EDI gets ELITE Award for irrigation project from hell Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, August 10, 2022 02:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

“I really didn’t want to do this project,” admits Geister, branch manager and business development at Environmental Designs, Inc. (EDI). “This project involved planting and maintaining annuals in planters outside two Centerra industrial buildings—16 at each.” The planters weren’t working as planned and McWhinney, the Centerra development management and investment company, knew.

Drains in the planters were not functioning and in 2019, the year before EDI took on this challenge, runoff from the planters was so high that standing water with algae could be found several feet away from the planters, plants were in poor health and the “rotting stinking mess” resulted in tenant complaints.

Also, the way the buildings are situated can create heat and a wind tunnel effect, which have an effect on water needs of the plants in the planters.

For the EDI team’s effort, they received ALCC’s Gold ELITE Award for Sustainability.

Rising to the challenge

“We have a good team,” Geister asserts. “It has rock stars. We agreed that ‘we can do this.’” To start, they removed all the soil to see how the planters drained. Then they removed existing components, installed new lines and added 360-degree adjustable drip bubblers to each planter. They refilled with aggregate and soil.

Using Rain Bird Xeri-Bubblers, Geister and senior Irrigation tech, Alejandro Arenas, improvised, installing the bubblers instead of using more traditional micro-sprays. “They are super simple to regulate above the soil line. It takes just a twist to adjust water.”

Based on his learning from this project, Geister would say this to colleagues, “There is amazing technology out there. Think out-of-the-box. Be innovative when using these products.” Before testing the new components, the team also cleaned the drains as best as possible.

Ongoing trial and error in 2020

Before adding plant material, EDI tested and retested water drainage. After plants were added, plant health care tech, Anthony Arizmendi, would hand water and wait, then rewater in stages, monitoring how much water was added and when water drained out. The goal was to learn how much water was needed and how often.

Adjustments continued and it took a large part of the season in 2020 to “dial in” the appropriate watering needs for the plants.

Everyone wins

The result was vibrant seasonal color in the planters that tenants were now complimenting. Lack of tenant complaints is good for McWhinney’s reputation. Additionally, water savings translated to money savings for McWhinney. No plant material had to be replaced by EDI—a savings for them. And EDI was contracted to install the same system in planters for two other buildings in the complex, bringing the total to four buildings.

Good relationships mean everything

“This sounds cliché,” says Geister. “We’re all on a team. The EDI team is outstanding, but the client and contractor are a team too. We always work to build good relationships with our clients. Build these relationships! Sometimes it takes time, but good relationships mean everything.”

See the Colorado Green, July/August issue for the complete article.

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