Jain suggests smart irrigation to save money, taking as proof the Sun City Grand experience

Courtesy of jain.com

JAIN as part of its Webinar Training Series host a special live online panel session (free to attend) with guests including Ken Olson, former General Manager of Sun City Grand, on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 12:00 PM Pacific Time. Read this post about Sun City Grand’s great success in reducing its landscaping water bill then sign up for HOA panel on May 20 to hear Ken talk about how he “reduced water usage by at least 35% yearly.”

A Six Figure Water Bill

Sun City Grand, a 300-acre Community Association in Surprise, Arizona was spending over $700,000 a year on water for irrigation. With recent dry spells in Arizona and rising water costs in the state, Sun City Grand needed to find ways to lower water usage and conserve their Community Association’s funds.

Like Sun City Grand, most HOAs are unaware that their landscape irrigation systems substantially overwater, often wasting more than half the amount of water they use. But the solution isn’t as simple as turning back the dial. The amount of water plant-life needs is different every day according to changes in the weather, large or small. Yet sprinkler timers run on a fixed-schedule, putting out the same amount of water day-in, day-out regardless of the specific plant type needs or weather. Include human guesswork on top of that to decide how much watering sprinklers should do, and then manually adjusting for changing weather conditions, it’s impossible to avoid all the excess water that goes to waste. Now, however, new technology makes it possible to eliminate this outdoor water waste entirely.

Smart With Water

Sun City Grand discovered they could gain significant water and cost savings by using weather-based ‘smart irrigation’ technology. Smart irrigation promised to address the shortcomings of their conventional sprinkler timers by automatically and continuously adjusting to the local weather and watering their grounds for precisely how much would be needed, only when it needed.

After conducting a comprehensive market audit, Sun City Grand found that not all smart irrigation is equally smart. Some systems depended on local soil moisture sensors, which would introduce new maintenance requirements and could be a new single point of failure, while others worked with weather in the internet ‘cloud’—a commercial and highly accurate weather service with national coverage. Some were only smart enough to stop sprinklers once it began raining, while others could take a forecast of rain and adjust their current schedule in anticipation accordingly. Some used simplified weather models that only mimicked conditions during typical weather patterns, while others used the latest advances in evapotranspiration—the science behind how much water is lost by the plant and soil—that tracks closely to actual weather conditions.

A Six Figure Savings

Sun City Grand estimated that by updating their 17-year old irrigation system to the smartest of smart irrigation they could reduce their yearly water use by as much as 20 million gallons. But when the Sun City Grand landscape committee conducted an annual review of their smart irrigation upgrade it was quite the “surprise in Surprise”—they saved 43 million gallons of water on irrigation, more than double their original projection, and reduced their irrigation water costs by well over $200,000.

Sun City Grand credits these dramatic results to the smart irrigation solution they picked. ETwater came out on top as the smartest among smart irrigation technologies they choose for several reasons:

  1. ETwater employs advanced meteorological models that calculate with incredible accuracy how much water each specific plant-type needs. It continuously adjusts for weather forecasts to save on watering today when it knows there’ll be rain tomorrow.
  2. ETwater was the only technology that didn’t require Sun City Grand to replace their existing irrigation controllers. Just plug in an ETwater remote controller to any standard sprinkler timer and you can give it the “smarts.” That made a big difference in their capex requirements and considerably reduced the amount of up-front investment for converting to smart irrigation.
  3. ETwater was the most user-friendly solution for their grounds keeping staff. Sun City Grand found it easy to operate and it gave them real-time monitoring and management from anywhere, anytime, on any mobile or smart device.
  4. And most importantly, ETwater’s unique service model was the only option where Sun City Grand’s capital expenses could be reduced to practically zero. All the needed equipment could be provided as part of the ETwater service subscription, allowing the savings to more than pay for the service, and Sun City Grand to see the return on their investment within one year.

Even More Benefits

With reduced expenses and common grounds looking better than ever, property values at Sun City Grand are on the rise as well—as if saving a precious resource and making a positive impact on the environment wasn’t enough.

Courtesy of jain.com

Source: Jain