“HydroPoint made the decision to integrate and support all of the core components of its irrigation system like Apple does with its products. You make a phone call and it just works.”
Raised by parents who owned a landscape business, Chad Sutton has landscaping in his blood. His father, a landscape architect, drew beautiful landscape plans by hand. As he grew older, Sutton helped him bring residential and commercial landscape plans to life. Today, Sutton works as a Water Resource Manager for Gachina Landscape Management, a position he’s held for five years.
“In California, board room battles are being fought over water because there really isn’t enough water to support people, agriculture, landscapes, and other interests,” said Sutton. “Fortunately, beautiful landscapes can be created and maintained with careful and responsible use of potable water.”
One example is Sutton’s client, Hanover Page Mill, which is LEED Platinum certified and managed by the Gaither family, who have a strong interest in ecology and the environment. The Gaithers brought Sutton and Gachina on board to help them maximize outdoor water savings. Sutton immediately recommended replacing the existing smart irrigation system with WeatherTRAK controllers, which would enable them to go beyond the water savings standards set by the state of California.
With WeatherTRAK controllers installed, Sutton and his team achieved a 55 percent reduction in outdoor water use, while maintaining the stunning drought-tolerant plant palette that serves as a gathering place for the professionals who work there. Gachina was recognized by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association and won first place in Large Commercial Maintenance for its work at this property.
Sutton says he frequently recommends WeatherTRAK as a best solution for water conservation. “There are other smart irrigation systems that offer upfront cost savings through higher station count per controller,” he says. “But the large station count systems can be a nightmare from a management perspective.” He appreciates the simplicity and integration of WeatherTRAK. “HydroPoint made the decision to integrate and support all of the core components of its irrigation system like Apple does with its products. You make a phone call and it just works.”
Another best practice from Sutton – replace turf with drought-tolerant plants. Sutton credits a team effort for earning the prestigious Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award for its work at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Located in the rolling hills west of Stanford University, the accelerator lab is the longest structure in the world. Gachina replaced 20,000 square feet of lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping, reducing potable irrigation water use by 80 percent.
While Gachina is currently one of the few landscape companies of its size staffed with a full-time Water Resource Manager, Sutton believes this will be more common in the future. He also looks forward to more technology-oriented solutions to help solve the growing need for water conservation. Among them are wireless technology, sensors, and better, lower-cost networking.