If you have been by the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors office at 1415 Chapala St. lately, you will be treated to an evolution that matches our ideals in reducing waste, beautifying our environment and creating a sustainable landscape for the future.
As is the case with many commercial buildings in Santa Barbara, the SBAOR building had a grass lawn in front. We have had high water bills, and some unfortunate "drainage" in our basement that needed to be rectified. With these ideas in mind, as well as some guidance from our Board of Directors and resident "green" guy Bob Hart, our association executive, we have recently employed our affiliate Wilson Environmental Contracting to change our landscape.
Daniel Wilson shared his goals for the project:
» Aesthetic enhancement — beautify. Increase color, texture and shapes over the lawn.
» Reduce water consumption, petrochemicals and fuel, and maintenance (estimated to cut water use by 80 percent in this area).
» Significantly and simply reduce flooding under the building by redirecting roof and landscape runoff away from the building toward a suitable area of the landscape where the water can infiltrate and deep irrigate the plants.
» Reduce stormwater runoff from the property to Mission Creek and the nearby ocean by maintaining stormwater onsite.
The work is in progress, but soon will become a demonstration garden for others in the community to see how landscaping can be beautiful and yet use less resources. We will now have a plethora of native, drought-tolerant plants thoughtfully planted for beauty as well as alternating blooming cycles, all of which will significantly cut our water consumption and use of fuel and fertilizer.
Realtors are proud to be setting an example and hope that others will benefit from it.
— Laurel Abbott is a real estate agent with Prudential California Realty and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact her at email@example.com or 805.879.8050. The opinions expressed are her own.