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Rachio Iro proves that smart home devices saves resources, money

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Back in June I wrote about the Rachio Iro Smart Sprinkler Controller, a US$249/$299 (depending on number of zones) intelligent sprinkler controller with an accompanying app that allows amazing control over your yard irrigation. Iro adjusts to weather conditions and seasonal changes to make sure that your lawn, garden and shrubs are watered just perfectly. Denver-based Rachio released figures today showing that its product saved 10,631,109 gallons of water this summer, not only preserving a scarce resource, but saving homeowners a lot of money in the process.

Rachio reports that Iro devices delayed watering 12,534 times this summer when rains provided needed moisture, and that the devices have already made 10,111 seasonal adjustments to account for the cooler late summer/early fall weather. Over 5,244 personalized watering schedules were created by the devices as well. In other news, you'll now be able to purchase the sleek white boxes from your local Apple Store or the online Apple Store.

I can't vouch for all of the other Rachio Iro users, but I've been extremely happy with the device. The company uses a Smart-Cycle algorithm to turn sprinklers on and off during a cycle, making sure that water has a chance to soak in and not run off the lawn. That proved very important in my case, where we have hard clay soils that often prove very difficult to water. My lawn used to get watered every morning for a shorter time; this summer it was watered every other day for a bit longer.

The best results for me, however, were that not only did my lawn look the best it has in probably 20 years with absolutely no dry spots, but my water consumption was down as well. Between May and August of 2013, we consumed 59000 gallons of water (predominantly for irrigation) at a cost of $162.25. For the same period in 2014, consumption was down to 44000 gallons and cost us $129.80. That's a drop of about 26.4 percent in consumption.

As more and more homeowners begin to embrace smart devices and companies like Apple build supporting frameworks like HomeKit into their smartphones, we can expect to see even more stories of natural resources being conserved thanks to brilliant engineering, intelligent software, and iPhones.

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