Smart gets certified

Rain Bird, an 80-year-old irrigation products and services company based in California, recently launched its latest innovation: the “Simple-to-Set” (SST) Smart Controller, which sets watering schedules zone-by-zone and adjusts watering based on the changing weather.

The SST Smart Controller was just awarded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense label — which recognizes products that are at least 20 percent more water efficient while performing just as well as the average product in that category. Rain Bird is only one of two manufacturers with WaterSense labeled irrigation systems.

Manual? What manual?

Designed along the same principles as the Lockheed plane that inspired the phrase “keep it simple stupid” — the lead engineer challenged the team to design an aircraft that could be repaired by your average mechanic with a handful of ordinary tools, “simple stupid” — the SST Smart Controller system is intended to be usable immediately without instructions.

It comes with its own database

Using a built-in weather sensor to monitor temperature and rainfall combined with an internal database of weather information, the controller adjusts the watering schedule according to the local geography (helped by the homeowner inputting the zip code of the lawn).

This area needs more water than that area? No problem

The system arrives with a CD offering an extensive resource of watering needs information — from geography to soil type to plant type. The controller allows the homeowner to program different zones with different watering schedules to accommodate different sprinkler types and different plant needs.

The Rain Bird SST Smart Controller is available in six zone (SST-600s) and 12 zone (SST-1200s) models, which start at $60 (at Amazon) and $100 (also at Amazon), respectively.