our building’s construction we have incorporated sustainable living practices to lessen the negative impact on the environment.

Operating sustainably means we are reducing the number of resources needed to run our programs by doing the following:

Green roof for rainwater collection at Blanchet House.

Green roof for rainwater collection and resident relaxation at Blanchet House.

Green Roof for Rainwater Harvesting

An estimated 63,000 gallons of rainwater can be collected from Blanchet House’s green roof. Rainwater harvesting creates an alternative water supply that stores rainwater for later uses like toilet flushing. Blanchet House estimates that well over 150,000 gallons of freshwater are saved every year by using a rainwater harvesting and recirculation system. The small plants on the green roof also work to capture airborne pollutants and filter noxious gases. Learn more about our transitional housing program.

Chef Shannon Chasteen holding excess apples donated from a local grocery store.

Chef Shannon Chasteen holding excess apples donated from a local grocery store.

Rescue Food from Local Businesses

Blanchet House helps reduce wasted fresh food in Portland by collecting overstocked excess food from grocery stores, restaurants, and wholesalers. In 2020, we kept more than 63 tons of good edible food from going to landfills. Our chefs inspect all rescued food for quality then prepare delicious meals for our food-insecure guests every day. Learn more about our food rescue program.

A resident of Blanchet Farm tends to one of the pigs kept for therapy and to reduce food waste.

A resident of Blanchet Farm tends to one of the pigs kept for therapy and to reduce food waste.

Food Waste Reduction

Blanchet House composts all food scraps, unused food, and leftovers by turning it into feed for farm animals at Blanchet Farm and another farm. Food scraps are cooked to eliminate harmful bacteria to be fed as slop to the pigs. Goats, ducks, sheep, and chickens also help by eating grains, bread, fruit, and vegetables. In 2020, the animals at Blanchet Farm kept more than six tons of food waste out of landfills. Learn more about our food reduction program.

A resident of Blanchet House loads food scraps on to a farmer's truck.

A resident of Blanchet House loads food scraps onto a farmer’s truck.

Recycling Program

A comprehensive recycling program to manage the disposal of cardboard, paper, plastic, glass, and metals. The residents of our transitional housing shelter sort and collect recycling every day.

Construction of Blanchet House begins in 2011.

Construction of Blanchet House begins in 2011.

Energy Efficiency

In 2012, a new LEED Platinum Certified Blanchet House was constructed to replace the original, now dilapidated structure next door. SERA Architects and Fortis Construction focused on erecting a building that utilized sustainable design and construction practices that would positively benefit operations. The new greener building helps achieve a high percentage of water, energy, and cost savings giving the Blanchet House more money for programs that directly help people in need.

  • Energy efficiency measures include an improved thermal envelope, reduced interior lighting power density, daylighting and occupancy sensors, and a high-efficiency boiler.
  • More than 75 percent of the total wood-based building materials were harvested from FSC certified forests.

Learn more about the constructions of Blanchet House’s LEED Platinum Certified building.

How to Help Someone Experiencing Homelessness

Water and Heat Relief

A volunteer pours water in a bowl for a homeless guest at Blanchet House in Portland.

Make Care Kits

About Blanchet House

Fresh Food Rescued from Local Businesses

Our History: Started in 1952 by a Group of Friends

Some of the founders of Blanchet House of Hospitality in the old kitchen circa 2011.

Some of the founders of Blanchet House of Hospitality in the old kitchen circa 2011.

Inside Look at Portland’s Outdoor Homeless Shelters

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