“Smart Lawns” Make Grass Green and Save Green
by Terri Wiebold
For the past several months, the Castle Pines North Metro District board meeting audience had been entertained and educated on one CPN resident’s efforts to decrease his electric bill and to reduce his water consumption.
Ron Clark, CPN resident of 22 years and city council representative for ward 3, opens the public comment portion of the Metro District board meetings each month with the following statement: “My name is Ron Clark and I am here to report on the continuing saga of my Weathermatic 1600.”
It started last December when Clark and his wife had an energy audit done on their home. The entire house was checked for leaks and other obvious energy problems. There were some minor issues and holes that were easily repaired with a few items from Lowe’s — first, new caulking and installation; then new energy-efficient appliances; then solar. In all, Clark has reduced his electric bill by approximately 10 percent.
As for water, Clark installed a Weathermatic SmartLine1600 automated on-site water management system on his roof in May. He paid $150 to have the system wired outside, and the CPN Metro District reimbursed him with a $200 credit on his water bill. The system measures rainfall, humidity, temperature, etc. and is designed to maintain the health and quality of landscaping while conserving water to minimize operational costs.
Clark said his lawn is greener now than ever before, and he is spending less to accomplish it. Each of Clark’s seven watering zones is programmed by vegetation type, soil composition, and slope.
In May 2008, Clark’s water usage was 7,000 gallons versus 9,000 in 2007; in June it was 22,000 versus 22,000 in 2007 (although usage district wide was up at least 50 percent in June this year); in July Clark used 22,000 gallons versus 39,000 gallons in 2007, and in August Clark used 17,000 gallons versus 19,000 gallons in 2007.
Clark estimates the system will pay for itself, including installation, by the end of next summer. He encourages other residents to get on board and start saving water and money.
To learn more about the Weathermatic 1600 and to watch reports on the product from NBC News and the Discovery Channel, go to www.smartline.com. To learn more about conservation incentives and reimbursement from the CPN Metro District, go to www.cpnmd.org.