At Hilltop’s urging, TransCore gets double xeriscape rebates

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TransCore’s Amtech Technology & Manufacturing Facility broke ground on a water-saving project that will convert 23,600 square feet of steeply-sloped turf to a xeriscape. The project qualifies for the Water Authority’s X2 Double Rebate Program. It will save an estimated 600,000-750,000 gallons of water a year, as well as reduce the company’s water bills by approximately $36,000 over an estimated three years. Construction is expected to be complete by early May.

Art De La Cruz, chair of the Water Authority Board, congratulated TransCore for being the first business to take advantage of the X2 Double Rebate Program. “In an average year, the Water Authority gives rebates for replacement of more than 400,000 square feet of high-water-use turf. By focusing on slopes, which can use two to three times more water than flatter landscapes, and small areas, which are very hard to water due to overspray, we hope to encourage local businesses to help us save even more water in this very dry year by addressing these challenging areas. The TransCore project alone will save the Water Authority enough water to meet the annual needs of seven to eight homes for an entire year,” De La Cruz explained.

The project was recommended by The Hilltop Landscape Architects & Contractors, which installed the original turf and storm drainage areas in front of TransCore in 1993. “ When we learned about the Water Authority’s double rebate program, we thought it was the perfect time for TransCore to install a water-conserving landscape that would assist the Albuquerque community’s need to conserve water,” said Victor Rodriguez, maintenance division manager of The Hilltop.

The steeply-sloped turf in front of TransCore’s Albuquerque facility requires more water than flat areas to remain healthy and consumes approximately 50 percent of the company’s outdoor water use. Irrigation alone accounts for 83 percent of the facility’s total water use every year.

Joe Viola, director of manufacturing for TransCore explained, “When Hilltop approached us with an attractive xeriscaping plan that would preserve our existing trees, incorporate a more efficient irrigation system, and, with the cost savings, would pay for the upfront investment, we realized now was the time to make the change. We hope other local businesses will make a similar commitment to Albuquerque’s water conservation.”

TransCore will also qualify for entry into the Water Authority’s contest for commercial xeriscape conversions judged on design and water-saving potential. Award prizes include $12,000 in rebates on water bills for first place, $8,000 in rebates for second place, and $5,000 in rebates for third place.

The new xeric landscaping installed will feature low-water use plants and shrubs such as Mountain Mahogany, Sumac, Bear Grass, Buffalo Juniper, Winter Jasmine, Desert Willow, and Apache Plume which, when mature, will cover about 50 percent of the area. Gray gravel and cobblestone will be used as ground cover and will tie the project into existing storm drainage areas at either end.

The landscaping conversion will preserve existing mature trees, including six Sycamores, one Purple Leaf Plum and four others. Rodriguez said the project will be enhanced by Rain Bird Corporation’s donation of a Rain Bird® ESP-SMT Smart Control System. “This system combines simplicity through Extra Simple Programming (ESP) with the ability to control irrigation based on weather conditions as well as pre-determined settings,” he explained,

“The X2 Program is a great example of private businesses working with the Water Authority to conserve our most precious resource. The double rebates and contest go a long way to encourage businesses to make the change now. We are glad to be able to participate,” Rodriguez said.

The X2 Double Rebate Xeriscape program and contest allows eligible commercial Water Authority customers to earn a double rebate (a water bill credit of $1.50 for every square foot) of steeply sloped or small area high-water-use turf converted to low-water-use plantings through October 31, 2011. For more information, visit or call The Hilltop at  898-9690.