Energy and Water Conservation Rebates: Part 2

By | Uncategorized

 

If you are a resident of San Diego, there are all sorts of rebates out there that can help you save money on your bills, and also help you conserve water and energy. You can access these things and much more at discounted prices by taking advantage of the rebates and savings offered by the City of San Diego, SDG&E, SoCal WaterSmart, and the Center for Sustainable Energy. If you need help accessing these rebates after reading through this, call Patrice at 619 540 0430.

In this article I’ll run you through the rebates and discounts you can get, and some information regarding each one.

The first set of rebates we highlighted was to help you bring water conservation into your home, saving you money and water while you use your daily appliances. The following article will be based around the water conserving technologies you can use outside your home, mostly targeting landscape water usage. But first a word on stormwater runoff:

Stormwater Runoff

In our urban and suburban neighborhoods, where there is more concrete and asphalt than there are patches of green or brown, rainwater moves across all those impermeable surfaces, picking up pollutants along the way and delivering them to our rivers and ocean. (This is demonstrated in this wonderful video featuring local EarthLab students.) The rainwater picks up oil, grease and dirt from the roadways, and carry trash into the waterways and storm drains. After every rain, the City of San Diego has to close the beaches as the bacteria contamination in the water is at unsafe levels for people to be swimming in. Stormwater runoff pollution is a challenge for most cities, intensifying the negative effects urban development has on the environment.

A great way to do your part in preventing stormwater runoff, is to make use of the rainfall to irrigate your garden or landscaping. Two seperate Rain Barrels and Cisterns rebates are offered through SoCal Watersmart and the City of San Diego Transportation and Stormwater department.

 

City of San Diego Rain Barrel Rebate

The link below has all the information you need to get your rebate of up to $1 per gallon (maximum is $400) and other information about the installation and how to have it irrigate your landscaping. From a general estimate of Rain Barrel prices, they seem to be priced more or less around $100 for a 50 gallon barrel. With that price, you could save 50% the purchase price after your rebate. The minimum size of rain barrel for this rebate is 45 gallons.

Click here to check it out: City of San Diego Rain Barrel Rebate

 

SoCal Water$mart Rain Barrel and Cistern Rebate

The SoCal Water$mart program is ran through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and has plenty of other rebates for both residential and commercial applicants. I’ll point out more of these rebates as we continue. This rebate has a minimum size of 50 gallons for rain barrels and 200 gallons for cisterns. For each rain barrel (up to two rain barrels) you will receive a rebate of $35, and rebates for a cistern depends on size, from $250 back for a 200-500 gallon cistern, up to $350 back for a cistern exceeding 1000+ gallons.

According to SoCal Water$mart, you are free to take advantage of both these rebates for the same rain barrel.

Here is their rebate: SoCal Water$mart Rain Barrel and Cistern Rebate

 

City of San Diego Graywater Rebate

According to the page linked above, a family of four could reuse 22,000 gallons each year by using the rinse water from their washing machine. Graywater systems, sometimes known as Laundry to Landscape systems are pretty straightforward: they take the water from your washing machine and funnel them into your landscape instead of down the drain, making use of the perfectly clean water to take care of your garden. Just use an environmentally friendly laundry detergent for your loads, and you can start saving water and money with this simple, but innovative system. With this rebate, you could save $150-$250 on your no-permit Graywater system. If you get more complex setup going, with water from your bathtub and shower, and more plumbing work required, then you might have to get a permit to install your system, which has been made a much easier process after 2013. You could save up to $1000 on materials and permitting fees for those more complex systems requiring a permit.

Set yourself up for savings with the rebate here: City of San Diego Graywater Rebate

 

City of San Diego Free Residential Water Surveys

To learn more about the efficiency of your current water usage, consider having a free water survey done on your home. A specialist will come out and check for leaks and water saving opportunities, as well as provide you some pieces of equipment and information to help you begin saving water. A lot of the survey will be in the home, but if you have a landscape, this can be very important to maximizing your water usage on your garden or lawn. If having an expert in water efficiency visit your home and fill you in on everything you could be doing to save money and water sounds good to you, then set up your survey below.

Click here for the water survey:  City of San Diego Free Residential Water Surveys

Socal WaterSmart Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles Rebate

Just like the website reminds us, it’s not a great feeling to see a sprinkler furiously watering the concrete of the sidewalk, while wholly ignoring the landscape it was meant for. This could be your home! Rotating sprinkler nozzles are easy to position to make sure that you’re watering what you need, and nothing else. They save 20% more water than conventional spray heads. The rebate is for a minimum of 30 Sprinkler Nozzles, and will save you at least $2 per nozzle. They can run from around $3 – $8 a nozzle in stores, so this is a pretty good chunk of savings you could take advantage of.

So take advantage of it here: Socal WaterSmart Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles Rebate

 

Socal WaterSmart Weather Based Irrigation Controllers

Why stop at the sprinklers? We’re headed in the right direction, and the next stop on your path to smaller bills and conserving water is a “smart” irrigation controller. This controller uses weather data to set your watering time according to the temperature. If the day is cool, you’ll need less water for your landscape, and this controller will automatically calculate and limit or extend the watering time. These controllers can prevent overwatering your landscape by 13,500 gallons a year, and save you 700$ over their lifetime. Based on a few of the models listed on the site, one of these devices will run you from around $100 – $300. The rebate starts at $80 per controller for under 1 acre of landscaping, and $35 per station for over 1 acre of landscaping.

Learn more and pick one of these up with the rebate here: Socal WaterSmart Weather Based Irrigation Controllers

 

Soil Moisture Sensor Systems

This soil moisture sensor is just what you need alongside the last two devices that will really make your irrigation cycles efficient, and responsive to the changing environment. These sensors are placed to capture data about the moisture of the soil. Just like the weather information, if the soil is still most, it will let your irrigation controller know to not water it or water it less. When you buy one of these, from their list of qualifying models, it will tend to come with a sensor and a calibrator. You’ll need to get a irrigation controller if it doesn’t come with one. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to claim this rebate if you already claimed the rebate for the weather-based irrigation controller. Either you get the rebate for the controller, or for this moisture sensor. These sensors run from around $100 – $160 and the rebate is, again, $80 per sensor, or $35 per irrigation controller station.

Learn more and claim the rebate here: Soil Moisture Sensor Systems


     Indulge me in a daydream: That beautiful and rare San Diego rainfall comes around, and is collected in your huge Rain Barrel. Your Soil Moisture Sensor reads that your drought tolerant landscape won’t need to be watered that day, and automatically limits your irrigation without even needing to consult you. A few weeks pass and now the sun is smiling vigorously on our city. You thank the sun for being so bright, but secretly you wish it would chill out just a bit, because you’ve been sweating through your clothes so fast that you seriously consider moving to a nudist colony in the desert to avoid all the laundry that’s piling up. Before you pack your bags (nudists must be light travellers!) consider that your washing machine is set up to water your landscape, and your Weather-Based Irrigation Controller is letting you know that, with this heat, you’ll need to run those Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles a bit longer today. Go ahead and wash that sweaty pile of laundry, you know it’s not being wasted, and you know it’s being accurately distributed across your landscape, thanks to the help from the City of San Diego’s Free Residential Water Survey. So forget about moving to the desert, sit down on your porch and enjoy your happy garden. But panic runs through you once more: You see the mail-lady approaching your home and you’ve got the urge to pick up where you left off, and join that nudist colony to avoid paying these bills that are coming your way. But the mail is already in your hands, and well golly-gee, you’re spending less on your utilities than ever before! Maybe you’ll stick around after all…

That concludes the water rebates I’ve found, although there might be more out there that I’ve missed. If you find any, send them my way at ali@groundworksandiego.org to spread the word. Check out the next one for a whole new crop of rebates and opportunities to start conserving water, energy, and money.

–  Ali Mehraban
Newsletter Editor &
Climate Action Intern

 

Home-Makeover & Water Conservation Project Nominated for National Award

By | Uncategorized

 

​Our Home-Makeover & Water Conservation Project in the Chollas Creek Watershed region has just been nominated for a national award!  The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, recognizing the project as a leading innovation in San Diego’s Climate Action and Water Conservation efforts, has submitted it to the The Atlas Marketplace, a digital platform that collects resilient infrastructure case studies from around the United States to serve as best practices for other communities.  The Groundwork project is engaging scores of climate action ambassador- residents in the Chollas Creek Watershed.  The project’s installations include:

  • Rainbarrels for saving water and capturing potential run-off
  • Drought tolerant trees providing greenhouse gas sequestration for air improvement and runoff reduction
  • Greywater systems, with a savings of approximately 150 gallons per week per family, for landscape use and waste water reduction
  • Earthworks for irrigation reduction and hardscape replacement for runoff reduction
  • Faucet aerators, low flush toilets and efficient showerheads

Because water experts advocate for large rainbarrel installations (400 gallons or more) to achieve maximum benefits, residents have been willing to accommodate the largest available.  Below is resident Irma Williams with a 450 gallon rainbarrel!

 

Event: Earth Day at the EarthLab – Sat, April 21st

By | Uncategorized

 

We are excited to announce that we are hosting Earth Day at EarthLab  on Saturday, April 21st, from 9-11am. Our incredible partner, NASSCO, will be joining us again to remove dead trees, clean the creek bed, spread mulch, and remove trash. This will be a productive day for the EarthLab and for the environment.

We will also have select science teachers conducting age-appropriate activities for our younger students. These activities include science experiments, seed planting, arts & crafts, and more.

Alex at the EarthLab: February

By | Farm

Hello From Groundwork!

Our outdoor climate action center, the EarthLab, is now open on Saturdays  from 9am to noon, so please come see our students and volunteers in action, or lend a hand.  Here is an  update from our EarthLab manager, Alex Garcia, on some of the EarthLab comings and goings.

Hi everyone! Hope you all enjoyed your holidays and hope you all have started 2018 with a bang! A positive bang that is! Yes, I’m aware, it’s already been 3 months since we started 2018. So, without further ado, let me update you a little bit on what has been happening at EarthLab.

One of those tasks was to plant some Sycamore and some Willow trees by the creek. Not sure if you all remember but a few months ago we got some help from the marines during fleet week as well as some help from NASSCO. They helped clean up the creek by removing all the weeds and trash. Now that the creek is all clear we decided to plant some trees! Not much to look at, at the moment, since they aren’t fully grown. But, take a look…..





Well, since we are talking about the creek, let me show you what else I have been up to. About a year ago we started seeing some paw prints appearing on the seed trays that we have over at the native plant propagation center. We also started seeing some of the plants that we have in 1 gal pots tipped over, as well as scat. But, most frustrating of all, our irrigation pipes were torn. All of this was occurring pretty much on a daily basis. The culprit: coyotes! Well, there is an opening by the south end of the creek covered by, what I will refer to as, a grate. The grate had big enough openings for a coyote, even big enough for a human, to squeeze through. So I decided to cover it up with some chicken wire and Wholla! Problem solved! Until, a few weeks back when someone decided to pull it apart. Our coyote friends are very clever…next move is theirs!

 

Let’s go ahead and change scenery and head over to the propagation center. Something that I haven’t or perhaps briefly mentioned is that we are working on a project called the I.R.W.M project. To keep it brief, my role is to help in the installation of native plants at homes in the Encanto neighborhood. Some of the plants we propagate and some we acquire. Recently, we acquired some soft agave but, we can’t just go and plant them right away. They need to be aired dried until the soft inner tissue calluses over. Check it out….

Well, that’s it for now. See you all next time!

Groundwork Recieves Grant to Upgrade a Portion of Chollas Creek

By | Project Updates, Public Service

Groundwork San Diego has been awarded a grant from the California Department of Water Resources through San Diego County’s Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program to complete the planning phase for two projects in Chollas Creek.  One project will remove invasive nuisance plants along portions of the creek, and the other will restore the portion of Chollas Creek that runs along Federal Blvd between I-805/Beradini Field  and Home Ave.

The Federal Blvd project will include removing the concrete channel and replacing with a soft bottom, planting native vegetation, and installing a trail along the edge of the creek. This is one of the important trail connections that will one day provide Chollas Creek Watershed residents a pedestrian/bicycle trail from La Mesa to the Bayshore Bikeway!

Concept drawing of future Chollas Creek along Federal Blvd.

 

Energy and Water Conservation Rebates

By | Community Support

 

If you are a resident of San Diego, there are all sorts of rebates out there that can help you save money on your bills, and also help you conserve water and energy. Through our EcoVillage program, we offered upgrades like Rainwater Harvesting Barrels, and Laundry-to-landscape systems free of charge for residents within our project area, but you can still access these technologies and much more at discounted prices by taking advantage of the rebates and savings offered by the City of San Diego, SDG&E, SoCal WaterSmart, and the Center for Sustainable Energy.

In these articles we’ll run you through the rebates and discounts you can get, and some information regarding each one.

The first set of rebates we’ll get into are for products that you can install in your home that can cut down on your water usage, saving you some money on your bill and contributing to conserving water in our drought-prone region.

 

High Efficiency Toilet

It’s safe to say that toilet flushing is a daily operation, and something that is hard to imagine life without. Toilet flushing on average accounts for 30% of total in-home water use, so while we won’t make any arguments for removing toilets altogether to conserve water, it’s worth looking at these newer, more efficient toilets that can make a big difference.  By installing a high efficiency toilet in your home you can save over $800 over the lifetime of the product.

The rebate is for $40 back per toilet. Based on the list of qualifying model you can get a high-efficiency toilet that uses less than 1.1 gallons per flush for around $300.

Click here for this rebate: High Efficiency Toilet

 

High Efficiency Clothes Washer

Doing laundry amounts to about 15% of the average residential water usage. Cutting down on the amount of water and energy going into your laundry routine can save you $400 over the washer’s lifespan. There are actually two separate rebates that you can use in conjunction to save on your purchase of a high efficiency clothes washer.

The first comes through SoCal Water$mart and will get you $85 rebated on your purchase. That can be found here:  High Efficiency Clothes Washer

The second one is through SDG&E and is a $25 rebate on your purchase. The information for that one can be found here: SDG&E Washer Rebate

 

Energy Efficient Water Heaters

SDG&E also offers rebates for both Electric and Gas water heaters. To find out which model will be best for you, check out this comprehensive infographic by the Department of Energy. Like the infographic mentions, heating up your water takes up 14-18% of your household energy use, so finding the one that is right for you will be crucial.

Click here for that rebate: Energy Efficieny Water Heaters

 

Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)

There are plenty of other points in the home where you can save a lot of water over the course of a year. One source of water waste, and something that could be damaging your plumbing system, is at the point where the water enters your homes pipes. The water pressure coming into your home might be too high, which can cause leaky pipes and those wretched noises that haunt every turn of the knobs. By Installing  Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) you can lower the pressure, and save an average of 30,000-40,000 gallons of water per year.

Read through the page to learn how to apply: City of San Diego Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) Rebate

 

Socal Water$mart Checkup

This one doesn’t count as a rebate, but it’s a great (and free) way to find out other ways to make your home more efficient. You will receive a free evaluation of your water usage by an expert, recommending you ways to save money and water in your home.
Sign up for that here: Socal Water$mart Checkup.

Socal Water$mart also has this great list of tips for conserving water, which can help you begin thinking about ways to upgrade your daily routines, or to bring home some new technologies to contribute to our regional water conservation efforts.

 

 

With all these technologies and tips combined, you could be saving hundreds of dollars and tens of thousands of gallons every year. That wraps up the indoor water rebates and conservation resources that we found, and if you happen to know of anything we missed, send an email to ali@groundworksandiego.org and we’ll begin spreading the word.

Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter for more rebate information!

 

 

EarthLab Education Corner: November

By | Farm, Public Service, Staff Blog, Upcoming Events

 

November and December have been incredibly busy and successful months. So many smart students from all of our participating schools! Seventh graders from MTM took a field trip to the Torrey Pines Reserve to learn about native habitats and plant and animal adaptations. The Canyoneers hosted the trip and their trail guides were great. Fourth graders from Chollas-Meade just finished a unit on Climate Action and Stormwater Pollution.

What amazing environmental stewards these students have become. Sixth graders from MTM concluded their unit on Water Quality & Conservation, with an interactive, vibrant four day visit from the San Diego County Office of Education’s Splash Lab. Thanks to their teachers for such a successful course.

ProKids just finished a three month curriculum on Pollinator Gardens and Environmental Conservation. EarthLab Education Director, JoAnna Proctor, received an award from ProKids, Role Model of the Year! The awards ceremony was filmed and showcased on the Golf Network.

EarthLab’s new “Sunshine Storytime” for families is a brilliant new partnership program with Malcolm X Library. Thanks to Miss Cassie for her collaboration and dedication.

Finally, EarthLab’s “Saturday Science & Service Club” is going strong, with each Saturday offering a unique set of experimental, hands-on activities for students and their families. It has been an educational and successful year thus far, and we are all looking forward to more fun and learning in 2018. Wishing all of our friends, supporters, partners, teachers, administrators, staff, students, and families a beautiful holiday season and a brilliant new year. Happy Holidays!

 

Groundwork & Local Partners Rid an Encanto Neighborhood of Mosquitos & Restore a Piece of Chollas Creek

By | Project Updates

 

Groundwork San Diego, working with local San Diego partners including City Council President Myrtle Cole, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and a team of local consultants, has completed the construction phase of a mosquito control project in the Encanto neighborhood.  The project was designed to remove pools that had formed in Chollas Creek just north of the Lenox Drive Bridge due to deteriorated grade control structures. The County of San Diego had identified the site as a high priority treatment area, due to the potential for mosquitos to breed in the pools. The project includes removing the concrete structures, re-grading the creek channel to allow water to flow through, and planting native vegetation along the creek banks.

Photo 1: Upstream of Lenox Drive Bridge on September 26, 2017

The work is being funded by a competitive grant that was awarded to Groundwork San Diego by the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health under the Vector Habitat Remediation Program, part of the County’s Vector Control Program.  The San Diego County Vector Control Program is a countywide effort that monitors vectors and the diseases they carry. A “vector” is an animal or insect that can transmit a human disease. The Vector Control Program works to protect public health by surveying for diseases carried by vectors, responding to public requests for vector inspections, and educating the public about mosquitoes and other vectors.

Photo 2: Upstream of Lenox Drive bridge on November 29, 2017 after construction.

EarthLab Soon to be Encanto Gateway!

By | Farm

After years of collaboration with CalTrans and the City of San Diego, and the help of our community’s strong and effective voice, Groundwork is pleased to announce that the dangerous Euclid South SR 94 offramp will soon undergo a major transformation.

Current Layout:

Modeled after the Massachusetts Ave SR 94 offramp down the road, Euclid South offramp will become a cloverleaf onto Euclid Ave. At the new stop light at Euclid and the offramp, drivers will be able to safely and easily travel north or south onto Euclid.  And the very first thing drivers will see at that stoplight is our EarthLab, our ever-improving community garden and youth and family climate action center.

Approved Plan:

click to enlarge images