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Putting WaterSense® to Work
Texas Shopping Mall Buys Into
Outdoor Water Savings
Sector: Shopping Malls; Focus: Outdoor Water Use
Project Summary
Outdoor shopping malls have a business model that relies on both the
shops themselves and the adjacent outdoor walking and sitting areas to
encourage lingering and shopping. The Village at Stone Oak outdoor
shopping mall in San Antonio, Texas, has worked to ensure that an
attractive landscape is compatible with the city's frequent droughts and
need for water conservation.
The Village at Stone Oak has more than 622,000 square feet of retail
space, 37 shops and restaurants, and landscaped seating areas.
Originally, like many other outdoor shopping malls in the area, the
landscape was dominated by turf grass.
About 61 percent of San Antonio's residential water use goes toward
outdoor irrigation, with a spike in water use during the summer months.
Through a partnership with the San Antonio Water System (SAWS)
Commercial Custom Rebate program, the Village replaced turf grass
with drought-tolerant plant species and increased irrigation system
water efficiency. By converting nearly 50,000 square feet of turf grass to
xeriscape and modifying nearly 85,000 square feet of its irrigation
system, the Village has saved nearly 14 million gallons of water annually
while maintaining an attractive landscape for storefront tenants and
Rethinking the Landscape
Traditionally, outdoor shopping malls have depended largely on turf grass as
filler landscape to create pleasant green spaces for customers. However,
maintaining a turf grass-dominated landscape demands a large amount of
water, particularly in San Antonio's hot, dry climate. In 2009, the Village began
making changes to create a more water-efficient landscape, with the ultimate
goal of eliminating all turf grass on the property by 2018. The Village took steps
toward this goal by replacing turf grass with xeric plants that are more drought-
tolerant and require less water to survive. In addition to saving water, xeric
plants provide the mall with a lush landscape suited to tenant interests and
customer enjoyment.
Upon partnering with the SAWS Commercial Custom Rebate program in 2012,
the Village continued its focus on removing turf grass and replacing it with drought-tolerant and native plants and
hardscapes. Since then, the mall has converted 36 parking islands, the turf grass surrounding the Village's main
water feature, and 14,000 square feet of additional turf grass to xeriscape.
miZs epag^I
•	Facility name: The Village at
Stone Oak
•	Location: San Antonio, Texas
•	Property size: 622,000 square
•	Water savings: Reduced water
use by 60 percent, saving nearly
14 million gallons of water
•	Cost savings: $84,000 annually
at Stone Oak
PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-/367) WEBSlTEwww.epa.gov/watersense EMAlLwatersense@epa.gov
ATQA EPA-832-F 17-002C
WtlTr\ February 2017

Set the Controls for Smart Irrigation
The Village saw additional opportunities for water savings by assessing possible changes to its irrigation system.
In 2009, the Village worked with SAWS' Commercial Irrigation Redesign Program to convert 160 beds from spray
to drip irrigation, which typically uses 20 to 50 percent less water than conventional pop-up sprinkler systems. As
a result of the conversion, the Village saved more than 6 million gallons of water annually. What's more, the
Village's replacement of turf grass with plants that did not require supplemental irrigation allowed it to remove
parts of the irrigation system. This effort resulted in the Village capping 514 sprinkler heads and eliminating 17
entire irrigation zones.
In 2015, the Village became one of the first commercial businesses to install a Smart Water Management System.
This device gives property managers complete control over the irrigation system, allowing them to ensure that
plants receive only as much water as they need. For example, this system allows property managers to skip
watering on rainy days, when plants do not need additional water.
It Takes a Village
Through its partnership with SAWS, the Village was not the only entity to
reap the benefits of saving water. The business owners with shops in
the mall saved money on water utility costs, while xeric landscaping
reduced overhead costs by requiring less maintenance. In addition,
watering restrictions imposed during drought conditions have less of an
impact on xeric landscapes, which can thrive with less water. The
partnership also ensured that the outdoor water efficiency changes were
financially feasible for the Village. Because the Commercial Custom
Rebate is based on projected savings, a portion of the rebate was received
the percentage of water use reduction had been confirmed.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program
Planner Brandon Leister for providing information for this case study.
Learn More
To learn more about water efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings, visit the WaterSense website at
www.epa.gov/watersense/commercial-buildings to access WaterSense at Work best management practices, tools,
case studies, and more.
up front, with the rest distributed after
i acknowledges SAWS Conservation