Charlotte working to obtain smart sprinklers

Leaders of the Green Industry Council in North Carolina and Mecklenburg County lawmakers are campaigning for a smart sprinkler pilot project projected to cost $500,000 in federal stimulus funds.

Buddy Murrow, manager of Shepherd’s Landscape Supply in Huntersville, North Carolina, presented the case along with Green Industry Council heads and Sen. Dan Clodfelter to Mecklenburg lawmakers last week.

“Hopefully, we’ll receive word in the next day or two,” he says.

The project aims to replace commercial and residential sprinkler systems on timers with the ones based on Smart Water Technology, or ET controllers as it’s referred to in the industry.

The technology uses satellite information from 40,000 weather stations and ground-based information to gauge weather conditions such solar radiation, humidity, wind speed and temperature. The technology is able to take a reading of the previous day’s weather and adjust the amount of water to be dispersed the next day.

If approved, the Green Industry Council will target the top 100 water users in Mecklenburg County. The top 100 users would be coached through workshops on how to get the most out of the technology. Installation will cost commercial users on 2- to 3-acre lots about $4,000.

But Murrow points out the long-term savings.

“For one corporate customer over three years they would have saved $25,000 a year,” he says. “If you look at the return of investment they would have paid for it in a year and saved $25,000 a year after that.”

Customers will also receive rebates on their water bills.

Leaders of the Green Industry Council hope to serve as a model for other states. If passed, the project would begin in 30 to 60 days.

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