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Home & Office

This smart sprinkler system uses AI and inkjet printing tech to reduce water waste

The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day, with at least 30% of this amount being used outdoors, according to the EPA.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Irrigreen system on a lawn
Irrigreen

At a time when droughts and changes to climate conditions are affecting people worldwide, it's no wonder individuals and companies alike are looking for a way to reduce their carbon footprint, produce less waste, and save more water. Irrigreen, a startup that has just received $15 million in seed funding, is looking to help with that by providing smart watering solutions. 

Also: How to save on utility bills with four smart home devices

According to the EPA, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day, with at least 30% of this amount being used outdoors, mainly for landscaping irrigation. This amounts to about 33,000 gallons of water a year used in outdoor irrigation, just from the average residential household. Consequently, there's a significant potential not only for water waste, but also for high utility bills for the homeowners. 

How Irrigreen works

The Irrigreen system lets you accurately trace your watering zones and mark off any areas you don't need watered. This is to precisely cover only the regions of landscaping you want to irrigate. Once you set your zones, each one of the smart sprinkler system's robotic heads essentially prints the exact amount of water needed to cover that area, much like an inkjet printer knows how to distribute ink over paper.

The smart sprinkler head essentially prints water, avoiding the areas you don't want covered. 

Irrigreen

According to Irrigreen CEO, Shane Dyer, "Because of the flexibility and elegance of Irrigreen's robotic heads, we democratized the process by enabling anyone to design an efficient irrigation system from the convenience of their computer while also instantly calculating how much water they'll save annually."

Also: How to make tech more sustainable:5 practical ways

This technology has the potential to save up to 50% of your outdoor water consumption -- or more if you're like me and often forget to turn off your sprinklers. Homeowners commonly upgrade to a smart sprinkler controller to use with traditional sprinklers. Instead of having the source be the smart device, each of the Irrigreen sprinkler heads uses AI technology to analyze changes in water pressure and flow, as well as adapt to weather and soil conditions, with the Irrigreen smart sprinkler controller connecting to them.

Cost

If you're thinking your current water consumption can't be that bad, all you have to do is go to the Irrigreen website and enter your address to see how many gallons of water you're currently wasting in your outdoor irrigation, no emails or subscriptions necessary. You'll be able to trace your lawn and set no-go zones. You will also get a quote for what a complete system would cost for your specific needs, whether you'd like to do a DIY installation or hire a pro to do it for you.

Irrigreen quote with Irrigreen product next to it

An example of a quote for 4,600 sq ft of landscaping.

Irrigreen/Getty Images/Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Irrigreen system also prioritizes quality over quantity in the distribution of its smart sprinkler heads, using 80% less piping and 87% fewer sprinkler heads. To cover a standard lawn with 40 sprinklers and five valves, the Irrigreen system only needs five sprinklers and zero valves. For my 4,000 square feet of landscaping, I'd only need four sprinkler heads and one controller, and switching to Irrigreen would help me save over 83,000 gallons of water a year, though your mileage may vary.

Also: Green tech is hard work. Here's how to find more support 

The new seed funding that the company is receiving from Ulu Ventures and others will help further develop the Irrigreen product and software to expand its reach.

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