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With the summer weather heating up outside, water conservation and green energy concerns are becoming an important focus for many people.  The Watersense Home at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center is a shining example of how existing homes can be retrofitted to save water, energy, and money, all at the same time!  On June 20, Dallas SWE members and guests enjoyed learning all about practical ways improve our homes and lives.

Outdoor tour led by Patrick Dickinson

Outdoor tour led by Patrick Dickinson

After a welcome and introduction by Program Manager Clint Wolfe, twenty attendees got a tour of the landscaping outside the Watersense Home.  Filled with natural rock, recycled glass and concrete features, and native, drought resistant vegetation, the design is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to maintain.  Patrick Dickinson, Program Coordinator, taught us about how using the land’s natural drainage paths and using drip irrigation, rather than higher pressure pop-up sprinkler heads, is both a cost effective and efficient use of space and water.  He showed us a huge rain collection tank behind the house that is filled by one of the home’s gutters and is the source of the entire yard’s irrigation needs.

Attendees checking out the special plumbing for the On Demand Hot Water System

Attendees checking out the special plumbing for the On Demand Hot Water System

After the outdoor tour, we went back into the home where Karen Sanders, Program Assistant, went over the energy saving features inside.  The home uses LED lighting, an on-demand tankless hot water system, low-flow faucets, and energy efficient appliances to save on electric and water bills.  The kitchen counter tops were made from recycled glass and the durable porcelain tile floor had the look of hard wood.   Everyone was ready to move in after seeing the technology and great design in this home!  If you’re interested in learning about ways to improve your own home, the A&M Agrilife Center hosts free classes throughout the year!  See their course offerings here.

After the tour, attendees enjoyed a delicious and healthy meal from Corner Bakery Cafe.  Barbara Read, Vice President Elect for FY14, hosted the business meeting portion of our event with several announcements and calls for volunteers for Moon Day and suggestions on what sort of events to plan for FY14 (take the Dallas SWE membership survey here).  If you are interested in volunteer opportunities or serving as section Secretary (responsibilities outlined on the event flyer), please email us at dallas.swe@gmail.com.  You can see the full Meeting Agenda here.

It was great to see so many new faces: nearly half of the attendees had never been to a Dallas SWE event before!   We hope you’ll continue to stay plugged in to our local professional section, become a SWE member, and let our leadership team know how we can better serve you!

Group photo in front of the Watersense home, doing our best rainfall fingers!

Group photo in front of the Watersense home, doing our best rainfall fingers!

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