This summer, millions of commercial property owners will face the reality of some of the most severe water restrictions in history. Many cities in the western U.S. are limiting outdoor watering to 1 day a week or less.
To combat this, many property owners and sustainability directors are taking drastic measures to revamp their grounds with drought-resistant landscaping options.
In this post, we’ll examine various drought-resistant landscape options and their pros and cons. Then, we’ll reveal a surprising alternative that can save just as much money and water without sacrificing green lawns or plants!
Zeroscaping involves replacing most of your property’s plant life with gravel and dirt.
Xeriscape is a landscape design that uses low-water-use or drought-tolerant plants that require little to no supplemental irrigation. In a xeriscape, you replace verdant lawns with drought-tolerant native plants, cacti, succulents, ground covers, mulch, sand, soil, rocks, gravel, pebbles, footpaths, pavers, patios, and fire pits.
Hardscapes are non-living landscape features (like stone patios, gravel paths, and wood decks).
Artificial grass is a surface made from synthetic fibers that mimic natural grass. It is primarily used in arenas where the grass is typically needed for sports. However, it is also being used on residential lawns and commercial properties.
Although each of the above provides some level of water savings, each comes with significant disadvantages and eliminates the cool, natural beauty of a green landscape.
But what if there was a way to keep your verdant lawn, bushes, trees, and flowers and cut back significantly on water costs and consumption?
Smart Rain’s AI-powered irrigation system guarantees you’ll save a minimum of 20% on your water usage. This is how much water the average xeriscape saves. However, with Smart Rain, you can have the same savings without having to redo your landscape.
Ready to Water Less and Keep Your Property Green? Chat with One of Our Smart Irrigation Experts to See How Much You Can Save!
Did you know that the typical family of four uses about 12,000 gallons of water per month? Leaky faucets and toilets and other water-gobbling problems and habits can add up to hundreds or even thousands of gallons more. The good news? Many common water wasters can be fixed quickly and inexpensively. Here’s what to look out for:
Little leaks. A dripping faucet can send gallons of water down the drain every day. It’s estimated that 10 percent of all homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day! Make sure your faucets don’t drip.
Inefficient showerheads. Installing new, water-saving showerheads can have a big impact on your water usage and your bill.
Long showers. Reducing your shower time by just a few minutes each day can save hundreds of gallons per month. Also, avoid running the water the entire time you’re brushing your teeth.
Problem toilets. Older toilets can use a lot more water than newer models. Toilets manufactured prior to 1993 can use two to six gallons more per flush than toilets being manufactured today. Most toilets being made today use only 1.6 gallons per flush. Leaks can be another issue. Take a few minutes to inspect each toilet in your home; you can typically hear and see evidence of leaks. Speaking of toilets, don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. That wastes up to 5 gallons per flush.
Using your hose as a broom. Using the garden hose to wash down sidewalks and driveways, instead of using a broom, can use more than 10 gallons of water each minute!
Hand washing dishes. You can use dozens of gallons of water per load when you wash dishes by hand versus as little as four gallons of water with a newer dishwasher. That’s because most people wash dishes with running water. If you are washing dishes by hand, fill your sink with water and dish soap and wash your dishes. Run the faucet only to briefly rinse the dishes.
Landscaping with plants and trees that use a lot of water. One-third of residential water use goes toward watering the lawn and garden. Native plants and drought-resistant lawn varieties require less water. Many types of plants that are drought-resistant and require little or no water during the summer months are actually quite beautiful, and some produce stunning flowers.
Washing your vehicle at home. Washing a car at home can use a lot of water, especially if you run the hose the entire time. Consider getting your car cleaned at the car wash.
Now, companies are turning to green initiatives in the workplace more than ever. Not only do these efforts help you save money, but it’s also a great way to stand out from other companies.
Not sure how to be more eco-friendly? We have a few simple and easy ways to improve your carbon footprint:
Offer remote work
Remote work has taken off during the pandemic, and studies show that most employees love the flexibility of working from home. But remote work is also great for the environment, too. It helps cut down on our carbon footprint since fewer employees in the office mean fewer cars on the road. This means less carbon dioxide in the air.
Consider offering remote work to specific employees or flex work options a few days a week. This is a great start to being more eco-friendly and attracting new employees.
Provide transportation perks
You can also offer perks for employees who are traveling to the office. Using public transportation is one of the greenest methods of travel. Again, this helps to cut down on greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide levels. Some cities offer subsidized passes for employers. Your state may also provide tax benefits.
However, if your town doesn’t offer great public transportation options, you can also provide incentives for people carpooling or riding their bikes to work. This could be a bonus to their monthly paycheck, a weekly voucher, or another non-traditional incentive.
Use sustainable products
Your office can also opt to use sustainable products whenever possible. There are lots of recycled options for businesses to use. Look for items labeled post- or pre-consumer waste. Printer paper and toilet paper are some examples of these materials.
You can also rid your office of non-recyclable materials, like to-go containers and styrofoam cups. Replace these with recyclable options instead. You may also want to choose green or eco-friendly cleaners!
Offer recycling options
Just as crucial as using sustainable products is offering recycling options to employees. You may want to opt for a three-tiered recycling system. This includes a bin for recycling, composting or food waste and a bin for other non-recycling items. This system makes sure that nearly all items in an office can be recycled and makes it even easier for employees to go green. It also clarifies which items can be recycled and which can’t.
Of course, you can reuse materials as often as possible, too.
Make energy-efficient upgrades
Making a few energy-efficient upgrades can be a great way to lower your energy bills. There are several simple swaps, like using energy-efficient appliances, LED lights, opting for automatic light sensors, and a smart thermostat. You can also have employees use laptops instead of desktops, which are much more energy-efficient.
Buy carbon offsets
Many companies are also purchasing carbon offsets. For the operations of the company’s carbon footprint that can’t be reduced or removed, you can purchase an offset to become more carbon-neutral instead.
There are many carbon marketplaces you can use to calculate and offset your emissions. Just make sure to research the third-party’s certifications and background before purchasing.
Of course, you can invest in green initiatives. Still, it’s also helpful to educate employees on the benefits of going green: host informational sessions or professional development workshops on how employees can be more eco-friendly at work and at home. Keep them informed on the company’s practices and remind them of why it helps them and the business. This will help keep your employees engaged, actively participating, and invested in the company.
Invest in a smart watering system
Green changes to your office don’t just stop inside, they also extend to the exterior of your work, as well! We can help you minimize water consumption, keep your property healthy and cut irrigation costs. Smart irrigation systems are the most efficient way to prevent overwatering, as they monitor water usage and shut off lines when no more water is needed. Our Smart Controller is one of the most sophisticated and proprietary irrigation controllers on the market and can help you water with precision.
As a parent, you’d like to help your children learn lifelong habits for protecting the natural environment. But where to start? Here are a few simple ways to get your children learning about going green.
Go camping. Nothing reminds us about the importance of taking care of the environment more than living right in it for a night or two. They’ll learn the significance of leaving the campsite as clean (or cleaner) as they found it and packing out every item and piece of trash that was packed in. They can hopefully observe clean waterways and forests, helping them realize the importance of protecting the environment. You can also use this time to teach them about valuable resources in the great outdoors, the importance of protecting our environment, and simple ways to protect wildlife.
Plant a garden. They’ll experience the satisfaction of growing their own food, eliminating the energy that would have been necessary for trucks to transport those same items to your local store and for you to drive there to purchase them. You can also incorporate lessons in composting, natural fertilizing and pest control, and water conservation. Take it a step further, and plant a tree on your property, discussing their role as oxygen producers and habitats for animals. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved!
Take a trip to a National Park. Our country’s National Park system showcases the beauty of nature and can provide a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life. Look for a National Park, National Preserve or National Historic Trail in your area, and if you have a fourth-grader, you can get them a pass for free admission to all parks.
Visit the farmer’s market. The next best thing to growing your own produce is buying it locally from farmers in your area. You get the freshest food available, and you can often find a much wider variety than you’re able to grow on your own. In addition to fruits and veggies, farmer’s markets will often also sell locally-produced products like honey and bread. Check out farmer’s markets in your area. Often they’re available year-round. You can even give your children a few dollars to pick out a special treat to sweeten the deal.
Go solar. Educating your children about the benefits of solar energy can help create a lifelong appreciation of renewable energy resources. Installing solar panels on your roof provides not only an incredible way to save money and help protect our Earth, but it’s also a unique and powerful way to help your children understand and appreciate this inexhaustible and clean-energy source.
Set a good example. Of course, children learn a lot from how we as parents act. So first and foremost, make sure to set a good example and practice your own environmental practices. Talk about recycling, turn off the water when not needed, volunteer your time to pick up litter and install a SmartRain irritation system!
Our cutting-edge irrigation system can save you millions of gallons of water, just like it’s done for other properties. Contact us today to see how!
With winter in full swing, you probably spend a lot of your days curled up on the couch with the fireplace roaring and your Netflix queue keeping you company. Or maybe reading with a hot cup of tea is more your style.
All that rest and relaxation can be great. But the more time at home might translate into higher power bills this winter. The same goes for the tenants in the properties you manage. How are you helping them conserve energy? Below are a few tips on how to do just that.
Do some fine-tuning.
The furnaces and boilers on your properties will be working overtime in the next few months if they’re not already. Make sure to get regular maintenance on them. Cleaning them regularly will keep them at top efficiency throughout the season.
Turn the temps down.
Keeping indoor spaces warm and well-lit can really take a bite out of your association’s budget. Turning temperatures down even a few degrees can save tons. You can try keeping the heat warmer in the first hour you wake up and the hour before you go to bed. Your home should keep this heat preserved during the day while keeping your bill down.
Ditch door drafts.
One of the worst culprits when it comes to stealing your heated air is an unavoidable part of your home — the door. Cold air leaches in and can be sucking the heated air out through poorly insulated seams, costing you hundreds in the process! Not to mention that these loose seams and high door clearances are the perfect invitations for any pests who are looking for a break from the cold.
Buy pre-made draft stoppers that stick to the bottom of the door. If you don’t have the funds or the stuff in stock, you can take a DIY approach and use your old socks.!
Like doors, windows let out a ton of heat, too. There are so many ways to insulate windows. You might consider using decorative window clings. These often serve a dual purpose and can effectively coat your windows, giving you that insulation boost you need to really feel the difference.
Perhaps the easiest fix, though, is adding or replacing the curtains on a window. Blackout curtains aren’t just good for keeping the sun out of a room— they’re also great insulators.
Audit your energy.
It’s hard to cut down on your winter energy use if you don’t know where it’s going in the first place. If you’ve taken the obvious steps above (such as fine-tuning furnaces and boilers and then working to reduce energy needs in unused areas), an “energy audit” of your properties by your local utility company may find other ways you can cut back.
It seems to happen every year. People make New Year’s Resolutions that may or may not stick, but these resolutions tend to have one thing in common: they’re all inwardly focused. Some examples: losing weight, getting more exercise, quitting smoking — all of these take an inwardly focused approach to self-improvement.
And sure, this makes sense, given that many of us aim to improve ourselves by changing a personal aspect of our appearance or character that we feel has a negative impact on us as individuals. It’s just human nature. The last few years have been especially challenging on our personal and mental health, as well.
However, with 2022 on the horizon, things feel different. The last years taught us to make do with what we already had, an important lesson that has to be learned the hard way with each passing generation. While there’s nothing wrong with improving ourselves through introspection, outwardly-focused resolutions encourage us to look at how we treat our environment and those around us.
Here are some of our favorite outward-focused goals for then next year.
1) Be more kind to others. Studies show you can actually rewire your brain to be more kind to others. This can have a two-way effect. Others will feel happier and feel better around you and you’ll feel better about yourself. Being kind to others doesn’t have to mean a grandiose display. Instead, try small acts of kindness each week. Tell your friends or family how much they mean to you. Give someone at work a compliment. Take a few moments when you feel aggravated or stressed. You might be surprised how natural being kind will become.
2) Recycle more. Another great resolution idea is to recycle more. Recycling more may seem like a no-brainer– just throw more things in the recycling bin, right? Well, there are a few more things you can do to help cut down on waste. Try skipping plastic produce bags at the store. Or try bringing reusable bags. You could also try the credit card rule: don’t use any plastic smaller than a credit card since this can’t be recycled. This means cutting out things like straws, coffee pods, and plastic cutlery. Lastly, try washing and drying materials before you recycle. Food waste makes recycling difficult for companies. Often, you can’t recycle containers that are covered in food- like old pizza boxes or take-out containers. So, if you can, try cleaning recycling first.
3) Use less water. We could all use less water and there are numerous tricks to do so. The simplest and most obvious are taking shorter showers and turning the faucet off when you’re soaping your hands or brushing your teeth. You can also try a few more advanced options, too. Look for any small leaks or drips in piping. Only do laundry or run the dishwasher when you have a full load. Or try installing a dual flush toilet system. You can also add a water bottle or a few larger rocks to the back of your existing tank to keep it from filling completely. This will save nearly 10 gallons of water a day!
This New Year’s holiday as you jot down your goals for 2022, consider making a personal change that betters your world. When you strive to care for your environment and those who live within it, you don’t only change yourself for the better, but everything and everyone you interact with too. After all, it’s when we help others that we’re truly helping ourselves. What are your new and improved resolutions for 2022?
If your resolutions have to do with being kinder to the Earth, consider a SmartRain smart irrigation system for your residential and commercial lawn needs.
Let us know if we can help you live greener in 2022. Contact us today.
As a property manager, you already know your day-to-day work life can be hectic and stressful. Time seems to fly by, and at the end of the day, you haven’t gotten anything done. Sound familiar? The never ending list can mean tons of added stress.
But we can help. We’re sharing our favorite time-saving tips that will make your life easier.
Focus on one resident at a time.
Resident interruptions are a major part of the job for any property manager. But how can you be expected to handle one resident’s issues if another one keeps disrupting the process? Instead of multi-tasking, try to focus on one problem at a time. This will save you time in the long run.
Unless it’s an emergency, tell the second resident you’ll get back to them or let them leave a message. Take care of the first resident’s issue, then go on to the next one. We promise this will add some more order!
Limit re-occuring calls.
Some residents can be very persistent in calling or stopping by the property manager’s office over and over. These interruptions can really drain your energy and time. To keep this from happening, set up an informal system with the resident in the event they continue to have issues. The system may involve not calling or coming to the office more than once a day, for instance.
Take advantage of time-saving technology.
Technology can save you time by automating many of your daily tasks. Imagine if dealing with the water system could be taken care of just by touching a few buttons. Or monitoring it meant merely looking at your computer screen. Technology can make these time-saving tricks a reality. Here at SmartRain, we’re proud to offer smart irrigation systems that can be accessed 24/7, wherever you are in the world.
Take a look at our options and see if one fits the properties you manage. Interested? Get in touch with us today to see how we can start saving you both time and money this year. https://www.smartrain.net
Have you ever been tucked into bed and ready to fall asleep only to realize that you forgot to lock the front door? Or turn off the lights? Or close the garage door? Or shut off an outdoor watering system? We’ve all been there. What if you could do that evening check right from your smartphone? You can with smart home technology.
Smart home systems and tools are becoming increasingly popular, for good reason. They make life so much easier and save you money, too! Imagine being able to control your thermostat, locks, lights, watering system and even your window shades, all from your phone or smart speaker! How much time would you save each day?
But the extra time isn’t the only benefit of installing smart home features. So, we thought we’d share a few of the unexpected benefits that we’ve come to love about smart home technology.
You’ve probably heard the 3Rs of recycling, right? We should all reduce, reuse and recycle. You probably have good intentions with recycling too. Maybe you put out a recycling bin each week.
But how much do you really know about recycling? Below is our list of the top things you should know about recycling. Use it to quiz yourself or your family! We think the more you know about recycling, the more likely you and others are to take the green initiative.
1. How long does it take for one can to decompose?
Answer: One aluminum takes between 80 – 100 years to decompose. This number is worse for other materials, however. A glass bottle takes a whopping one million years to decompose. A styrofoam cup may never decompose.
This is unless these items are recycled. Recycle it and it can be part of a new can within six weeks! It requires 95% less energy and water to recycle a can than it does to create a can from raw materials.
2. How much power does recycling one can save?
Answer: Recycling just one aluminum can save enough energy to run a television for three homes for three hours. This means that the average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime!
3. How many trees does each person use each year?
Answer: The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood and other products made from trees. Additionally, most Americans also throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12-foot high wall from Seattle to New York. The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year.
However, recycling a 3-foot tall stack of newspaper saves one tree. Making paper from recycled paper reduces the amount of air pollution-related to paper production by 95%.
5. How much plastic do Americans throw away?
Answer: Americans throw away 25 million plastic beverage bottles every hour.
However, recycling just five plastic bottles provides enough fiber to create one square foot of carpet or enough fiber to fill one ski jacket.
7. How much garbage, on average, is located on one mile of a highway?
Answer: On average, there are approximately 1,500 pieces of garbage per one mile of US highway.
We can all do our part in disposing of it properly.
8. How many times can glass be recycled?
Answer: Glass can be recycled and re-manufactured an infinite amount of times and never wear out. And recycling just one glass jar saves enough electricity to light an 11-watt CFL bulb for 20 hours.
9. How many cardboard boxes does the US use each year?
Answer: Over 90% of all products shipped in the US are shipped in corrugated boxes, which totals more than 400 billion square feet of cardboard. Nearly 80% of all retailers and grocers recycle their cardboard.
10. What things can be recycled?
Answer: Most plastic bottles and containers, paper, cardboard and food and beverage containers can be recycled.
11. What things can’t be recycled?
Answer: Plastic Saran wrap, waxed cups, food containers and styrofoam containers often cannot be recycled. Plastic grocery bags often can’t be recycled in your curbside container, but many grocery chains and other retailers collect them for recycling. Check with your favorite store.
How many answers did you get right? Were you surprised by any answers? We hope you take away at least one helpful tip from our list to help support a healthier and greener planet. If you want to help the planet even more, learn about our Smart Rain system. Visit us on our website: https://www.smartrain.net
It’s hard to predict the future of real estate. With house prices at an all-time high, it may seem like affordable prices may never appear again. Sometimes it can feel like nothing is a sure thing when it comes to home buying.
But as demand for features like stainless steel or hardwood floors fluctuates with trends, studies have shown that the demand for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes has held steady.
But you can rely on one thing for sure: environmental sustainability will likely continue to be a hallmark of good property ownership and management. Want to know why? Take a look below.
It’s what tenants want.
To have a successful real estate venture, you have to know what people want and how to deliver it. In today’s competitive market, tenants and renters are increasingly concerned about their impact on the environment.
A 2020 survey found that things like energy-efficient windows, doors, and siding were high priorities for home buyers and renters. Hald also said that landscaping for energy conservation was important.
Many tenants look for additional green amenities, such as recycling and composting options. Many tenants also look for energy-saving appliances like dishwashers, laundry machines, and toilets. What’s even more popular are eco amenities that provide extra comfort, like bamboo floors, or solar-heated walkways.
If going green long-term is important to them, it needs to be important to you!
It can save money.
Some green-initiates can be costly upfront, but in the long run, they save big on energy bills. Electricity bills are often the biggest cost for home and property owners. Even reducing this by a quarter means a big payout in the end. You can also add things like energy-saving appliances or insulated windows to help this cost, too.
There are also big rebates on installing solar panels and low energy-efficient measures. Many states offer rebates for solar energy installation. Other states will buy back your unused electricity, too, meaning you can add that straight to the bank or use the payback as a credit.
Often green homes save money on maintenance and upkeep, too. Many eco-friendly construction products make your home more durable and long-lasting.
It can benefit your properties.
Renters aren’t the only ones demanding green initiatives; property owners and managers can see, on a daily basis, how it reduces their overall operating costs and increases their bottom line. Over time, the demand for green features has continued to grow.
Any features that help set you apart from others on the market help too. Many buyers currently looking for these additions to your home while they’re looking. These features can set you apart and help increase market prices. Ultimately, any eco-features will help increase your property value as more individuals look for eco-features.
It can help you sleep at night
If you’re worried about the impact your properties are having on the environment, fear no more. Green initiatives ensure you’re doing everything in your power to minimize your carbon footprint. That can help you feel better about what you’re doing and your overall impact on the environment. After all, what’s better than feeling good and doing good.
Want to know more about adding “green” to your properties? Contact Smart Rain today! We can help you get the ball running on your eco-renovations and help keep another important aspect on your property, your lawn, green and eco-compliant, too! Visit our website to learn more.