Recently we have begun to offer a new irrigation clock; Rainbird ESP-SMT Controllers. These controllers are new to the marketplace although the technology has been around for years in the commercial landscape industry. This controller offers a new approach to how we manage the irrigation of our landscapes. More importantly it will reduce the overall amount of water used and reduce your water bill.
In the past, we (Landscape Professional, Homeowners, Etc) determined how much to water and when. Now with a smart controller we simply determine the conditions for each zone. We give the controller critical information about the site ranging from; light condition, plant type, soil type, amount of slope, etc and the clock determines the needed amount of water.
The way in which water need is calculated begins with the outdoor weather station. This weather station measures rain fall and temperature and compares this current information with 7 years of programmed historical data based upon zip code. This allows the controller to increase, decrease or terminate water output completely. This is the first controller that allows the homeowner to walk away and allow the controller to make the daily and seasonal decisions or adjustments.
We, as programmers, determine when the system can water; this is called the water window. The controller determines based upon collected weather information and programmed site condition how much water should be allowed and how frequently. If you have a slope, instead of watering for 7 minutes at one time this controller knows (pre-programmed) the ideal rate of percolation. It would water for the same amount of time (7 minutes), but it would do so in smaller increments over the time allowed (water window). This means less runoff, less wasted water, and more savings.
Rainbird ESP-SMT controllers are estimated to save between 30-70% of water usage for a typical landscape. This is a tremendous amount of water and a large step to being more environmentally conscious when managing ones property.