Case Study: Designing a Company-Wide Conservation Program

The Challenge:

The client faced the dilemma of maintaining healthy plant material on thousands of retail sites while following increasing water restrictions throughout the country. The client needed to reduce their nationwide water footprint and wanted a complete program that was not only more holistic and sustainable but also easily repeatable.

The Solution:

SC&A worked with the client to develop a new program that would envelop the entire landscape and irrigation design program. This began by creating more than just landscape and irrigation guidelines and specifications but a fully implemented, working system that could be used nationwide by their designers. This new system would have checks and balances from beginning to end that would reduce irrigation usage while still maintaining healthy, aesthetically pleasing native and indigenous plant material. This prototypical design was designed for the end-user—the maintenance department—who is responsible for keeping the design and its ideals alive, all the while keeping money in their pocketbooks.

Once the guidelines and specifications are completed and in place, SC&A begins reviewing every site prior to build to ensure that the plans have been designed according to the client’s requirements. SC&A continues to review every site for compliance with the specifications and guidelines as well as for continuity and brand recognition.

Once built correctly, the program moves to its final step in the program. SC&A monitors the installed irrigation systems to ensure that the program is performing as intended and that the sites are using only the water the plant material requires. SC&A’s monitoring of the irrigation systems includes ensuring the sites remain in compliance with any local government water restrictions.

By building and utilizing this program in its entirety, it is estimated that this client’s non-compliance issues have decreased by approximately 76%. Due to reduced mowing, subsurface and low flow irrigation, and use of native plant materials, maintenance costs have also decreased. Inclusion of maintenance cost savings has reduced the Return on Investment (ROI) to less than 1 year on many projects.

Our Results:

  • A water savings of more than 40% annually.

  • A return investment of approximately 1year per project.

  • A 17-25% reduction in maintenance cost.

  • A 76% reduction in water compliance issues.

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