Irrigreen precision sprinklers prevent wasted water and wet legs

Investors have just pumped millions into Irrigreen, a startup that is fighting to quench America’s parched lawns with “about 50% less water.”

Seed investor Ulu led the $15 million funding round. Two tech investors who focus on water conservation — Burnt Island and Echo River — also participated, among a handful of others.

The San Francisco-based sprinkler startup says it maps lawns to sprinkle water precisely where lawn owners want it, without awkwardly drenching walkways and passers-by.

Irrigreen’s system tasks users with tracing the outlines of their yard and identifying obstacles, such as sidewalks and driveways. The tech looks a bit like Roomba’s No-Go Zones, but these sprinklers are stationary; instead of wandering the lawn, the startup says its sprinkler heads adjust the spray to send water where you want it.

Irrigreen's internet-connected sprinkler in action, spraying a lawn but avoiding a mulched area by adjusting the water pressure as you go.

Image Credit: Irrigreen

Americans crave mfs: The typical family uses about 320 gallons a day, “of which about 30 percent is spent on outdoor uses,” according to the EPA. Water is already scarce and droughts exacerbated by climate change make water conservation all the more critical. There are many ways to conserve water, and outdoor options include planting native ground cover and installing custom irrigation systems.

In other words, internet-connected sprinklers like those from Irrigreen are not the only way to save water. Still, founder Shane Dyer tells TechCrunch that the startup’s system is less expensive than traditional options “for large yards (those with 7 or more zones).”

Dyer added, “Our hardware costs more, but the labor to install is 1/3 of a traditional system because there are 80% fewer headers, trenches and piping.” Either way, if technology is what excites you about saving water, then give it a try.

TechCrunch has not tested Irrigreen’s sprinklers. The startup pointed us to a Fresno State study it commissioned, which found that its sprinkler heads used about 40% less water by avoiding “overwatering, overspray, and overspray.” ‘application rate inaccuracy’. Dyer told TechCrunch that Irrigreen also considers weather, soil, plant types and shade to “calculate the minimum water needed for healthy plants.” The startup claims that these additional factors save around 50% in water and costs in total.

Dyer declined to share Irrigreen’s assessment, but said the new funds would go towards “development of next-generation irrigation software, creation of next-generation cloud irrigation intelligence and to smartphone app monitoring and reporting functions”.

Among upcoming software updates, Dyer said Irrigreen will be able to adjust the amount of water it sends to different plant sections through a single sprinkler head. This could be useful if, for example, you placed thirsty flowers next to drought-resistant shrubs.


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