Rain Bird Gray Water Irrigation System to be Featured on This Old House

Recycled water and drip irrigation are key elements of the innovative system designed exclusively for the Emmy Award-winning series.

Two immense concrete water tanks are lowered into the ground at the latest This Old House project, a 1950s contemporary-style house in Cambridge, Mass. The two tanks, which will hold a combined 2,500 gallons of water, are the keystone of this state-of-the-art gray water irrigation system, designed by the professionals at Rain Bird and This Old House. Photo: Rain Bird

GLENDORA, Calif. – Rain Bird Corp., a leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, has teamed up with pioneer home improvement series This Old House. The company has designed a gray water irrigation system for the show’s first-ever contemporary-style project located in historic Cambridge, Mass. Rain Bird’s irrigation system will run almost exclusively on reclaimed water. In this case, rain runoff captured during spring and winter storms will be stored and then pumped out for irrigation during dry spells.

“Without a doubt, This Old House is the ‘gold standard’ of home improvement shows, and we were more than happy to take on the task of designing and implementing such a complex and challenging irrigation concept for their latest project house,” said Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd, corporate brand manager for Rain Bird. “We hope the gray water irrigation system paves the way for heightened awareness of the need for water conservation in the lawn and garden and sparks discussion about how homeowners can do their part to conserve our most precious resource.”

The defining elements of the system are two massive water tanks, which hold a combined 2,500 gallons of reclaimed water from rain and irrigation. The system will use practically no municipal water and represents Rain Bird's commitment to water conservation and The Intelligent Use of Water™ in the lawn and garden industry.

This Rain Bird 1800 series pop-up head showcases a purple cap. Irrigation systems using reclaimed water must use purple tubing and sprinkler heads, to indicate that the water is unsuitable for ingestion. Photo: Rain Bird

"We got involved in working with This Old House before we even knew the project would be a reclaimed water system," says Dave Johnson, director of marketing for Rain Bird. "The first thing you have to realize is that this type of irrigation isn't even permitted in a lot of cities and states, so it's a unique system."

Johnson tells Lawn & Landscape that the gray water system will irrigate just like a traditional sytem, but without drawing on municipal water resources unless the water level in the tanks reaches a low level. "This site acutally has a sunken area and in the past it was a problem because rain water would collect and cause damage to the structure of the house," he says. "We were able to utilize that natural tendency of the site to collect the water and retain it for us in the irrigation. The system was installed late in the season, so there hasn't been much use for it yet, but the installation looks really good and we'll be interested in watching it be put to use later in the year."

After getting the necessary permits to install this unique system, the Rain Bird installation team used special purple-colored tubing and sprinkler heads to identify the system as carrying non-potable water. A backflow device also was installed to keep the water from running into the potable water system and a large pump was also necessary to make the system operational. Including the large concrete tanks, Johnson says the cost of the system is well over the cost of a traditional irrigation system, though final numbers for the project are unavailable. However, Johnson notes that there's no difference in the price of the actual irrigation components compared to those used for a traditional irrigation system. Moreover, a system like this could give homeowners a substantial cost savings when it comes to paying their water bills.

This is not the first time the small screen has tapped Rain Bird for their irrigation expertise. In 2005, Rain Bird designed and directed irrigation installation for Discovery Home’s hit home makeover program Garden Police. Rain Bird has also been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition and other home improvement programs on HGTV and DIY Network. 

“Smart water use is something that every homeowner should implement in their own lawn and garden. Donating our products and services to these programs is a great way to make water conservation a point of interest for home improvement enthusiasts everywhere,” added Riley-Chetwynd.


    Rain Bird Adds New Dates to Local Training Recognizing the expanding roles of those involved in specifying, designing and installing today’s complex irrigation systems, Rain Bird Academy invites irrigation professionals to its Regional Improvement Training Camp Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, 2006 at the Doubletree Hotel Anaheim/Orange County, located at 100 The City Drive in Orange, Calif. Those who would benefit from this training include irrigation contractors, system designers, distributors, technicians, landscape architects and irrigation managers from public agencies.

    Courses taught by Irrigation Industry Certified Trainers offer detailed instruction on financial management, product knowledge, various field installation techniques and troubleshooting irrigation systems. Select courses will also be available for Spanish-speaking professionals. Those interested in attending this professional irrigation training can contact Robert Pfeil or Mea Newman at 800/498-1942 or visit www.rainbird.com/training to register.

Rain Bird has designed its classes to be informative for everyone in the irrigation profession – from those just starting out in the irrigation field to seasoned professionals. Rain Bird training classes are broken out depending on participants’ experience and include three main sections:

  • Business Skills Training – Rain Bird provides informative, insightful information for those irrigation professionals and business owners wanting to learn more about financial management, profitable job estimating and customer selling skills.
  • Central Control Training – Participants can learn more about the technology, hardware and benefits that comprise today’s central controller systems. Participants can also learn about central control maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Turf Irrigation Training – Turf Irrigation Training will teach participants about irrigation design, products and product troubleshooting as well as intelligent water management.

Irrigation professionals can choose from one to four days of training with instructors who conduct one of the most respected and comprehensive training experiences in the irrigation industry. Specific “education tracks” on drip products and design, irrigation design, contractor business skills, and irrigation contractor courses are also available. The education participants receive will help them to better understand their irrigation products, work more efficiently and run more profitable businesses, which will reap financial rewards in cost savings and better financial management.

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