Is Subsurface Drip Irrigation Right for My Business?

Posted by on Oct 31, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Is Subsurface Drip Irrigation Right for My Business?

Navigating unfamiliar territory can make anyone nervous. But navigating unfamiliar territory when it comes to your business can be one of the most daunting tasks you undertake. When it comes to growing trends, making the call to adopt or pass over those trends is difficult but impossible to avoid. As a landscape contractor, it is understandable that you may be hesitant to forgo the traditional sprinkler irrigation route for the unfamiliar terrain of subsurface drip irrigation systems. The reality is subsurface drip irrigation is not only a growing trend, but a smart choice. When you consider that water regulations for turf irrigation are on the rise, installing systems that maximize water efficiency is a must, especially for larger commercial and municipal projects. The fact is, water is a high value resource and regulations will continue to increase as water use continues to grow and water scarcity rises.  This is not a trend that green industry professionals can afford to ignore. Subsurface irrigation is ideal for new build projects that require an irrigation system as opposed to going into an existing irrigation system and replacing it with a subsurface irrigation system. It is smart to partner with a landscape architect and an irrigation consultant on projects like these. In order to do it properly, it has to be installed mindfully. There is a learning curve for installing subsurface irrigation systems that may initially be outside your comfort zone as landscape contractor. Rather than shying away from it, use commercial projects as opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in installing subsurface drip irrigation systems. Having the technical capacity and no how will be important to staying competitive in the industry and offer a great way to differentiate your business....

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Predicting Water Use for Irrigation

Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Predicting Water Use for Irrigation

One of the biggest Landtech ‘values’ is when we work with landscape architects and develop an  estimate of what the water needs will be based on their landscape design. With water prices and water scarcity both going up, we are often asked to reduce water use for irrigation purposes. Water harvesting, or collecting rainwater to be used for irrigation by directing it from the roof into a cistern, is a good method for reducing reliance on municipal water supplies. The following is a description of our process for predicting water use for irrigation to help you understand what goes into creating the most water efficient irrigation system possible. Our process begins with what we call “scoping”, which is an exercise that enables us to come up with a recommendation for the optimal size of the cistern needed for water harvesting. This is important to determine because cisterns are the most expensive component of a water harvesting system. You need the cistern to be large enough to collect the rain expected to fall, but you don’t want it to be so big that is will never be full, resulting in money wasted. So how do you know what size cistern is right for a given site? Landtech has a model (below) that helps estimate water use during the peak month of July. Once we know the expected amount of water that will be needed, we give the data to our partner, Wahaso who are experts at water catchment and reuse. Wahaso uses the information to discern the optimal size for the cistern, or water catchment system, based on how much water the site can expect to harvest according the average amounts of rainfall, as well as the area of the roof/surfaces that collect the rainwater. Here is an explanation of the above model: We begin by grouping the site into categories based on the water needs of the plants and turfgrass. Group A represents the acreage of turfgrass and lawn areas. We assign each group a weight based on how high the needs are for watering the area. Group A is weighted at 100% meaning it has the highest needs of all groups, and therefore placed at the top of list for watering priority. Group B is the next most demanding group, representing the amount of acres for the highly visible/more-public areas. This is weighted at 70% because it can do fine with a little stress, whereas Group A will not and, therefore, needs to receive 100% of the water required. Group C is the acreage of the plant beds, which we deem moderately important, weighting them at 65%. Last, is Group D representing the areas that will require temporary irrigation to enable newly planted trees or plants to get established. This group is given a weight of 60%. The next step is determining the amount of rainfall (RF) to be expected, as well as the amount of rainfall that will be effective (ER), due to slope, plant cover, soils, etc. This reduction is necessary because there will never be 100% of the rain that actually percolates into the ground during/after a rain event. Then, we must consider the evapotranspiration rate (ET) for the area, which refers to the amount of water that evaporates before it can be absorbed +...

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6 Ways to Decrease Water Used for Irrigation

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on 6 Ways to Decrease Water Used for Irrigation

With water prices going up along with our awareness of water scarcity, we are often asked how to decrease water used for irrigation.  Here are a few of our tactics for reducing the overall water used by an irrigation system: Reduce Site Water Requirements One of the simplest ways to decrease water used for irrigation is to limit the turf areas that require a high amount of water, along with plants that have moderate to high water needs. Replace plants and turf areas with hearty/native plants that can survive with less water. Improve Distribution Uniformity (DU) Oftentimes, facility managers will run the sprinklers longer if they see that there are dry/brown spots. Not only does this decrease water efficiency, it is ineffective. Dry spots are a result of poor sprinkler head spacing and placement. Distribution uniformity means placing the sprinkler heads properly so that water will be distributed evenly across the entire lawn, or planted area. Using equipment that has a more consistent application rate in turf areas to eliminate dry areas will also work to achieve even distribution of water. Use Pressure Regulation Pressure regulation helps ensure that sprinklers are operating at the optimal level.  When pressure is too high, water droplets atomize, which results in significant amounts of water being carried off-site by wind drift. By reducing the operating pressure, the water drops are larger and heavier, and are more likely to land where intended. Convert to Drip Irrigation Convert sprinklers (within plant beds) over to drip irrigation so water has less of a chance to evaporate and/or runoff. Drip irrigation is about 90-95% efficient, while spray heads and rotors are about 60-65% efficient. Improve Management Practices Make sure property managers remember to check the sprinklers once a week. Since the sprinklers usually operate after work hours, property managers may not know when a sprinkler head isn’t operating properly. A good practice is running the zones once a week to check that the whole system is in working order. Use Smart Controllers Smart controllers determine the watering durations and frequencies on a daily basis based on the real-time weather conditions. They adjust run times based on the needs of all the various plant types; some days, certain zones may not need to run at all.   The controller relies on you to input the correct soil and plant type. It is important to remember that these controllers are only as good as the information you input. If you are considering using a smart controller, you must be able to assess and document the various site features present within each zone (plants, soils, exposure, shade, slope, root depth).  ...

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Rainwater Harvesting Cost and Considerations

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Rainwater Harvesting Cost and Considerations

As one of the oldest known gardening methods, rainwater harvesting is a great option for projects that need to reduce dependence on municipal water supplies and/or practice sustainable irrigation. Rainwater harvesting systems typically consist of three main components: the capture system (roof and gutters) the storage unit (cistern) the delivery system (pipes, pumps, and valves) Materials for the water storage unit are about two-thirds of the overall cost of the whole project, making this the most expensive component of the entire system. That is why it is  important to understand how to determine the optimal size water storage unit for each individual project. If you build too large, the payback will start to decrease. A small scale watering harvesting system for the home or small business would likely opt for a cistern that has less than a 10,000 gallon capacity. This type of system would be a viable use of collecting rain water and filtering it for reuse to water a garden or entrance area. A large scale water harvesting system for large commercial projects is at the other end of the spectrum.  The financial investment for these types of projects is going to be considerably larger. There are a number of factors that need to be considered: What is the size of the area to be irrigated? What is the area of the roof top or surface that will be allocated towards collecting and diverting water to a storage facility? What are the rainfall patterns for the project site? How these factors relate to the overall design of the system will vary in every project. With so many variables to consider, it is difficult to have a standard rule of thumb for projecting costs. But generally speaking, a water system in place and installed is right around 2 dollars per gallon. So for a 150,000 gallon storage unit, you will likely be in the ballpark of $300,000 project. Landtech’s partner, Wahaso (Water Harvesting Solutions, in Chicago) has good data about the rainfall pattern for every part of the country to help answer the questions: What was the amount of rain? How long did it rain? How frequently did the rain events occur? Answering these questions is vital to knowing what size of cistern you will need and how much you can expect to rely on harvested water for irrigation. Let’s say you need 150,000 gallons of water a week for your irrigation, and you live in a location where the amount of rainfall will not be sufficient to fill a 150,000 gallon cistern meaning the cistern would never actually be full. Therefore, spending money on a cistern that large would make a significant impact on the ROI.  A cistern should only be big enough for the amount of rain to be...

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What Does LEED and SITES Mean for Sustainable Irrigation?

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on What Does LEED and SITES Mean for Sustainable Irrigation?

Landscape professionals have a major role to play. Among other things, sustainable irrigation can help protect habitat, contribute to storm water management, reduce fossil fuel usage and conserve water. Across the country, green industry providers are lending their efforts in countless ways. Green roofs and walls, rainwater catchment systems, rain gardens, native plantings and no-mow zones are just a few examples. The professionals at Landtech are following suit by shifting the way we think about the future of irrigation. Programs like LEED and SITES have created a whole new way of thinking for us. We have witnessed firsthand how those with expertise in sustainable irrigation can provide high value perspective to developers, landscape architects, engineers and homeowners. Irrigation consultants are playing a valuable role in bettering the environment while at the same time boosting the image of the entire industry. While many in the irrigation industry see the rising trend of construction projects forgoing or minimizing irrigation to gain LEED and SITE credits as a threat, we are looking at this as an opportunity to engage. Efforts to conserve are not a passing fad. As irrigation professionals, we see that we have an important role to play as leaders in this movement. At first touch, LEED and SITE credits seem like a threat to our bottom line. However, the reality is that water is a scarce resource and we, as irrigation professionals, possess front-line knowledge and experience that give us an edge in providing value to the growth of the conservancy movement. LEED projects require a different mindset, and we know the platform of products that effectively  accomplish water conservation. We know what will work best for the specific needs of a project. Addressing irrigation from a design/build approach is usually not effective because irrigation contractors often don’t know what products to use to get LEED or SITE credits. At Landtech, we know exactly what needs to be done to meet the calculations for those water-efficiency credits. As experts in irrigation and devout followers of state-of-the-art technology, we create the right roadmap to get the results that are in demand in this era of green development.          ...

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7 Reasons to Use an Irrigation Consultant

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on 7 Reasons to Use an Irrigation Consultant

For many new construction projects in the Midwest and Northeast, irrigation is typically viewed as an overlap of landscaping and therefore usually does not have a well defined plan. Without having a set plan that multiple contractors can use to base their price quotes on, the construction manager gets prices that are based on the individual contractor’s cheapest version of the plan, so the construction manager is not comparing apples-to-apples and is not getting the best irrigation system for the job. With this approach, the construction manager is basing their decision off of who has the lowest bid, not who has the best plan that will meet the long term needs of their clients. This is why hiring an irrigation consultant may be one of the smartest investments a building manager makes in the overall design/build process. Here are seven reasons to use an irrigation consultant: 1. Commercial irrigation systems have become expensive; irrigation technology is sophisticated and can often be confusing. An irrigation consultant is a specialist who is kept up-to-date (by manufacturers), and can design a long-lasting system that is both water and energy efficient. 2. Most consultants are willing to review products with you, and can help you select from a wide array of products on the market. They can help you separate facts from confusing sales claims. 3.  Most importantly, an irrigation consultant can be supportive in the struggle to convince your client (and/or construction manager) to not sacrifice quality, by value-engineering, and substituting-out the most appropriate products that will be long-lasting & efficient, and (when applicable) will enable the project to meet the requirements of LEED and/or SITES. 4. A consultant puts contractors and distributors on an equal footing by impartially specifying the appropriate equipment for the project being addressed. The bids that are submitted will also be more comparable, allowing the decision-makers to compare apples-to-apples. 5. A consultant is aware of project considerations beyond equipment selection: water/power supplies and consumption, location of upfront equipment (backflow preventer, pump-station, mechanical room spatial requirements) plant watering needs, environmental concerns, etc. 6. A consultant can assist the landscape architect/developer in developing accurate budget estimates. 7. An increasingly common involvement is that of water-harvesting.  An irrigation consultant provides a crucial link with the team in being able to provide early preliminary calculations for anticipated water use/demand. This greatly assists in the planning efforts in the programming phase of a project, in determining water-storage chamber sizes & location, and positioning of the necessary mechanical equipment involved. If you would like to learn more, contact Jim Davis at 314-541-2779 or email him...

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Why Use An Irrigation Consultant For Your Project?

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Why Use An Irrigation Consultant For Your Project?

If your client is considering having an irrigation system installed on a project, hiring an irrigation consultant can be vital to the process. A few points that you should be aware of are: 1) Good, long-lasting irrigation systems can be expensive. 2) An irrigation system is basically a utility, which is costly to modify after being installed. 3) Irrigation controller technology is both sophisticated and ever-changing. Why not just release a ‘performance spec’ and go about it from a design-build approach? This usually results in distributors designing against each other with ‘competitive pricing’ as the dominant influencer. The project manager may not realize that they could be handicapping themselves (and their client) in their quest for a good, quality system by taking this route. First, whenever a sale is an uncertainty, one of the contractors’ biggest concerns will be cost control of their design efforts.  Potential site problems, which may deserve careful field review and analysis, will likely be handled on an ‘assumption’ basis.  And, quotations/bid forms will usually be written so that incorrect assumptions will revert back to the client/developer or general contractor. Second, the contractor’s next biggest concern will be cost of the system’s components. Competing contractors/distributors will usually not suggest the latest, state-of-the-art products to the prospective customer because they will be worried that their competition will undercut them and win the bid.  This is true with whole-good products (sprinklers, drip, valves and controllers), and especially true with ‘allied’ components of the system (pipe, wire, fittings, gate valves). The premium products that can create an efficient and sustainable system (using water-saving products) just won’t make it onto the project.  Even on a non-LEED project, the system could be ‘WaterSmart’ if a Certified Irrigation Designer (consultant) is involved on the project from the very beginning. If the client and/or design team is interested in having an irrigation system that incorporates some of the newer, state-of-the-art products that conserve water and create a high-efficiency system, then the team should consider hiring a professional irrigation consultant for the project. (Not many contractors have the Irrigation Association’s ‘Certified Irrigation Designer’ certification.) The sole aim of an irrigation consultant is to design an efficient/productive system that will fulfill the project’s needs for the long term.  They are not in the business to sell sprinklers, nor are they concerned with the ‘market share’ of manufacturers. Measured against the initial cost of a new system, the money spent for irrigation consulting services may well turn out to be the wisest investment in the overall design/construction process, and a good guarantee that the new system will work for the long term. The irrigation design and consulting fees on commercial projects may range from $1500-$20,000; however, most probably average between $2-4000 per project. On a well-designed system, typical operational savings might be around $2000 per season ($1000 from reduced water-use, and $1000 from fewer service/repair calls). That common scenario illustrates a payback-period of as little as two-years for the services of a Certified Irrigation Designer. If you would like to learn more, contact Jim Davis at 314-541-2779 or email him...

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ET Water: Innovative, Efficient Irrigation

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on ET Water: Innovative, Efficient Irrigation

Landtech is committed to finding the most efficient and innovative methods for reducing water use in irrigation. ETwater™ Intelligent Water Management, the world’s most advanced and efficient irrigation water system, reduces water use by 20%-50% while assuring plants stay healthy. ETwater’s self-adjusting irrigation control system combines state-of-the-art horticultural science and proprietary web-based technology to automate the scheduling of sprinkler drip irrigation. Water is applied to landscapes based on current weather conditions and specific landscape factors, including plant type, soil type, slope, sun/shade, sprinkler type, and distribution uniformity. The ETwater central server communicates daily with the on-site controller to automate scheduling.  The ETwater central server tailors the schedule to the user’s landscape profile and the current weather conditions. How it Works:  The customer enters his/her landscape profile online and downloads it to ETwater ’s server.  This step may be performed by the landscaper when irrigation system is installed.  A weather station in the customer’s community constantly measures climate details and rainfall. We access the real-time weather information for the customer’s local area and match it with his/her landscape profile to develop the ideal watering schedule.  Our server interfaces daily with the customer’s on-site ETwater Smart Controller  to update the customized watering schedule based on ET and rainfall. The Smart Controller ensures that each zone is watered correctly according to the customer’s landscape profile. ETwater was the first product to successfully complete the rigorous industry standard Smart Water Application Technology (SWAT) test in November 2004, 15 months before any other smart controller product. ETwater is the only irrigation product ever to win the coveted Wall Street Journal Tech Award  for “Best Environmental Technology Innovation,” receiving the award in September 2006....

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Landech to Design Irrigation System for Kingdom Tower, Soon to be the World’s Tallest Building

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Landech to Design Irrigation System for Kingdom Tower, Soon to be the World’s Tallest Building

Landtech Design is pleased to announce that it has been hired by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture to be the landscape irrigation design consultant for the “Kingdom Tower” project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, soon to be the world’s tallest building. “We are honored to be a part of the talented team of designers on such a magnificent project,” says Landtech manager Jim Davis. “Our leadership and experience with highly-efficient irrigation practices was instrumental in positioning us on the project.” Expected to cost $1.2 billion to construct, Kingdom Tower will be a mixed-use building featuring a luxury hotel, office space, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and the world’s highest observatory. The cost-efficient and highly constructible design of the building is forward-looking, taking advantage of new and innovative thinking about technology, building materials and energy conservation. Landtech will harness the latest innovations in sustainable irrigation technology to design the Kingdom Tower irrigation system. Water harvesting efforts will collect rainwater and condensate from the building to supply water for irrigating the grounds’ 8.5 acres of green space. The condensation will be collected as the building’s air conditioners extract water from the humid Red Sea air and directs it into a large cistern near the base of the building. The irrigation system will include technologies such as UV sanitization, a fertilizer injection system, ET/weather-based sensors, and a central control system that will allow the entire operation to be controlled remotely. At over 1,000 meters and a total construction area of 530,000 square meters (5.7 million square feet), Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and first construction phase of the Kingdom City development on a 5.3 million-square-meter site in north Jeddah. The tower’s height will be at least 173 meters (568 feet) taller than the world’s current tallest building, Dubai’s 828-meter-tall Burj Khalifa. Kingdom Tower – Schematic Landscape Design...

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Davis to Present at 2012 Water Smart Innovations Conference

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Davis to Present at 2012 Water Smart Innovations Conference

Jim Davis, General Manager of Landtech Irrigation Consultants, will be presenting again this year at the 2012 Water Smart Innovations Conference. Drawing from his 20+ years of experience in landscape irrigation design, Davis will give a presentation on sustainable water use through water harvesting in the irrigation industry. Davis is a certified irrigation designer by the Irrigation Association and an EPA ‘WaterSense Partner.’ The WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition is the largest urban-water efficiency conference of its kind in the world. Presented by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and numerous forward-thinking organizations, the 5th annual WSI will be held October 3-5, 2012, at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center in Las Vegas. Water-efficiency professionals from across the United States and around the world will gather to share their knowledge of innovation in water conservation. The purpose of this conference is to broaden the knowledge of innovations in urban water efficiency including products, policies, techniques and ideas. Jim Davis and John Bauer will be presenting the session, “Water Harvesting + High Efficiency Irrigation = Sustainable Water Use,” on Wednesday, October 3rd. Landtech Irrigation Consultants’ vision for efficient water use influences their entire approach to designing systems. They also encourage the incorporation of water-harvesting strategies and technologies, which reduces the need to use potable water for irrigation. In addition to irrigation consulting with a focus on water-harvesting and high-efficiency applications, their rep-services business promotes installations of green roofs and green walls, and helps position a specialized team for consulting on ecological restoration projects. In all aspects of their work, emphasis is placed on using onsite resources in an efficient and responsible manner. Visit or send an email to:...

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