Tag Archives: water conservation

Homeward Bound

Valley Residents Help SRP Give Homeward Bound A “Water Makeover”

Salt River Project has launched a contest that has Valley residents making their community more water-efficient. The contest, in which participants pledge to conserve water by submitting their best water-saving tips, could result in a “water makeover” for Homeward Bound’s Thunderbird Family Village Campus.

If SRP reaches its goal of 5,000 pledges, it will help Homeward Bound conserve water at several of its transitional housing facilities with a $5,000 grant from SRP that will be used by Homeward Bound to install high-efficiency shower heads and water fixtures in its 80-apartment campus located in north Phoenix.

“This process highlights the importance of everyone doing their part to conserve water,” says Sally Smith, Homeward Bound’s director of facilities. “We look forward to the conversion, saving water and the money we’ll save in the process.”

Homeward Bound is an organization that works to break the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence. They help families with children achieve economic independence by providing long-term housing that is secure and safe.

Started in 1990 with one family and one house, Homeward Bound now manages 155 housing units and helps nearly 600 people, 400 of which are children. In 2000, Homeward Bound opened the Thunderbird Family Village, a five-acre, secured campus with 80 two-bedroom housing units.

The pledge contest and the Homeward Bound “water makeover” is one of several initiatives created by SRP to extend and enhance the Together We Conserve campaign, a multimedia campaign to raise awareness of water conservation.

Participants of the Together We Conserve pledge contest will automatically be entered into a drawing to win weekly prizes that includes everything from smart irrigation controllers to movie passes.

For more information, visit togetherweconserve.com.


Willow Bend Environmental Education Center

Willow Bend Center Provides Environmental Education to Flagstaff Residents

Willow Bend Center Provides Environmental Education to Flagstaff Residents

If you had to pedal a bicycle to produce the energy needed to run the computer you were on right now, how much energy would it need? The Willow Bend Environmental Education Center in Flagstaff can give you an idea.

The Willow Bend Center has been bringing environmental education to Arizona since 1978. Each year, the Willow Bend Center educates 14,000 students in northern Arizona through its classroom programs and field trips.

The Willow Bend Center

The center has a Green Building, Discovery Room, gardens and the Biobug. The Green building was built in 2002 with the helping hands of volunteers from the community and incorporates a host of sustainable living practices.

“The building is passive-solar straw bale with a grid-tied photovoltaic system, rainwater cisterns, backyard habitat landscaping and native crop gardens, composting and more,” says Sapna Sopori, director of the 
Willow Bend Environmental Education Center. “In addition, our Discovery Room has interactive displays that demonstrate how how easy it is being ‘green’ in our personal lives.”

In the Discovery Room, you can ride the light bike to find out how much energy it takes to light up a regular light bulb as opposed to a compact flourescent light bulb, as well as how much water a person in Flagstaff uses each day and how recycled soda bottles become a fleece jacket.

Many of the education activities, such as the Discovery Room exhibits and Quest: A Natural History Treasure Hunt, are free. To supplement the educational experience on site, Willow Bend will be getting a shade structure and new outdoor learning space for educational use through its relationship with the Coconino County Parks and Recreation.

“This structure will be made of local small-diameter Ponderosa pine and will provide an outdoor learning space for Willow Bend,” she says.

The Willow Bend Center Educational Program

“We are best known for our Pre-K through 12 public school programs and work within the school districts to make teaching [environmental education] easier on teachers,” Sopori says. “Each of our 50 unique classroom programs is state standards aligned and offered free or low cost to teachers.”

The Willow Bend Center Discovery Room

The Willow Bend Center sends qualified educators to the schools with materials for hands-on, engaging, environmental science programs that focus on the bio-region and associated with community issues. Supplementary field experiences that build on the classroom programs are also offered. Currently these field workshops are held at Willow Bend or Sawmill County Park, and can even be provided at the schools themselves, to reduce busing costs and turn schoolyards into explorable habitats.

“Over 85 percent of the teachers that use Willow Bend rated our programs as above average or excellent, and 99 percent plan to continue using us in the future,” Sopori says. “[But,] children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from our programs; we also offer amazing teacher workshops to prepare and inspire educators to incorporate [environmental education] into their curriculum, both in the classroom and in the field.”

Willow Bend offers day-long programs such as the Science of Solar to more intensive 12-day programs such as the Yellowstone workshop, to help educators feel comfortable using the environment as the context for learning. These programs can be used for continuing education credit through FUSD, so formal teachers can meet their certification requirements as well.

The Willow Bend Center Community Events

The center has a variety of educational public programs for people of all ages. Though the Willow Bend Center focuses much of its time with the school system, they recognize the benefit of extending environmental education to the community as a whole.

“For this reason, we offer Family Science Events so families can enjoy experiencing nature and learning together,” Sopori says. “For example, our Radical Reptiles class is a great way for parents and kids to learn why snakes, lizards, turtles, etc. are such amazing creatures and see beautiful live specimens up close and personal.”

The center also offers Adult Adventures, where adults can get outside, get active and learn directly from professionals in environmental science.

“Willow Bend is dedicated to connecting northern Arizona to the environment, empowering our community to live more sustainable, and always providing hope for a fruitful tomorrow,” Sopori says.

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If You Go: The Willow Bend Center

703 E. Sawmill Rd.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 779-1745




Water Conservation, City of Phoenix

Water Conservation Tips For your Business

In the desert, water is scarce, and water and sewer charges can really add up. The City of Phoenix has partnered with numerous water conservation associations to stay in the know and help its customers conserve water and save money.

Upgrading to low-water appliances and equipment will eventually have the equipment paying for itself. But the quickest and most immediate return is changing employee and customer behavior. Communicate your conservation message to your customers and suppliers, and be proud of the change your business can have on the Arizona ecology.

Water conservation doesn’t just save your business money. The City of Phoenix’s website lists four more reasons to participate in water conservation:

  • Reduced wastewater costs and less spending on water treatment chemicals
  • Energy savings from using less energy to heat, pump and treat water
  • Environmental benefits
  • Positive publicity resulting from your conservation efforts


The City of Phoenix provides these tips to help your business reap the benefits of water conservation as listed above:

  • Make water efficiency a factor when choosing new equipment. Take into account the cost savings that can accrue over the lifetime of a unit. Look for industry-specific opportunities to save water.
  • Use waterless technologies where available. This could range from switching to waterless urinals in men’s rooms to using waterless woks in your kitchen to replacing old photo-development or x-ray equipment with modern digital technologies.
  • Eliminate all technology operating with “once-through” (continuous water flow) systems such as once-through cooling.
  • Reuse and recycle water wherever possible; wastewater from some indoor sources can be used outdoors for irrigation.
  • Install automatic devices to turn water off when equipment is not in use.
  • Restrict water pressure and flow rates where possible (install pressure-restricting valves, add aerators to existing faucets).
  • Consider installing sub-meters on major water-using units to track water use.


Water Conservation Outdoors: Knowing How and Where to Look for Leaks

If your business has a separate outdoor water meter you can check for leaks by shutting off outdoor water use and monitoring the meter. This is called sub-metering, and sub-meters (point-of-use meters) can be used for indoor fixtures, pools, sprinkler systems and large heating or cooling equipment.

However, if you feel that the leak maybe underground, a leak detection specialist will use echo correlation to find the source of the leak.

Water Conservation Landscaping

Growing plants that are accustom to an arid climate will aid in water conservation and save money on high water bills.

The City of Phoenix has four tips to conserve water when landscaping for your business:

  • Harvesting Rainwater is a practical (and free) form of irrigating both large and small landscapes. This is done by using the right type of plants and creating a simple system of berms (mounds) and swales (ditches). If done right, this system can reduce or even eliminated the need of using metered, potable water.
  • Another way to harvest rainwater is collecting and storing roof water runoff. Contact an expert to ensure you are safely storing the water and not creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can be hazardous.
  • Hydrozoning is simple; you will save water by planting the hardiest, most heat-tolerant plants right next to walkways, which are generally hotter, and by grouping plants that have similar water requirements together to reduce superfluous watering.
  • Nearly every business in Arizona has an irrigation system, and the best way to conserve water is to keep the irrigation system well maintained. The City of Phoenix recommends getting regular inspections of sprinklers and irrigation systems to spot leaks or misaligned heads.


Water Conservation Remodeling

When it comes to saving money and conserving water on the inside of your business, water smart remodeling is the way to go. When deciding on interior upgrades, the City of Phoenix recommends tankless water heaters, pressure reducers, aerators, and high-efficiency fixtures and appliances to reduce water use.

  • Tankless water heaters: When replacing water heaters, a “tankless” heater that heats water instantly can reduce use from hot water taps by up to 20 percent.
  • Pressure reducers: Adding or retrofitting existing technologies with pressure regulators that keep pressure to all fixtures below 70 psi can reduce water use and offer quick return on investment.
  • Aerators: For only a few dollars, retrofitting faucets with aerators increases water-efficiency instantly.
  • Install high-efficiency fixtures and appliances: Water-efficient fixtures and appliances include low-flow shower heads, faucets, toilets and urinals. High-performance dishwashers, clothes washers and a wide range of industry-specific technologies are also available for your business.


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Susie Baldwin of Arizona Greens

Arizona Greens Brings Artificial Turf To Arizona

Arizona Greens
Don Baldwin, founder and president
Susie Baldwin, founder and COO
Est. 2005

Taking the plunge to open your own business is always a difficult endeavor, but for Don and Susie Baldwin, the leap turned into a wildly successful venture with Arizona Greens. In fact, in 2005, only three months after launching their synthetic turf and putting greens business from their home, the couple had so many appointments that artificial turf was stored in the rafters of their garage.

“The phone rang so much we could not even answer it fast enough,” Susie Baldwin says.

Arizona Greens specializes in complete landscaping and hardscaping with an emphasis on low-maintenance, low-water synthetic turf for both residential and commercial properties.

Lifelong Arizona residents, Don and Susie have witnessed the dramatic changes to the state first hand. They realize water conservation is more important than ever, making synthetic grass a wise alternative for many.

“In this day and age of trying to be green and trying to conserve, this is just such an easy way to accomplish all those issues at one time,” Susie says.

In addition, due to numerous landscaping requests from customers, the Baldwins added a dual commercial and residential general contractor’s license to the company’s resume.

With the incredible success of Arizona Greens, one would never guess that the Baldwins previous careers were miles away from the landscaping industry. Don had worked as a long-distance truck driver and Susie was in corporate banking.

“The subtotal of our experiences was taking care of our yard,” she laughs.

Yet, they persevered and quickly learned the ins and outs of owning a landscaping business. The rapid growth of the company forced them to address numerous issues, including problems with adequate staffing and maintaining positive customer relations during delayed installations.

Now, with the tough economic times, the Baldwins are facing their next big hurdle in entrepreneurship.

“The first three years we were in business was cash flow heaven … then things changed virtually overnight,” Susie says. “In light of what has happened with the economy, it is imperative to look as forward as possible.”

Though the nonstop action of the early days of the business has slowed significantly, Don and Susie are positive that Arizona Greens will weather the storm and learn a very valuable lesson along the way. The energetic couple has learned to balance their personal and professional lives without a hitch, and they look to the future to forge ahead with their work.

“We just want to continue to make an impact on our environment and keep it as pure as possible,” she says.