The date: 2010. The place: Sandpiper Cove HOA, a planned unit development in Harbor Bay with 252 single-family homes, a park and tot lot, and various common areas. It’s a beautiful little neighborhood, where the residents enjoy a high degree of satisfaction and take pride in the well-maintained, pleasant surroundings.
However, saving water during California’s drought was a constant preoccupation for everyone. At the year’s end, Sandpiper Cove HOA residents had spent $19,399 on water usage, totaling 5,145,492 gallons of water supplied by the East Bay MUD. Not only that, water costs were rising by almost 9% a year.
Serpico’s Deep Expertise in Water Management:
Serpico Landscaping was already in place as the landscaping and irrigation service of record for Sandpiper Cove HOA. With deep roots in the Bay Area, and experience that spans more than 28 years, Serpico is not only a Certified Green Business, but an active leader in water conservation. The Serpico Team starts by being Bay Friendly trained and certified. In addition, they have national certification through the Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditors and QWEL, which stands for Qualified Efficient Landscaper, a West Coast Affiliation of the U.S. EPA’s Water Sense Program.
Developing a Water Management Action Plan
Thanks to this expertise, Serpico is one of the few professional landscaping companies in the Bay Area that is able to offer a Water Management Action Plan as standard operating procedure. In the case of Sandpiper Cove HOA, the results were quite revealing. Immediately noted were the street median planters. Throughout the community these narrow common area planters were irrigated by spray sprinklers, which frequently over sprayed onto homes, fences and sidewalks. Because these street strips served no other purpose than being water wasters, Serpico recommended that they convert them into low water plantings with irrigation. At the time this recommendation was made, Serpico had been working with the East Bay MUD for almost three decades. They were well aware of available water rebates from the district to encourage conservation, and what work was necessary to qualify for them. Happily, this conversion for Sandpiper Cove HOA qualified for a $10,000 rebate.
Making the Conversion Affordable for Sandpiper Cove HOA
Serpico didn’t just present an idea to the Sandpiper Cove HOA Board, they did the calculations that showed how the improvements would pay for themselves, and how many years it would take to get an ROI on the project. Calculations covered the projected costs, including increase in water costs over time, and the full rebate amount. To arrive at the ROI point, they also measured the projected water usage savings against past costs.
Normally Serpico uses time frames of three to six years, depending on the scope of the project. That way the client knows when the money invested in upgrades will pay for itself. Everything after that mark becomes savings for their budget. With a life expectancy of 15+ years on a typical conversion, it was easy to see the benefits for Sandpiper Cove HOA.
The HOA Board signed off on the plan, and the conversion moved into the next phase.
Working Things Through with the Water District
Before Serpico Landscaping began work on Sandpiper Cove HOA, they notified East Bay MUD so that they could green-light the project and get the full rebate. Based on the application, the plans and bid for the low water planting and irrigation upgrade package were pre-approved.
After the conversion at Sandpiper Cove HOA was completed, the water department followed up with an inspection to make sure the work done was in line with the application. Once the project was inspected and confirmed, the East Bay MUD issued the rebate check to the Homeowners Association.
Sandpiper Cove HOA Becomes Beautifully Efficient
At Sandpiper Cove HOA, the “Before and After” scenes of the street medians could not be more pronounced. Before the conversion, narrow common area planters were messy and inefficient.
Serpico Landscaping replaced the over spraying sprinklers with more than 40,000 square feet of in-line drip, as well as a new generation ET controller. In addition, Serpico put in more drought friendly plants and spread mulch in all areas formerly covered by bare dirt.
Because these street strips can undergo a lot of wear and tear from foot traffic and automobile mishaps, the Serpico Team performs regular monthly inspections to keep them in optimum shape. This regularly scheduled maintenance program is part of their proprietary WaterWise irrigation program, one of the most successful in the industry.
Water Savings Started Strong And Got Even Stronger
From the first day they were operational, the transformed street medians became a beautiful example of water-efficient landscaping. In the first year, Sandpiper Cove’s HOA water usage decreased dramatically, and it has fallen every year since. As you can see from the chart, it fell from more than six thousand CCF in 2010, to under two thousand CCF in 2016—saving an estimated 3,855,192 gallons of water. Yearly water costs in 2016 (not including service, seismic and pumping costs) were reduced by almost $11,740 compared to 2010.
In addition to taking pride in protecting the environment by conserving precious water, Sandpiper Cove HOA is thrilled by the cost savings. Needless to say, Serpico Landscaping is still on the case, continuously looking for ways to make their environment even more beautiful and efficient.
From listening to our Clients and what their concerns are, then taking our experience and our passion about doing the right thing, not only for our customer but for our communities in terms of water savings, we help them come up with a Water Management Action Plan that tackles their unique issues. We take pride in creating partnerships that take responsibility for doing the right thing.
– Sharon Serpico Hanson
Let Serpico Find the Right Water Management Action Plan for Your HOA
Is your HOA looking for ways to conserve water while enjoying high quality landscaping? Would you like to put savings in place that get even better as years go by? Then it’s time to take the next step and talk to Serpico Landscaping.
For more than 28 years, we’ve been partnering with HOAs and businesses to deliver the Bay Area’s most beautiful and water efficient landscaping. We look forward to working with you. So call for a quote and let’s get going.