Water Conservation Innovation in Windsor!

I received an email yesterday from the Town of Windsor talking about their Efficiency PAYS program.  Now, I don’t normally just copy and paste an entire email in this blog, but, after reading what they have done to encourage conservation in water and energy – I was impressed!  This program basically eliminates all risk for the consumer, puts payment on the improvements to the back end, where the consumer is “saving money” because they are more efficient and takes that money and pays the improvements off.  Sounds like a great deal!  If you’re in Windsor, check it out at www.windsorefficiencypays.com

And here is the completely copied email:




Efficiency PAYS
®, available to
eligible Windsor residents starting August 2012, provides water and energy
upgrades for residential properties that provide immediate utility bill savings

with no upfront cost or debt.

Windsor, Calif. — As a result of the Windsor Town Council vote on July 18,
2012, Windsor residents will now be able to participate in Windsor Efficiency
PAYS®, a new, innovative water conservation program that provides
residents with immediate savings on utility bills and requires no upfront cost
or new debt. The program provides for the installation of very efficient
products and appliances, as well as dry-summer, drought resistant landscaping
that will reduce water use, conserve energy and save money.

“Windsor Efficiency PAYS® provides a real win/win for local
residents and the Town,” said Town of Windsor Mayor Debora Fudge.
“Windsor residents will enjoy new efficient products while saving money and the
Town can reduce its demand on the limited water supply, which could minimize
future costs associated with expanding our infrastructure and reduce the Town’s
overall environmental impact.”

The PAYS® model is being piloted through a joint effort of
the Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, and
the U.S. Department of Energy, in an effort to eliminate water and energy waste
and address consumer concern for rising utility costs.

“The PAYS® program works because it allows program
participants to “pay as you save®” with no loan and no debt
associated with repayment,” said Paul Piazza, Water Conservation Program
Coordinator for the Town of Windsor. “Participants are offered a specified
selection of upgrade measures, such as high efficiency washing machines,
toilets, showerheads/aerators, and drought resistant landscaping; after
installation, participants pay a surcharge on their water bill with the
assurance that their estimated savings on combined utility bills (energy/water)
will exceed the bi-monthly water surcharge.”

Since the PAYS® program offers the assurance that savings
will exceed monthly surcharges, utility customers must meet eligibility
requirements to participate.  Our Certified Contractor will determine
eligibility based on the customer’s current water and energy usage.

“We are very excited to expand the tools available to residents who want
to reduce their water and energy bills,” said RCPA Chairwoman Valerie Brown.
“The Town of Windsor has stepped up to lead the way on this pilot program and
the RCPA is eager to work with them to ensure success.”

Upgrade measures will be offered as follows:
Basic Package — Includes the latest in high efficiency showerheads, toilets, and faucet
aerators (exceeding the efficiency standards offered under existing Windsor
rebate program).  Participants enter the program here and these basic
measures must be installed, or already meet minimum standards, to qualify for
other upgrades.
Basic Plus Measures — Includes selection of one or more of the following measures: drought
resistant landscaping, high efficiency clothes washer, and compact fluorescent
lights (CFL).
Co-Pay Measures — Additional upgrade measures such as high
efficiency refrigerators, on demand hot water recirculation pumps, and clothes
dryers are available for purchase, requiring some up-front payment.

Additional consumer assurances include: (1) a certified contractor who
has been pre-qualified and selected to install upgrade measures and comply
fully with installation standards and codes, is fully insured, and whose work
is bonded; (2) if a participant leaves a home or
apartment in which they have installed PAYS® measures, the payment obligation
for the upgraded measures which remain installed at the home or apartment ends;
and (3) if any installed measure fails at any time, it will be repaired or the
payment obligation ends.

A PAYS® Certified Contractor will contact qualifying
residents beginning in August.  To find out more, contact our
Certification Agent, Sonoma County Energy Independence, at (707) 565-6472 or
visit www.windsorefficiencypays.com.

July is SMART Irrigation Month – and we’re smart about irrigation!

Nationwide, July 2012 is SMART Irrigation Month.  And, here at Firma Design Group, we’re very smart about irrigation.  Michael Cook, Vice President of Planning and Landscape Architecture is a Watersense Partner (http://www.epa.gov/watersense/partners/index.html) and is a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor, or CLIA.  A CLIA Audit is required in all new irrigation projects.


In all of our projects, we are smart about how we irrigation the plants that we are proposing to install.  In most instances, we are using the most recent technology, whether that is a new sprinkler body or nozzle, or that is subsurface irrigation.  We are smart about it.  When you have the most efficient irrigation system designed and installed, you save massive amounts of water, your plants look incredibly better and you are happier.


Please consider Firma Design Group as your SMART Irrigation consultant on your future projects, future irrigation designs and much more.  We look forward to your contact.

Playgrounds for Adults

I think we all have a child in us that loves to go out and play.  It’s just that being an adult often gets in the way.  New York built its first adult playground in the Bronx, and plans to build as many as 24 more in the five borough area over the next 18 months.


Would you like to see something like this in your community?