Innovative thinking and a strong commitment to water savings leads to a successful campus overhaul for the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
January 16, 2020, PHOENIX — Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply and Audubon International presented the second Water & Sustainability Innovation Award to SSC Services for Education for their irrigation overhaul of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (UAFS) campus on Jan. 15, 2020. The Water & Sustainability Innovation Award is an opportunity created by Ewing and Audubon to recognize landscape companies, organizations and municipalities for sustainable, water efficient projects.
Each year this award recognizes a project that strives to solve sustainability and water efficiency challenges that help to contribute to a healthy environment, equity (quality of life) or a vital economy. SSC was able to improve the overall look of the UAFS Campus while addressing these three key components of sustainability.
SSC was presented with pretty large irrigation problem in 2017 when they took over the grounds management. Water use was rising, despite no new buildings, leaks were all over the campus and there were issues with the installations and scheduling.
“We started with the basics and fixed all the leaks over the first few months,” said Matt Rich, Grounds Manager for SSC. Rich and his team continued to implement creative and impactful changes, performing an extensive overhaul of the irrigation system over the course of the next couple of years.
One important change they implemented was involving the students with the overhaul. “We involved many student groups at our university. We educated and built systems together in a collaborative effort to understand the problem and to create the overall solution. After identifying all of the irrigation on our 168 acre campus, we started to change the way irrigation was discussed,” said Rich.
“We are using our creativity to maximize the efficiency on our campus. We are combining new integrated technology, such as automowers and smart controllers to control the irrigation system and original practices like xeriscaping. We have created a cycle on internal investments that support each other and help with future innovations that may come available, ” said Rich. As a result, the campus has reduced its water use by 42.6 percent, saving the campus almost $90,000. They plan to invest these savings in additional sustainable efforts, including installing LED lighting and changing to non-potable water.
About Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply
Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply is the largest family-owned supplier of landscape and water management products in the country. As your business partner, we offer products and education for irrigation and landscape, turf and land management, outdoor living, sports fields, golf and sustainable solutions. Our nationwide network of friendly, knowledgeable staff helps green industry professionals discover products and services for business success.
About Audubon International
Audubon International is a not-for-profit organization which works with over 2,500 golf courses, businesses, parks, cemeteries, hotels, resorts, residential communities, and business facilities to encourage ecological management of natural resources. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, technical assistance, and a set of award-winning environmental and certification programs for individuals, organizations, single properties, new developments, and entire communities. For more information, visit www.auduboninternational.org.