WaterSense tags irrigation controllers
Marking the first time an outdoor technology has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense label, Cyber-Rain, of Encino, Calif., announced that its full line of weather-based controllers has been independently certified to meet the WaterSense specification for weather-based irrigation controllers.
Homeowners, municipalities, businesses and irrigation professionals can now select WaterSense-labeled controllers that operate like a thermostat for sprinkler systems.
Operating like a thermostat for sprinkler systems, these controllers use local weather data to turn a system on and off depending on when the landscape needs water, reducing water waste and runoff. Across the country, these controllers have the potential to save home and building owners 110 billion gallons of water annually and roughly $410 million per year on utility bills.
Cyber-Rain’s innovative “sprinkler controllers with a brain” use the Internet to check local weather conditions and automatically adjust run times for a property’s irrigation system. According to Cyber-Rain, users can save up to 40% on their water bills, and the system can often pay for itself in one to two years.
WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers can be standalone controllers, add-on devices and plug-in devices used to control watering in both residential and commercial/institutional applications. With more than 13.5 million landscape irrigation systems currently in use across the United States, upgrading these systems to include properly installed and programmed WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers can significantly reduce water waste, provide convenience and meet plants’ water needs while promoting healthy landscapes.
WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes and services. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save 125 billion gallons of water and more than $2 billion in water and energy bills.
Small backyard wins landscape award
Architectural Gardens of Lake Forest, Ill., has won an Excellence in Landscape Award transforming a featureless backyard into an urban-like outdoor living area.
AG’s award-winning project was styled to bring the feeling of an urban rooftop garden to a standard suburban backyard.
Owner and designer Margaret Morrissette removed all traces of a typical suburban backyard — lawn, deck, storage shed and paving brick. The re-design effectively screens out views of the neighbors’ houses and garages and instead focuses on the space within, particularly the ground plane. The surrounding mature trees in the neighborhood are metaphorically like the skyscrapers of the famous Chicago skyline.
The small square yard was subdivided into distinct outdoor rooms for grilling and dining, a place for growing herbs (potted), a teen lounge and a comfortable area for entertaining guests around a large masonry fireplace. Structures and surfaces serve dual purposes; the tall fireplace serves as a privacy screen, large tubs of culinary herbs divide the grilling area from the dining area, the patio surface of natural stone adds beauty — both unifying and sub-dividing the space according to use, as well as directing flow. Trees inserted between spaces act like architectural columns and help to balance the mass of paving stones.
Menards to take on Detroit
Midwestern retailer Menards is planning four stores in the Detroit market, where it currently has no presence, according to an article in the Detroit News.
Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott told the newspaper that the home improvement chain hopes to open stores in Warren, Livonia, Belleville and Chesterfield Township sometime next year.
In Metro Detroit, residential building permits rose 25% in 2011, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. But high unemployment persists, affecting the overall economy.