Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Original Green Industry

All the talk these days is about being "green". Working in the green industry has taken on a new meaning in the new era of environmentally friendly products and practices. Prior to this new awakening the green industry involved those of us who care for your lawn and landscape.

The new green industry and the original green industry need to find ways to work together to find a healthy balance in responsible water use.

There is not a blanket solution to water conservation. What is appropriate for me in  Iowa is not necessarily going to be an appropriate solution for my brother in Nevada. What we both can do is water responsibly. I talked about responsible watering in my Smart Irrigation Month post, but is important we are all good stewards of the water we have available. You don't have to water 5 or 6 days a week to maintain a green yard.

Many water conservationists are calling for removing lawns and lanscape in favor of concrete and rock gardens. I believe this is a short-term, short-sighted solution that will have long-term consequences. The biggest use of our water is not for our landscapes, but for electricity. The healthy front lawns of just eight average houses houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning, while the average home-sized central air unit has only a 3-4 ton capacity. You can feel the difference in the heat outside depending on where you are -- it is a much hotter walk across a barren parking lot than it is across a lovely park.

At an irrigation conference last year one of the speakers talked about green roofing. This is something that never occurred to me. Miles and miles of roof tops in big cities radiating heat that could be providing coolness and clean air for the inhabitants. Architects abroad are way ahead of the USA in this area of greenscaping. Interesting to note - it is now mandatory in the City of Copenhagen that all new flat roofs under a 30 degree pitch, for both private and public buildings, have to be vegetated. Perhaps we will delve more deeply into green roofing in a future blog.

In terms of wasted water, it is important for you be aware of how effectively you sprinkler is watering. As I said last week, look for areas of over-spray and run-off. I saw a sprinkler running this morning at a commercial site that had 3 heads turned totally the wrong direction and watering the parking lot - a total waste of water. This kind of waste adds up in a big way so be alert and kindly tell your neighbors and business establishments if you see a broken head or water rushing down the street. (Yes, I did notify the store of the problem!)

One vital factor for effective irrigation is to hire a professional. We have serviced some sprinklers that should be an embarrassment to the industry. It is just sad that people pay their hard-earned money for an irrigation system that doesn't water their yard properly. According to one of the local lawn care experts, "a bad sprinkler is worse than no sprinkler" when it comes for keeping a healthy landscape. If you are in the market for a new sprinkler system check references on your prospective contractors, check with your neighbors, or stop and talk to people who have awesome yards. When you get estimates don't just take the cheapest one - a poorly designed and installed sprinkler system will cost way more in the long run. Cheaper is not always the best option - be a smart consumer!

I believe I may have digressed from a smidge from my original track here, but we are highly involved part of the original Green Industry. At Jensen Sprinkler, we are an industry leader in our community, we are committed to spreading awareness and educating consumers. We love this wonderful planet we live on and we want to help you be responsible consumers of it's resources. We can live green and be green, too.

Have a super week!
Keep it Green!

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