Loyola University Chicago

School of Environmental Sustainability


Water-smart landscaping requires the incorporation of drought tolerant vegetation and technology.  On campus implementation of such includes a "Smart Irrigation System" which uses weather station data and sections landscaped areas into zones to conserve water.

  • The irrigation system is on zones and tied back to a controller and remains off except during hot, dry spells
  • Spray heads reduce water use by 30%
  • Watering takes place during early morning hours when evaporation rates are the lowest
  • During dry spells, grass and other vegetation are watered only three days a week with varying times of 3-5 minutes to 15-20 minutes.
  • Each zone has a rain sensor that shuts down watering if rain is detected. 

And due to the "smart" system that senses moisture due to rainfall, the irrigation system was used only in August during a cool, wet summer in 2010.

Most of the plants on Loyola's campuses do not require much in the way of water, but given the sandy soil around the Lake Shore Campus, irrigation is the most efficient way to get water to trees and shrubs when stressful, dry conditions exist. The irrigation remains off except during hot dry spells. During dry spells the grass is watered three days a week for 15 to 20 minutes and shrubs are watered three times a week for 3 to 5 minutes. We now use new spray heads that are more efficient and reduce water use by 30%.  The new heads will replace the other heads over time.