Archive for the 'Irrigation' Category

Using Native Plants in Your Garden


ian Williamson

Using native plants in landscaping in an urban setting exudes a certain character and at the same time requires fewer resources; such as water, etc… Here are some things that you should know when planning to embark on this endeavor.

Why use native plants?

Using native plants for landscaping is a way of celebrating natural heritage and a way of returning back to a land ethic established 50 years before by Aldo Leopold. Looking closely at native plants, it can be ascertained that these plants have many traits that make them very appealing in terms of aesthetic value, ecological value, and practicality. They can also present some health benefits when used properly.

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Native Plants

So what are native plants? Native plants are plants that have evolved naturally in the United States. In particular, native plants in a certain area are those that were thriving in the particular area long before humans brought plants from faraway places. Both in Central and Eastern North America, the native plants grow in areas that have other species which have adapted to similar weather, moisture, and soil conditions. Some of the more prevalent types include tallgrass prairies, beech and maple forests, freshwater marshes, bogs, and savannahs among others.

Native plants are energy savers

Since native plants have been present in their respective areas for thousands of years, they have adapted and toughened against local conditions. They are resilient and can withstand the cruel winter cold or the sizzling summer heat. After getting a firm hold on the land, these types of plants will need no fertilizers or irrigation and are less prone to pests. Because of these reasons, native plants are very ideal for a low-maintenance type of landscaping and gardening.

Native plants are fascinating

Due to their diversity, native plants include wonderful flowers and interesting foliage. Trees and shrubs native to an area present a multitude of shapes, textures, and sizes to the landscape. Besides this, native plants have very interesting cultural as well as historical dimensions. A lot of the species are considered to be of value both as food and medicine. Some types have been used for textiles, dyeing, and cordage to name a few of their uses… It also serves as a reminder, a link to yesterday and its memories.

These are some of the reasons why native plants are used for landscaping. If you think that these are well grounded reasons and that you concur with it, then there is no reason why you should not delve into native plant landscaping.

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STUNNING IN SEATTLE–Olive 8 is First Area Hotel to Get LEED Silver Certification



The owners call their Olive 8 building in Seattle stunning, and for good reason.

The downtown 39-story hotel/condominium building officially received a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a first for hotel/condominium buildings in the Seattle area.

As the first mixed-use hotel and residential project to be LEED certified in Seattle, Olive 8 was recognized as a high-performance building that is a responsible and efficient place to live, vacation and work. The cornerstone Hyatt at Olive 8 hotel, located within the Olive 8 building, is one of only 20 hotels in the U.S. to be officially designated green by the LEED Green Building Rating System.

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According to David Thyer, CEO of R.C. Hedreen Company, the firm that planned and developed Olive 8, realizing the value of green building early on was instrumental in this success story.

Thyer said R.C. Hedreen did a significant redesign of the original building plans to ensure Olive 8 would meet the exacting LEED certification standards.

A few years ago, it became obvious to us that green, sustainable and environmentally friendly design and construction is the future, Thyer explained. All the research since then demonstrates that a green building is better for our bottom line, while also better for hotel guests and condo owners, both in terms of offering a healthier indoor environment and in terms of long-term investment value. Olive 8 is proof that a building can be both green and sophisticated.

Featuring a sleek 100-percent glass exterior, stunning blue glass architectural elements, and one of Seattle s largest living rooftops, the building s green design will make a lasting positive impact on the local environment. In addition to an expected energy savings of 23 percent more than a conventional building of similar size and occupancy, Thyer says Olive 8 should have water savings of about 36 percent, or approximately 2.4 million gallons each year.

Key elements that contribute to the energy-saving and eco-friendly nature of the building include: low-flow plumbing fixtures, which use one gallon per minute less than traditional showerheads; dual-flush toilets that use 29 percent less water per flush; a low-chemical mechanical water system that uses less potable water; landscaping maintenance that uses minimal city water, thanks to the use of native plant species and super-efficient irrigation systems. And, get this–in total, more than 95 percent of construction debris was diverted from landfill disposal by redirecting materials to be reused and recycled.

Our irrigation system results in a 99% savings from typical irrigation programs, an approximate savings of 24,000 gallons of water per year in addition to the 2.4 million gallons saved in the building, Thyer noted.

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