|UgMO moisture sensors like these have been installed underground in several locations on PBA's campus to help control the amount of water used for irrigation.|
Palm Beach Atlantic University has conserved more than 5 million gallons of water — double the amount originally predicted — and saved more than $30,000 since a high-tech underground soil moisture monitoring system was installed on campus a year ago.
UgMO Technologies, based in King of Prussia, Pa., and Treasure Coast Irrigation and Landscape, based in Hobe Sound, donated and installed the wireless underground soil moisture sensors on a portion of PBA’s campus in June 2011.
The water and cost savings occurred between August 2011 and May 2012 and are compared to the same time the previous year, said Ken Kropp, grounds manager for National Management Resources Corp., which handles facilities management for the University.
The watering system works by shutting off sprinklers automatically when the ground is wet, such as when it rains. The underground sensors transmit the data wirelessly to a base station that works with the existing irrigation clock to prevent over-watering.
The University has added a significant amount of new landscaping during the past few months, which required an increase in the normal amount of watering, Kropp said. “We still have had a considerable savings,” he said. “These numbers definitely have room to grow.”
Officials from UgMO Technologies will present an educational session on the soil moisture monitoring system during a training event for higher education facilities professionals from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at PBA. The event is presented by the Florida Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers.
When the UgMO system initially was installed at PBA, officials predicted the system would save as many as 2.5 million gallons of water a year and result in about $20,000 in savings annually.
At the time, Kropp said he expected some of the cost savings to come through healthier turf that would require fewer chemical treatments to cure diseases.
The UgMO installation at PBA also was designed as an educational tool. University faculty and students have been observing the system, studying the soil moisture and calculating water savings.