All toilets and most showerheads today meet the federal water-efficiency standards, but not all of these products perform satisfactorily. With toilets and showerheads, we include products that meet or exceed WaterSense standards, which includes performance requirements—although we go beyond WaterSense where there are issues not adequately addressed by the program. We also look for other products that conserve potable water, such as rainwater catchment and graywater recovery and reuse systems.
The WeatherTRAK irrigation control systems (available in commercial and residential models) automatically create watering schedules based on parameters that include plant and soil types, sun exposure, and slope. Each watering zone is subsequently adjusted automatically each day based on analyzed NOAA weather data received from HydroPoint’s ET Everywhere satellite communications service, which eliminates the need for a standalone weather station by delivering geographically specific weather data. Remote management and monitoring via the internet is available. The system is also compatible with rain sensors that can override watering instructions (i.e., not irrigate if the ground is wet).
Over half of the urban water used in the U.S. is for landscape irrigation, with much of that water lost to evaporation. It's best to use native landscaping or xeriscaping that is drought-resistant, and reduces or eliminates water, energy, and chemical use—but if irrigation is needed, use permanent “smart” irrigation controllers.
Smart controllers use evapotranspiration (ET) data based on local temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind, and other factors, along with information on soil, plant type, irrigation type, and slope to calculate the amount of water transpired by vegetation and evaporated from the soil. The controllers then provide the amount necessary to maintain the health of the plants.
Drip irrigation systems that release measured quantities of water directly to the soil surrounding the intended plants instead of spraying an entire area also use water more efficiently and reduce evaporative losses.
GreenSpec lists smart irrigation controllers that use ET data, weather information, and other sensors to help minimize water losses, with preference given to WaterSense-labeled controllers. Also look in our Graywater Systems section for integrated systems that reuse water that would otherwise be sent down the drain. GreenSpec also lists products here that detect or prevent leaks in irrigation systems.
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