16 BUILDINGS 07.17
timer. While this is a simple and easily
manageable schedule for landscape irrigation, it can lead to a lot of water waste.
Smart controllers that determine watering schedules are available in climate- or
soil moisture-based versions. Vinchesi
cites a typical water reduction of 25% for
climate-based controllers and up to 40%
for soil moisture-based controllers.
Yet smart controllers come with their
own drawbacks. While the reduction in
continued from page 15
back on water usage by replacing plants.
Landscaping specifically to require little
irrigation can be achieved with xeriscaping,
as native and drought-resistant plants will
typically require little water outside of rain
You can also practice temporary irrigation with some plants. Vinchesi explains
that in some climates, you can find plants
that will only need irrigation for 3-5 years
until they become well established into the
In the case of one outdoor shopping
mall in San Antonio, these approaches to
landscaping have saved the facility 14 million gallons of water annually. The Village
at Stone Oak, according to the EPA, has
reduced its water use by 60%. By converting nearly 50,000 square feet of turf grass
to xeriscape and modifying almost 85,000
square feet of its irrigation system, the facilities savings add up to $84,000 per year.
Irrigation can be an overly expensive process, but it doesn’t need to be.
Addressing these areas can provide you
with some relief from your utility bill.
Justin Feit firstname.lastname@example.org is
Assistant Editor of BUILDINGS.
DRIP IRRIGATION CAN REDUCE
WATER USAGE BY 10-20% compared
to overhead sprinkler systems, but they
are maintenance-intensive and require
a facilities staff’s due diligence.
water waste is substantial, they require
personnel to be on board with their
operation. Because some maintenance
staff members will better understand
time-based systems, they often revert
“The problem we have with smart
controllers is that sometimes the main-
tenance staff doesn’t like them. You
can have a site where you installed a
smart controller and you go back in a
few months and it’s been changed out
for a conventional controller,” Vinchesi
explains. “The smart controller is
designed so that the maintenance staff
doesn’t interact with it, and some peo-
ple are very uncomfortable with that.”
Replacing a time-based controller
with a smart controller depends in
large part on the willingness of mainte-
nance staff to adopt a new technology.
The final consideration for reducing
irrigation water costs is focused on
the spaces you are watering. Using the
right plants and landscaping strategies
can reduce costs substantially.
You have plenty of options to cut
ULI Explores Stormwater Management with Green Infrastructure
REPORT EXAMINES IMPROVED RESILIENCE IN BUILDINGS BY FACILITATING WATER RUNOFF
Collaboration between building operators, real estate profes- sionals and local governments
to find proactive stormwater management solutions has yielded results
nationwide, according to a new publication from the Urban Land Institute
(ULI). The report, Harvesting the
Value of Water: Stormwater, Green
Infrastructure, and Real Estate, identifies how green infrastructure facilitates
water management, boosting operational efficiency for buildings and
improving their value.
Green infrastructure examined in the
report includes pipes-and-pumps alternatives like rain gardens, bioswales and
green roofs, as well as water storage
and recycling tools like cisterns.
“The development community is
addressing the challenge of stormwater
management with creative solutions
■ Cities can improve environmental and
financial impact with green infrastructure, compared to costly and conventional, gray infrastructure projects
that lack community impact.
■ More land is available when green
infrastructure replaces traditional
water management solutions.
■ Green infrastructure reduces operating costs and improves building value.
■ Policies and strategies regarding
green infrastructure are working in a
variety of areas and contexts.
■ The payoff of improved aesthetics
and amenities makes the initial learning curve worth it.
■ Green infrastructure pays off during
peak weather events.
Learn more about stormwater management with green infrastructure at
that are not only conserving water,
but also adding value and appeal to
real estate projects across the nation,”
says Katharine Burgess, ULI’s Urban
Resilience Program Director.
Managing stormwater with green
infrastructure isn't new, but the report
identifies how more local governments
are organizing networks with it that
include private and public properties.
“Whether by increasing potential
development yield, introducing tangible
amenities for residents, reducing operating costs or building on a broader
placemaking strategy, innovative
stormwater management strategies can
create value and contribute to the quality of life and resilience in cities,” the
The report also highlights several
themes that are key to stormwater
management in cities, including: