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Archive for the ‘Water Conservation’ Category

A Letter to Our Customers

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Dear Customers,

We have to change the way we are watering our landscaping. Most systems need to be updated with new controllers.  Here are some facts concerning most sprinkler systems today.

  • Nationwide, residential outdoor water use exceeds seven billion gallons of water each day, most of which is used for watering our landscaping.
  • Experts estimate that half of this water goes to waste due to evaporation, wind and improperly scheduled run times.
  • There is currently an estimated 13.5 million irrigation systems installed in residential lawns across the United States and an additional three hundred thousand new systems are installed every year.
  • It is estimated that less than ten percent of these units already use water conserving controllers.  This means many systems are wasting water!

The problem

Currently the most common method used to schedule irrigation is a manually programmed clock timer that irrigates a specified amount on a preset schedule program by the user.  Clock timer controllers can be significant source of wasted water, because irrigation schedules are often set to water during the height of the growing season and are not adjusted to actual watering needs. Plant requirements decrease in the fall, many homeowners forget to reset their irrigation schedules, over watering their lawns.

The solution

An alternative to clock timers is weather based controllers.  Weather based controllers can make adjustments to watering times every day. Watering is tailored to the weather conditions and apply water only when the landscaping needs it. This creates a healthier, better looking landscape and saves water and money!

We have seen 25%-40% reduction in water usage after a weather based controller is installed. These devices cost $300-$800 for most systems. On most systems they can save 50,000 to 80,000 gallons of water a year.

It is our goal to get all our customers converted to one of these smart controllers. If all the systems in America had weather based controllers, billions of gallons of water and millions of dollars could be saved.  If you would like more information give us a call at 952-929-1232 or contact us here.

How to Reduce Your Sprinkler System’s Water Usage

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

This past Summer a landscaper ask me to look at a sprinkler system at a Minneapolis residence. His customer was concerned about the environment and conserving water. Each time she looked at her water bill she was concerned at how much water her household was consuming.  Over the course of one Summer, the sprinkler system was using 170,000 gallons of water.  While that is a large amount of water it isn’t unusual for a sprinkler system.  My goal was to decrease her water consumption and maintain the same beautiful landscape.

Here are the water saving methods I recommended.

  1. Replace the sprinkler system controller.  In the last few years there have been some innovative new controllers coming to the market.  Old controllers should be replaced with these new weather based controllers.  The new Weathermatic and Hunter Solar Sync adjust sprinkler run times based on the weather.  The controllers take in a number of factors, warmth, precipitation, wind speed, time of year and type of sprinkler system.  This allows for a very tuned system that allows the sprinkler system to only put down as much water as is needed.
  2. Replace traditional spray head with Hunter MP Rotators.  This is a new product can be retrofitted in existing spray heads.  It can save 30% more water than traditional spray heads.  The MP Rotators, create multiple streams of water that rotate, this means larger water droplets, no more mist, less wind drift, less evaporation, and less runoff.  This is an easy retrofit and one I recommend.
  3. Replace flower and vegetable gardens spray heads to Hunter drip tubing.  Drip tubing have emitters ever 12″ to 18″ and slowly drip to saturate the ground at the root of the plant.  Water is put only where it is needed, eliminating evaporation and water waste.

Payoff:

This customer in this example saw water savings of 60% from the Summer of 2009 to 2010.  This saved 120,000 gallons of water, this saved a valuable resource and money for our customer. 120,000 gallons equaled a savings of $500 dollars for this Minneapolis residence.

The devices pay for themselves at different rates.  Your quickest payoff is from the controller which usually pays for itself in one to two years. Replacing spray nozzles with MP Rotators and drip tubing, usually sees a payback in four to five years.

New 2011 Twin Cities Metro Area Public Utility Water Rates.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Is your water bill higher? Think your lawn sprinkler system has sprung a leak? Chances are your bill is higher because of a bill the Minnesota state legislature passed last year. Minnesota statute 103G.291 has become active as of January 1, 2010.  It states that all cities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area must adopt a utility rate structure that encourages conservation.  However, the exact implementation of these laws has been left to the individual municipalities.  This means that every city will have different rates and rate increases for over-usage.  We have compiled a list of residential water rates for various cities around the area and this is what we have come up with.  Just click on your city to see your new water rates.

Note:  Some cities use measurements such as units, cubic meters or cubic feet for some reason.  So, in addition to the city’s structure we have done the conversion to gallons for you for a better frame of reference.

For ways to conserve water and lower your bill contact us and check out our previous blog post.

Hunter Solar Sync; A New Product To Conserve Water And Money

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Solar Sync Technology

For our customers who own a Hunter Pro-C or ICC controller Hunter has come out with a new product you have to see. The new Solar Sync easily attaches to your current controller and converts it to a smart controller. Now your controller settings will adjust with the weather everyday taking the guesswork out of watering.  It cuts out unnecessary and excessive watering by using just the right admit of water when your landscape needs it.  This device will help you fight high water rates.

How It Works

The Solar Sync sensor continually gathers on the site rainfall, solar and temperature data. It uses this information in the calculation of evapotranspiration of ET and determines watering requirements, Evapotranspiration or ET, put simply, is how fast ground water evaporates.

The Solar Sync module automatically calculates the water requirements for your landscape and makes adjustments to your Hunter controller. On warm dry days, the Solar Sync will seasonally adjust run times up. On colder wet days the Solar Sync will seasonally adjust your controller times down. This process is completely automatic, saving you money without ever worrying about it.

Simple to Program

With the Solar Sync you do not need to do anything differently, you set your controller as you would for normal, summer conditions and Solar Sync does the rest.

What to Expect

Hunter expects savings of 25%  to 30% on your lawn sprinkler water usage (this does depend on your former irrigation water practices).  An average yard can have annual water cost of $700 to $800,With the Solar Sync you can save $195 to $240. If you have an average or large yard your first year water savings may cover the cost of installation.


Check out the video below for additional details regarding the Solar Sync

How Evaporation Can Save You Money

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Evapotranspiration (ET) is the process of transferring moisture from the earth to the atmosphere by evaporation of water and transpiration(sweating) from plants. Also called fly-off or water loss, ET is simply the measure of how fast ground water evaporates taking into account factors such as sunlight intensity, wind speed and soil type.  It is now possible for computers to calculate these water loss rates and then tell your irrigation system how long to run in order to replenish these losses.  Green Acres is proud to be able to bring to you an ever growing list of products that use this technology in order to prevent over-watering and combat the ever growing expense and depletion of our most precious resource.

Here is a list of our ET products which our professional service personnel can add to any electric sprinkler system:

Rain sensors are the most basic add on to a sprinkler system.  While Green Acres installs a rain sensor with every new install, there are still many sprinkler systems that do not incorporate this basic technology.   A rain sensor effectively cuts transmissions between your controller and valves once it has measured a preset amount of rain fall, then re-establishes this connection once the weather calls for it.

A step up from the basic rain sensor is the Solar Sync.  While a rain sensor is a valuable tool in saving water, it does take a certain amount of rain before it activates. With the Solar Sync, sprinkler system shut down happens almost as fast as it starts to rain while also measuring rain amounts, air temperature and sunlight intensity to calculate a more exact run time for your sprinklers to operate more efficiently.

The SmartLine controller has almost any option you could ask for when it comes to properly watering your lawn and gardens.  Besides all of the advantages of the Solar Sync, the SmartLine controller will take into account for each zone:  the type of sprinkler or drip line being used, the soil type, the type of turf or plant, and the slope of the landscape.  Green Acres will continue to blog on the tremendous savings that our customers receive with this remarkable product.