02/22/2013

5 Ways to Lower the Exterior Water Flow

Save water and money with landscape tune-ups and management

By

 

Fountains and other decorative features can utilize recirculated water or alternative water sources (such as a rainwater catchment system) to decrease their potable water consumption.

Do you have time to water your entire green space by hand?

Few FMs can answer yes to that question, hence the prevalence of irrigation to maintain lush commercial landscapes. Irrigation accounts for about 30% of the average facility's water use, a number that rises even higher in drier regions, explains Stephanie Tanner, lead engineer for the EPA's WaterSense program.

Add in other outdoor uses of water and it's easy to see how this volume offers many opportunities to use water more efficiently. To get started, consider these five tips.

1) Stop Wasting Runoff Water
Make sure your existing equipment works correctly, notes Kurt Elvert, programs director for water use consultancy WaterWise Consulting. Wet pavement is a red flag that indicates your system may be providing too much water or spraying where it shouldn't.

"Water runoff is the No. 1 problem," Elvert explains. "Not only is water wasted, but it could lead to safety hazards as well because you're creating a slick hardscape."

Sprinklers that overspray onto sidewalks, parking lots, and streets are the most common, Elvert explains. Broken sprinkler heads and pipes will release more water than you intended. Runoff may also be caused by improperly installed equipment.

"With irrigation systems, the problem can be hidden, so you wouldn't know you have a problem," explains Amber Lefstead, WaterSense's outdoor coordinator. "Put a meter on your system and see if it's leaking. You could have a pretty big one but not notice it."

2) Consider Spray Alternatives
Looking to upgrade your irrigation system? A sprinkler system is easier to retrofit, but a drip system is more water-efficient because it delivers moisture to the roots of plants, notes Brian Vinchesi, principal of Irrigation Consulting.

Overhead irrigation, which utilizes above-ground sprays and sprinklers, is most common on larger lawns, but some of the water will evaporate, Vinchesi says.

The evaporation issue means drip irrigation is about 10-15% more efficient than a spray, but the two systems also differ greatly in construction and how easy they are to retrofit.

An overhead system doesn't require you to dig up the ground as you would for a subsurface drip system, and the visibility of sprays means you'll know right away if one of the fixtures isn't working.

Drip irrigation, which is commonly installed below the surface, is typically used for trees and planted beds but can be utilized for a whole lawn too. Above-ground drip systems can be installed for roughly 25 cents per square foot but are less common in commercial settings, Elvert says.

A subsurface drip system is easier to retrofit during a landscape project because the ground must be dug up anyway, allowing necessary trenching for the drip system without disturbing additional ground.

"You can run a drip system longer because you don't have to expose it to the sun and wastewater, but you don't know if anything is wrong until plants die," Vinchesi notes. "It's also more delicate – it's easier to put a shovel through it or damage it while putting in flowers."


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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